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Wednesday, March 28 2012

Before money was invented, bartering (also known as trading) was how local economies worked: you give me a chicken and I give you a bag of potatoes.

Today there are organizations that facilitate barter (or trades) between businesses. I used to be a member of one.

The organization functioned as a middleman between the service provider and the client. When you bought the services of another member, their fee was deducted from your account with the barter organization and credited to theirs. The service provider could then use that credit to buy services from other members of the organization. The fee you charged for your services was the same as your regular dollar fee: if your cash services cost $100 an hour, then you charged 100 barter dollars for trades.

This type of system works well because you can use your credit to buy from anyone in the organization.

It gets slippery when you trade directly with another individual, rather than through a middleman. A few simple guidelines can help avoid some of biggest mistakes people make when trading. They will help keep the relationship professional and avoid animosity, misunderstandings and resentments later.


  1. Do business exactly as if the client were paying you by check, credit card or other traditional method. Even though you're getting paid with services rather than cash, it's still a business relationship and should be treated as such.
  2. Only trade the VALUE of your services, not the TIME you spend delivering your service. I once had a massage therapist ask if I'd trade services: she would give me a one hour massage and I would give her an hour of consulting. The problem was one hour of my services was more expensive than one hour of her massage. That kind of trade can end up with one person feeling that they haven't received full value. Make sure the value you're giving or getting is the same as if you were both paying cash.
  3. Trade the full monetary value of your services. Just because it's trade doesn't mean you have to offer a discount (unless you have a solid business reason for doing so).
  4. If you usually use a contract, use the same one as for your cash transactions. The terms of your business relationship remain the same, only the form of payment is different.
  5. Trade for services you genuinely need or want. Don't trade to do someone else a favor. It devalues your service.
  6. Only trade for services you need right now or in the very near future. Many people do not keep good records of their trades because they don't take them as seriously as cash transactions. They can forget that they still owe you. That can lead to awkward situations and has the potential to damage the relationship.
  7. Check with your tax professional on any tax ramifications of trading.
These simple guidelines will help you make sure that your trades unfold in a way that's satisfying and productive for both sides.

Copyright 2012 Maggie Dennison. All rights reserved.

Posted by: Maggie AT 12:36 pm   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
Friday, March 02 2012
 Let's assume that you have a service that people want, and you have identified your ideal clients. You're ready for that new website, or it's time to revamp an old one.

Here are a few points to be aware of; they can sabotage the usefulness of your website, no matter what type of business you're promoting.

Too much emphasis on search engines.
There's nothing wrong with getting to the top of Google, or anywhere on the first page for that matter but that's only the beginning. How many of those who click through to your site take action? Once they get there via Google or some other search engine, your content has to entice them to take the next step.

Anaemic website content that doesn't compel your visitors to action. Does your site content convey your core marketing message that lets visitors know you have the best solution to their problems? If not, then beautiful design and excellent search engine optimization are wasted. Too often, site owners spend a lot of money getting visitors to their site and give no thought as to how to engage them so they stay long enough to find out more and act upon the information they find.

Too much focus on flash, glitz and sophisticated graphics so they overwhelm the content. The best sites are those where website design and content work together to project a harmonious feeling about your business and to underscore the purpose of the website.

The key here is that the website content - your message - matters as much as the technology and design. Effective design helps project professionalism and create a level of comfort with your business. Technology makes the site easy to use.

But the words do the heavy lifting when it comes to selling your services.

Time and money spent refining your message pay off because then visitors know why you are the best person to help solve their problems.

Unless they gain that insight from your content, nothing happens.

Copyright 2010-2012 Maggie Dennison. All rights reserved.


Posted by: AT 09:46 am   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email

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