Online Bartering Could be a Small Business Boon

Let’s make a deal. No, not a loan deal—haven't you read the headlines about how hard it is for small businesses to get a loan?—a good old fashioned barter in a new fashioned way.

I just came across a new social network that small business owners might find interesting. It’s called FavorPals and it lets small business owners operate in a world without money.

FavorPals is not the first site I’ve seen over the years that focuses on bartering, but this one asks you to use your imagination to pretend money doesn’t exist as you seek to swap services and save your bottom line—and it’s also a way to promote your business.

Erin Hersey, director of Strategy at Favorpals, explains it this way: “This can be a self-promoting tool. When you are a small business, you want as much exposure with little use of capital as possible. But imagine a free website built for you in exchange for your skills. There are limitless possibilities, but our site is aimed at advocating the ancient practice of bartering. With this online platform you can reach a new mass of people who can help your business or everyday needs in unique ways.”

Sure, you could try using Craigslist or Facebook for bartering, but that’s not the distinct purpose of those platforms. Favorpals lets you browse bartering opportunities in dozens of categories such as cell phones, gift certificates, real estate and stamps.

I suppose the idea is somewhat similar to Groupon, except instead of promoting your services with a major discount and giving Groupon a cut you are promoting your services in exchange for other services.

One thing FavorPals does have in common with sites like Craigslist and Facebook is that it’s free. FavorPals is brand new, so the pickings are slim right now. But check out the site when you get a chance. You may not find anything there that suits you, but at the least you’ve opened your mind to the concept of bartering—and that could be a strong benefit for your small business.

Check out this video for small business bartering advice from the BBB:



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