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Q: Running my Cheltenham-based equestrian business has been tough going, with a few years of one crisis after another.

I have heard about small business bartering — is this something I should look into?
RB, Glos

According to Colin Davison, partner at Cranleys Chartered Accountants in Hampshire, there are many support groups that can help you through issues of finance — “a further measure is to ask your specialist business adviser, accountant or bank manager for a business health check”.

The practice of small business bartering, also known as “barter for business”, hails from the US, and is a good way to manage cash flow. It encompasses billions of trades every year, according to the International Reciprocal Trade Association.

Simply defined as “the exchange of goods or services for other goods or services”, no money actually changes hands.

Bartering can be used as a strategic tool to acquire specific services, but you must make sure both parties are getting a good deal.

If you are using an online barter exchange group, compare several different groups to examine benefits and any additional costs, such as membership fees.

As an example, the website Euro Barter Business works with companies in all sectors of commerce to trade surplus assets.

The system provides both financial and sales or marketing benefits to users using virtual currency, and online categories include areas such as business services, advertising and training.

“Another bartering option is ‘Bartercard’, billed as the world’s largest trade exchange,” said Colin.

“Bartercard currently helps over 4,000 UK businesses to increase sales, cash flow and profit, enabling member businesses to exchange goods and services with other member businesses.

“A Bartercard transaction is similar to that of a credit card. Members receive a plastic card and an interest-free line of credit. Trade pounds are credited to the member’s Bartercard account upon any sale.

“You can position your business ahead of your competition by using Bartercard, as you could potentially save valuable cash flow when obtaining the things you need, rather than using your cash in the bank or an overdraft.

“Bartering is a multimillion pound business; big brands are doing it across the world,” Colin said.



Cranleys, tel: 01256 830000

Euro Barter Business

This article was first published in Horse & Hound (3 September, ’09)

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