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January 8, 2013

Written by Bob Meyer, Editor of BarterNews

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From the desk of Bob Meyer... 01/08/2013

Bank Card Delinquencies Fall To 28-Year Low

Another sign the economy is slowly recovering is a report by the American Bankers Association. They report that delayed repayments of bank-card loans dipped to the lowest level since the 3rd quarter of 1994 — falling to 2.75% of all accounts.

Here & There In The Barter Marketplace …

  • Word of Mouth Marketing has added a barter exchange feature  (www.GoBuzz.me) to its platform.
     
  • A 30-year barter veteran, and a member of several trade exchanges, told BarterNews that BizXchange’s (www.bizx.com) recent Christmas Holiday Fair in Seattle was the best of the five in which he has exhibited. He cited the overall atmosphere and attendance at this past holiday fair, as well as the event’s organization and superior offerings, as the reasons for his top rating.
     
  • Jack Zufelt, a national motivational speaker who has appeared at various barter conventions over the years, is appearing in a film titled, Openings — The Search For Harry.

And You Thought Real Estate Prices Were High Where You Live?

In Hong Kong, ownership of a parking lot space might go for as much as $385,000! Parking has long been a prized commodity in land-scarce Hong Kong, as tenants outnumber parking slots in residential buildings 20-to-1. Pushing the prices even further for parking spaces resulted when the government placed a 15% tax on real estate being sold to nonpermanent residents (namely wealthy buyers from mainland China).

In comparison, a 600 square-foot apartment (purchased outright) is about $577,000. And if residential properties in Hong Kong are sold within six months of acquisition, another 20% tax is charged. Therefore, investors channel their money into parking spaces, where certain (taxing) rules didn’t apply. 

(Editor’s note: A taxi license in Hong Kong will cost up to $900,000!)

New U.S. Listing Information …

Utah Trading Company
3601 N. University Ave, #210
Provo, UT 84604
Ph: (801) 802-0322
Fax: (801) 607-5504
www.utahtradingco.com

All back issues of "From the Desk...” can be accessed by clicking here.

(Please feel free to forward our newsletter to your friends and colleagues. We have a “box” at the end of the newsletter for your convenience. See you next week. . .)

IRTA’s Universal Currency Sets All-Time Trading Record 

The Universal Currency Clearinghouse (UC) set multiple, all-time records in 2012. For the first time in its 15-year history, UC surpassed the monthly million-dollar trading mark in December 2012, by posting $1,024,350 in trading activity.

The International Reciprocal Trade Association’s UC also set an all-time trading volume record of 6,525,976 for 2012, besting the prior annual record of 6,035,202 in 2011.

According to Scott Whitmer, UC Committee Chairman and two-time past president of IRTA, UC’s tremendous growth is the work of two dedicated people — UC International Broker Patty Weston and UC Administrator Ron Whitney.  With over 100 participating barter exchanges now involved, the UC trading future looks exceedingly bright.


Our Changing World — Movement Toward A Shared Economy

The news that Avis Budget Group will buy Zipcar for $491 million has evoked strong reactions in the marketplace. (Zipcar offers hourly rental of autos in several U.S. metropolitan areas.)

Yet despite the cheers and howls, nobody knows what will become of the marriage. But the early-January deal reinforces Steve Case’s belief that we’re moving toward a sharing economy. The AOL co-founder, through his Revolution LLC fund, is Zipcar’s largest investor. Revolution stands to make about $96 million from the sale, according to Bloomberg News.

Case bought into Zipcar back in 2005, because he saw “a generation shift from ownership to sharing experiences.” The key, as Zipcar showed, is to make it easier to share by giving people 24/7 access to vehicles parked in convenient locations at a reasonable price. (Even the gas is included.)

What’s driving the boom isn’t just that it is easier to share vehicles, but that it is often a hassle to own one.

Case has also invested in widely-ranging ventures such as Exclusive Resorts, a high-end vacation club that gives members access to luxury homes worldwide, and LivingSocial, which encourages collaborative consumption with incentives for friends who buy together. Case is not alone in his thinking. Witness the growth of Airbnb.com, which lets users rent their homes, and ParkingPanda.com, a new site that lets people rent out their precious parking spots when not in use.

That said, many investors are skeptical about the trend in sharing everything from cars to homes. Some dismiss it as a fad that young hipsters will ditch once their incomes rise. Insurers have certainly balked at the idea of covering whatever damage is done by strangers using a policy-holder’s stuff. Landlords and municipalities can ban people from sharing for money, or at least demand part of the income. But such complications also give an edge to businesses that have the resources, infrastructure, and scale to compete.

As Zipcar’s new owner, Avis Group brings more than capital to the table. It also brings the welcome asset of more cars. Zipcar has about 10,000 cars located throughout ten cities at the moment, which is also the number of locations Budget and Avis boast worldwide. Therefore Zipcar’s expansion looks to be dramatic. Moreover, since Avis relies heavily on corporate clients whose demand for vehicles is lower on weekends, it makes expansion with Zipcar a natural.

If Avis can share both its fleet and expertise in managing it with Zipcar, and Zipcar can give its new parent more access to a hip/urban clientele, that could take the sharing economy to a whole new level.



Is Your Trade Exchange Missing Out On Valuable New Business?

If your barter company’s listing on BarterNews.com isn’t current, you are definitely missing out on new business. The web site BarterNews.com receives heavy traffic — with over 150,000 page-views every month. Entrepreneurs and corporate executives check the thousands of articles, the weekly “Tuesday Report,” and the “Contacts Section” of our site. They use the latter to find barter companies with which to do business.

Is your barter company’s listing up-to-date?

To keep your listing current is very easy. See the links below to (A) update any changes to your company’s listing, such as new location, phone number, web site or other information, and (B) if your company has not been listed.

Here’s how to get on board:

To make changes to your listing click here.

For new listings click here.


Riggs Reports Record Trading Year For IRTA

On January 4, Annette Riggs, the President of the International Reciprocal Trade Association (IRTA), sent out an extensive e-mail to the IRTA membership outlining the organization’s many accomplishments — such as the UC trading records established (see above IRTA article). Presumably a press-release will follow, to alert and educate the business marketplace at large about the on-going development of the commercial barter industry.


* * ANNOUNCEMENT * *

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Foreign Real Estate Investors Prefer USA

A recent survey reflects a sharply more optimistic view of the U.S. economy and property than last year. Additionally, the U.S. dominates the global list of places that commercial real estate investors would prefer to put their money this year. (China has lost some luster and Turkey has added sparkle, according to the survey from the Association of Foreign Investors in Real Estate.)

The global cities to invest in are as follows:

#1 - New York
#2 - London
#3 - San Francisco
#4 - Washington, D.C. (was #3 in last year’s survey)
#5 - Houston (unranked last year)

Emerging real-estate markets are:

#1 - Brazil (same rank as last year)
#2 - China (same as last year)
#3 - Turkey (up from #7 last year)
#4 - India: tied with Mexico (dropped from #3)
#5 - Mexico: tied with India (up from #5 last year)


Money-Making Reports Available From BarterNews

Nothing Hurts Business More Than Reliance On False Assumptions

We all have false assumptions. Even if we don’t realize it, they exist. For instance consider these typical assumptions:

  • “Advertising doesn’t work, it’s a waste of money”

  • “If our sales staff would just make one more call a day, everything would be great.”

  • “Nobody asks for the order anymore ... that’s the problem.”

  • “The only thing our customers care about is a low price. Nothing else matters.”

  • “Everybody knows us.”

  • “We are the best!”

  • “We’re the oldest.”

  • “The current downturn in our business is only temporary. We’ll come out just fine.”

Without even realizing it, businesses base their plans and programs on assumptions such as these. But embracing such ideas can unfortunately keep companies from expanding their vision, attracting creative employees, and succeeding in their quest to gain new customers.

Often, rather than testing an accepted premise or adopting a new strategy, owners will ignore the all-too-obvious fact that their course is heading straight for trouble. Yet only by challenging all assumptions, can a company literally breathe new life into its operations.

The issue is not just staying in business. What’s really at stake is finding ways to open new markets, and becoming the company of choice in your field. The job is not an easy one, because it often demands dramatic changes in the way we approach doing business.

In the final analysis, the determining factor for success is a state of mind that freely welcomes new possibilities.


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