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January 22, 2008

Written by Bob Meyer, Editor of BarterNews

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From the desk of Bob Meyer...01/22/08

Buckle Your Seat-belts For Impending Downturn

The coming recession may be worse than the other two serious economic downturns that have hit the U.S. economy in the past 25 years, according to The Wall Street Journal. Three reasons why: the housing market is horrible, energy prices are very high, and the job market is weakening.

Ultimate Sales University Promises Results

The CEO of the American Basketball Association (ABA) and long time marketing whiz, Joe Newman, has put his passion for quality training in reach of everyone at www.UltimateSalesUniversity.com.

China Soon To Be Largest Web Market

The total number of internet users in China soared 53% to 210 million at the end of 2007, up from 137 million at the end of 2006. China is now just 5 million short of passing the USA. 

Gift Card Sales Continue Dramatic Growth

Gift card sales totaled $97 billion in 2007, up from $83 billion in 2006, according to data from the Tower Group and the New York Times.

Less attention by the media has been given to “breakage,” which is the money retailers get when gift cards are not used or leftover funds remain. Tower put breakage amount at $7.8 billion for 2007.

Gender Differences On Entrepreneurship

Discover credit card’s survey of 1,000 small businesses shows how different men and women are. In short, whether you choose business ownership to have greater control or more flexibility may depend on your sex.

Among female respondents, 32% wanted flexibility and 17% wanted to be their own boss. Men were more evenly divided: 27% wanted to be their own boss and 24% sought flexibility.

Also, 39% of male business owners think women have an easier time starting businesses, and 34% think men have it easier. Among women, 20% of small-business owners think men have an easier time starting businesses; 15% think women have it easier.

New Vacation Booking Web Site

Zonder.com is a new vacation-booking web site for home, condo and cabin rentals in North America, Central America and the Caribbean. They’re offering a 10% discount on bookings made before February 14, with a cap of $250 in savings per book. Use promo code “BeyondHotels” during checkout.

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. . .)


Trade Dollars Play Major Role In House Construction

Growing up and working in Banks County (GA), Faythe Willis learned how to negotiate a deal that didn’t necessarily involve money. “For years, we had a catering business where we were always bartering,” she said.

And for the past 20 years, Willis has put her horse-trading sense to work as an employee of Tradebank, a company that connects business owners with clients who want their services and have something to trade. In August 2006, Willis became the owner of Tradebank of North Georgia, based in Lawrenceville. Through the years with the company, she stockpiled trade credits as part of her compensation.

Tradebank members can swap their credits for goods and services they need. In Willis’ case, the need was for a new home.

After several months of negotiating deals on just about every aspect of the project, Willis and her husband Jerry recently moved into their three-bedroom, 2,600-square-foot, Mediterranean-style dream home on 3.5 acres of family-owned land in Gillsville.

“This was the first house I ever built,” said Willis. “I got the idea for it during a visit to Jekyll Island. We were sitting in a courtyard surrounded by these arched openings, and I just loved the idea. So I traded with an architect to come up with a similar plan.”

Willis built a large portion of the house using the talents of roofers, electricians and other construction experts who are part of the Tradebank network. No money changed hands; instead, she used her Tradebank credits for their services.

In the end, the house was completed with Tradebank credits worth $116,000 as well as $250,000 in traditional loans. Using the Tradebank network, Willis estimates that she saved about $60,000 over what she would have paid retail for the goods and services she acquired through trade.

Here's a look at the features she acquired in trade:

Around the one-story tan stucco exterior is a wide wraparound verandah, floored with stamped concrete pavers (traded). The double front doors open directly into the living room, with a raised, glass-fronted fireplace (traded), cream-colored vaulted ceiling and pale orange walls. The concrete flooring, acid-stained to different colors, runs throughout the main living areas.

“I raised three boys and was a slave to my home,” said Willis. “Here, I want everyone to come and enjoy themselves and not worry about making a mess.”

By the arched entry into the kitchen stands an antique hall table with mirror (traded). The spacious kitchen has a long, wood breakfast bar with tall chairs overlooking a double sink and pine work counters. The area also includes a warming drawer, convection oven, double ovens (all traded), a cooktop and hood vent and a second double sink under the window. A wall-mounted gas fireplace (traded) has blowers that send enough hot air into the room to keep it comfy.

From the living area, double doors open to the courtyard between the wings of the house. A water feature with a clay urn (traded) and pond anchor one wall; an outdoor fireplace (traded) and gas grill sit under a covered area at the back. Doors from the courtyard open into a garden shed on one side and the master bedroom on the other. The space is cooled by ceiling fans with palm frond blades.

“The design lets us shut down entire parts of the house when we’re not using them,” said Willis.

One wing of the house holds Willis’ home office, with French doors leading to the side porch and a diamond pattern in the concrete floor. The room and an adjacent bedroom also has a built-in Murphy bed hidden behind double wood doors, giving the space plenty of flexibility for guests and grandkids. The guest baths have stucco surrounds in the showers and ornate cabinetry below the sinks.

At the end of the hall is the carpeted master, with a dramatic vaulted ceiling and three arched windows looking out to the backyard. The glamorous bath boasts a large spa tub, a tiled walk-in shower with a bench, granite counter tops and mirrors over the double sinks decorated with iron floral patterns. A pass-through from the master closet allows dirty clothes to drop directly into the adjoining laundry room.

Willis also traded with contractors who did the roof and gutters, electrical wiring, security system, and a sound system.

“We were very creative about how we spent our money,” said Willis. “By being careful, we were able to get a lot of upgrades that we wouldn’t have been able to afford otherwise — such as onyx tile around the living room fireplace, the stamped concrete, architectural roof shingles, the double ovens, the warming drawer and convection oven. And all along, I had a lot of fun doing it.”

Tradebank is a cashless commerce system that connects business owners and professionals with buyers and sellers.

For more information see www.tradebank.com.

(This story was reprinted from the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, January 17, 2008, “The Home That Bartering Built.”)


Barter Catalyst For Huge Oprah/Discovery Cable Network Deal

At BarterNews, we have been contending for years that the “Best & Brightest” use barter in the building of their wealth…here is another example of that message.

Discovery Communications and Oprah Winfrey have announced a deal where the Discovery Health network will be bartered to Winfrey next year, and become the Oprah Winfrey Network (OWN).

The cash-free transaction involved Winfrey turning over half ownership of Oprah.com (her web site with 6 million unique visitors a month) to Discovery, while the communications company makes her chairman of the network which is currently seen in 68 million homes. The two entities (Harpo Production and Discovery) will be joint owners...50/50 in ownership and profits.

What’s the value of the deal? Hard to say at this point as Winfrey’s star power will generate greater revenue from cable companies once she comes aboard with her programming in mid 2009. But cable TV networks don’t come cheap. When Microsoft invested in MSNBC back in 1996 it put up $300 million for its half stake in a startup. (And Bill Gates is a tough negotiator.)

So Oprah’s “media empire” includes:

1.      Her top-rated TV talk show

2.   A satellite radio network (XM Radio)

3.   A web site

4.   TV movies made under her banner

5.   Now the OWN TV Network (68 million potential viewers, with coverage in 2/3 of the nation’s homes)

The focus of the channel will be Oprah’s brand—to educate and inspire people to live the best life they can. Some of Winfrey’s stable of regular contributors could be expected to be part of the programming. Winfrey’s current talk show, as well as rights to use of reruns, is spoken for until the end of the 2010/2011 season.

According to Winfrey, she made an entry in her diary May 24, 1992, about an idea for creating her own TV network...15 years later it’s a reality, and barter once again was the catalyst for a huge deal.

Oprah’s dream has come true. She will now have the opportunity to do this 24-hours a day on a platform that goes on forever.


Marketing Association Expands Marketing Definition

The American Marketing Association has redefined the word “marketing,” to reflect its broader role in society. The new definition reads: “Marketing is the activity, set of institutions and processes for creating, communicating, delivering and exchanging offerings that have value for customers, clients, partners, and society at large.”

The previous definition stated: “Marketing is an organizational function and a set of processes for creating, communicating, and delivering value to customers and for managing customer relationships in ways that benefit the organization and its stakeholders.”

The Association revisits the definition for marketing every five years in a disciplined effort to reflect on the state of the marketing field.


Universal Truth For Attaining Greater Success In 2008

It is the entrepreneur’s dream to idle away lazy afternoons on the white sands of a tropical beach. Success certainly affords, among other things, an excuse to relax and enjoy the fruits of one’s labor. But as many dyed-in-the-wool entrepreneurs have discovered, there is only so much time you can spend fly fishing or lounging in a hammock before the urge to do something new begins gnawing deep down.

Soon enough, everything around you suggests a new or overlooked opportunity. Every cocktail napkin becomes a sketch-pad or whiteboard. Or that great idea, long stowed away, keeps you awake late at night.

Indeed, success also provides resources, credibility, experience and—most of all—the confidence to attempt things. The only thing harder for an entrepreneur to pass up than a good idea, is that same idea coupled with the knowledge that “I’m good at doing this sort of thing.”

Entrepreneurs, therefore, need no prodding or motivation to get up and try something new. They can’t help it...it just happens. What is not so automatic is the notion of attempting something ambitious, relative to your past accomplishments. If you’re attempting something that doesn’t make you feel at least a bit uncomfortable, then you probably aren’t growing.

While you may be successful at completing a less-than-ambitious project, it will be a hollow victory. Worst of all, you will fall far short of your own potential.

Assuming you wish to continue growing during this lifetime, in whatever capacity you choose—skills, experiences, wealth, sophistication, etc.—then you must continuously push yourself. Whether it’s soloing in an aircraft, learning a new language or speaking in public, you must occasionally do something that is unfamiliar, difficult, or even scary.

Serious Goal-Setting

If you've read similar articles, you probably need no explanation of the power of setting goals. What is not so well-known is that a few of your goals should deliberately be very difficult.

In numerous studies, research has demonstrated that effort and performance are directly proportional to the goal’s difficulty level, up to the point where the goal becomes no longer believable (at which point effort tends to cease altogether).

But here's the clincher: Performance is maximized even when the goal is not achieved!

How is this possible? If you look closely, most things that people attempt are not truly binary. That is, they’re neither measured as all-or-none nor as success versus failure, but instead are a matter of degree. While the goal may not be reached, performance was indisputably improved...and that is the key.

Research overwhelmingly suggests a new approach to goal-setting—set very difficult goals for yourself and then recognize and reward partial success. It’s better to earn 80% of a $1-million income goal, than to earn 100% of a $500,0000 goal. This can be hard to get used to for highly aggressive, goal-setters who writhe in pain at the thought of failing to meet a goal by its deadline. But fear not.

The research also shows that failure to reach one’s goal is still highly motivating to people, especially when the goal was missed by a narrow margin. Reaching 80% of your goal stimulates you to try that much harder next time, and reinforces your overall belief in the goal’s attainability.

True, there are bigger risks when attempting bigger things. But that’s what pushes us to work harder, so as to minimize risk. How? Fear creates stress and that stress forces the mind to adapt, coming up with ever better approaches and solutions for minimizing the risk. That is what raises us to the next level of performance.

(Reprinted with permission, www.mygoals.com)


Hotel General Managers

Work With Audio/Visual Vendor On Barter

Collect cash, as usual, from the guest accounts staying at your facility that require the use of professional AV services. And rather than shouldering your ongoing employee costs, or your current vendor’s cash agreement for AV services, here’s a much better alternative:

Work with a proven national vendor (a sterling 25-year track record) who will provide all of the AV services for your hotel on a 100% TRADE BASIS! (Payment to be in the form of trade dollars.)

Your hotel’s annual AV billings must be a minimum of $200,000, and this offer is available only in the continental United States.

For a confidential introduction contact Bob Meyer via e-mail: bmeyer@barternews.com.

Attention Trade Exchange Owners:

If your member hotel(s) have a minimum of 10,000 sq. feet of meeting space and annual billings of at least $200,000 for AV services this is a great opportunity to earn substantial cash service fees on the hundreds of thousands of trade dollars your hotel member will be paying the vendor. Contact Bob Meyer at the above e-mail.


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Ever wondered if a certain topic, person, or organization has been written about on the Barternews.com web site? Now you can easily find out, as we’ve added a search tool. It will quickly give you the answer to your questions, in 3 easy steps that take about 12 seconds!

At the top right of the page, just under where you sign up for the Tuesday Report you will see a little Google box. It is where you can (1) type in the name of a subject, company, or person. Then (2) click the button www.barternews.com to search the site, followed by (3) hitting the search button.


The Growth and Use of Secondary Capital (New Money) Creates Unprecedented Wealth In Today’s New Age Of Possibility

There are many forms of secondary capital—which can be defined as any financial instrument that measures and communicates value in a common language. Would you like to see and learn more about the many forms of secondary capital?

 We have 70 free, informative and inspiring, articles for you in our “Secondary Capital Section.” Check it out... www.barternews.com/secondary_capital.htm.

Get New Money-Making Ideas And Valuable Contacts!

You can obtain useful, informative ideas and contacts in every available back-issue of BarterNews.


Every barter company in the world is listed on our web site, click through to our Global List of Barter Companies.


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