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The Tuesday Report

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February 1, 2005

Written by Bob Meyer, Editor of BarterNews

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Mardak Relates IMS Growth To The Wall Street Transcript

Don Mardak, President and CEO of International Monetary Systems (OTCBB:INLM), talked at length about IMS’s business strategies in the January 24 issue of The Wall Street Transcript.

Describing the company’s recent financial history, he reflected, “In 2001 we had a trade volume in the range of $16 million and we increased that to $24 million in 2002. Then in 2003, it was $32 million; for 2004 we expect $37 million in trade volume.”

Mardak says the trading figures have generated yearly corresponding revenues of $1.5 million, $2.8 million, $3.9 million, and in 2004 about $4.6 million in revenue. “We’ve been growing at about 25% to 30% per year, much of it by acquisition.”


“What we have here is a failure to communicate!”

Years ago, one of the most visible people in the barter industry said the #1 reason why the industry wasn’t farther along in its development was due to a “failure to communicate” by those in the business.

This realization was the genesis of The Competitive Edge newsletter, now into its 18th year of publication. Trade exchange owners who use this powerful marketing and promotional tool are never guilty of “failing to communicate.”

As the owner of a trade exchange you must stay in front of your clients. Informing, educating, and inspiring them, because your clients’ bartering is a relatively small percentage of their overall business. So if you don’t keep their interest and enthusiasm for trade at a high level, you lose.

Your primary aim, like all other businesses, is to get your clients coming back for more. Every extraordinary business (and every trade exchange owner who wants to be extraordinary) knows that the customer you have, is a lot less expensive to sell than the customer you don’t yet have!

Want to take your exchange to a higher level? Use The Competitive Edge newsletter in your operation—it “sells” the many benefits of working through your trade exchange like nothing else!

To learn more about The Competitive Edge newsletter and how it can help build your trade exchange, click here.


Bentley Commerce Creates Alliance With IBC Radio Network

Bentley Commerce Corp. (OTCBB:BLYC) will be a featured guest and continuing sponsor on IBC Radio Network’s Stock Talk Live (www.ibcradio.com) heard via satellite broadcast on radio stations, cell phones, and over the internet. Bentley will also assist IBC Radio in expanding its listener base to 50 markets by the end of 2005.

In the signed barter agreement, Bentley will use trade dollars to purchase media from IBC Radio for advertising on its radio show.

“We feel that appearing as a guest and sponsoring Stock Talk Live will expand both the awareness of Bentley Commerce and its internet-based Global Trade Marketplace to interested investors, and help build enthusiasm for using barter as a tool to more cost effectively operate a business,” stressed Bruce Kamm, Bentley’s CEO.

IBC Radio is a service with an all-talk format, distributed coast-to-coast and worldwide. It currently carries business, national and world news, nutrition, science, paranormal and political content. It airs 24 hours a day, seven days a week.


Get New Money-Making Ideas And Valuable Contacts!

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


Marketing Guru Questions Today’s Research

According to marketing guru Malcolm Gladwell, author of The Tipping Point and his newest book Blink, marketing researchers are going down the wrong path in trying to understand the consumer.

In a Q&A session at San Francisco’s Commonwealth Club, Gladwell said that researchers “are being led astray by the naive assumption that people can successfully describe why they’ve made certain judgments.”

Consequently, he reasons that some traditional research tactics, like focus groups, may miss the mark.

“This kind of thinking that we do in the moment is a product of our unconscious,” Gladwell told the audience. “It’s in fact foolish outside of the psychiatrist’s office to even venture to come up with an explanation of what’s going on there.”


Coming soon...BarterNews issue #64. Order your copy now! Orders will be shipped within two business days of publication. Click on Order Form.

(If you are not sure if your subscription has lapsed, e-mail your name, address, and zip code to bmeyer@barternews.com.)


From the archives of BarterNews.

Technology & Barter Moves Awning Manufacturer

There’s no question that staying on the edge of technological changes in their industry has propelled Bill and Tim Forster’s company forward. But these two youthful manufacturers (both still in their thirties) have also used the services of one of the nation’s top trade exchanges to enhance their business operations.

Through the assistance of Rochester Trade Exchange (now known as Alliance Barter) they’ve traded over $600,000 and used barter as “bridge capital” for their company’s manufacturing headquarters. They now have an art department most awning shops only dream about because they can’t afford the heat sealers, heat transfer ovens, computer design systems, and registration cameras that are needed to create state-of-the-art graphics.

President Bill Forster says that with such modern technology awning companies can compete with sign companies. Proof of his statement are the national customers his company has served. Eastman Kodak and Bausch & Lomb both have used Forster’s services to create banners and signage.

The brothers push to professionalism began years ago when they began traveling beyond the familiar confines of Rochester. One such trip took them north into neighboring Canada, where they observed that Canadians were ahead of them in the use of graphics and signage, due to the newer urban areas.

In Canada they also saw the European influence of preference for permanent versus the U.S. throwaway mentality. And it was during their visits to Canada that the brothers discovered an exciting new technology.

“There was a need for larger signs than you could make with Plexiglas, which needed to be supported over a certain size. 3M was making Panaflex vinyl laminate for signage, and someone up there thought, ‘gee, you can do that with an awning.’ It really was the birth of the backlit industry,” says Tim.

The Forsters brought the illuminated awning idea back to New York, where it became the basis of a significant growth spurt at the company. According to Tim Forster, the firm’s growth rate during each of the past three years has ranged from 60% to 100%. A few years ago the company had 22 employees. Today it has nearly twice that.

“We had to give our (illuminated awning) work away at first,” he remembers. “It took people awhile to understand they had to pay more for backlit (versus traditional awnings). But once they saw them up, they saw what a strong image they could convey for their businesses.”

Then four years ago Forster Corp. hired a welder named John Dziedzic. Dziedzic (pronounced DEED-zic) came from Pennsylvania, where he had worked in commercial art. His efforts to find related work in the Rochester area, however, had been frustrating. One day, after being with Forster Corp. for a couple of months, he brought in his portfolio.

“We were just amazed at his talent,” Tim recalls. The Forsters saw in Dziedzic’s work an opportunity to make the graphics for their illuminated awnings sharper and more eye-catching, and they asked him to put together an in-house design studio. They started with screen-printing equipment, and then moved on to more high-tech graphics systems.

“John’s talent, interest, knowledge and ability to learn was so profound, it wasn’t difficult to move forward (in graphics),” Tim relates. “It sounds self-righteous, but the decision to buy this equipment was based on our desire to be the best in the industry.” And it was this quest that led to a Forster project being co-winner of the 1987 IFAI Award of Excellence.

Soon, however, the brothers found they’d overbought. “We thought, ‘my gosh, we’re barely using this stuff,’” says Tim. “We had to market it further. And from traveling around and talking to people in the awning business, I saw a need for better graphics.

“We spent a lot of money in R&D, and we had a number of problems with the equipment at first,” he reflects. “We had to pay for a lot of mistakes we made while learning how to use the machines. But it’s paying off now.

“We’re great believers in marketing,” Tim exclaims. “Why is Coke so popular? It’s just fuzzy, too-sweet water. Why is it the biggest soft-drink company? Marketing.”

Marketing, according to Tim, is “one of the keys to future success in the industry. We do extensive advertising on radio and in local publications. We’ve done some local TV spots. And we’ve also put together a four-minute video presentation that gives local businesses a taste of what awnings can do. If you don’t give people a reason to call the competition, they won’t.”

Vigorous marketing has helped Forster Corp. solidify its strong hold on the Rochester area awning market. Another factor is the firm’s reputation for quality, reflected by its emphasis on what the brothers call “the responsible use of illuminated awnings.”

“A backlit should address the architecture of the building and be pleasing to look at,” explains Tim. It should fit the building and the building’s surroundings as well. “If you go into a pretty town and see a big yellow backlit thrown against the storefront, that’s not using backlit responsibly. Backlits work well in cities, and in retail areas in the suburbs. But they shouldn’t be used everywhere.”

“There are awning companies that don’t care,” says Bill with disgust.

An inappropriate backlit, Tim suggests, not only hurts the manufacturer, but other awning companies as well. “People see one bad awning, they associate it with all awnings. The manufacturers scream and kick about codes, but you have to respect them. They are good for everyone in the business.

“If backlits are used responsibly, they’ll be popular for a long time. Neon was a fad, too, but it’s still around.”

The Forsters expect business to continue to be strong for some time.


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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Here & There...

  • Gary Pacific, cover story of BarterNews issue #25 and former Manager of Countertrade for McDonnell-Douglas Helicopter, is wearing a new hat. He’s now the Managing Director of Industrial Participation Projects, and reports that his countertrade service organization is now covering Turkey, Spain, Colombia, Venezuela, Peru and soon Ecuador. For more information: www.ip2usa.com.
  • Will former President Bill Clinton or former Secretary of State Colin Powell succeed departing World Bank President James Wolfensohn in May? As the biggest donor to the World Bank, the U.S. traditionally picks its leader and influences its direction.

    With a staff of 10,000, the World Bank is the world’s biggest international lender to underdeveloped countries. In 2004 it provided $20.1 billion for 245 projects in the developing world...ranging from combating AIDS in Africa to building highways in China.

  • Our changing world...
    The huge drops in business air fares (up to one-third) by Delta and reinforced by American Airlines, the world’s biggest airline, could have a major effect on many large corporate-travel contracts. Such contracts funneled a certain volume of business to preferred carriers in exchange for discounts of 8% to 12%. The new fare reductions could well make the volume contracts obsolete.

  • Have you signed up to receive a summary via e-mail of the Tuesday Report every week? If not, go to the top of this issue (right hand corner) and sign up!

  • The law of reciprocity is powerful...and many universities are proof of its benefits. The latest example is the $23.5 million gift Duke University received from Bill Gross, chief of the world’s largest bond fund—Pimco.

    Back in 1962 Gross received a $2,000 scholarship from Duke, enabling him to attend that university where he dined on peanut butter and jelly sandwiches and scraped by with a few bucks in his pocket. The recent gift to his alma mater was Gross’ way of saying, “Thank You!”

  • Venture capitalist Roger McNamee in his book The New Normal (Portfolio) believes, “In the new normal, neither big business nor IPOs will get all the glory. Today, size matters less than at any other time in the past 50 years. Thanks to technology, even small businesses can have a global footprint if they leverage the Internet and available tools that are dropping in price even as capabilities increase.”

  • Major real estate investors around the world think Shanghai will beat out Hong Kong to become China’s financial and commercial center. They anticipate that Shanghai will emerge as one of the world’s great cities...on a par with New York and London. (Investors also see Beijing’s hot market benefiting from a pre-2008 Olympic boom.)

  • Out of favor for years, U.S. stock dividends have surged back with companies paying out a record $213 billion last year in dividends...and 2005 looks to be even better. Since 1926, dividends have accounted for about 41% of the S&P 500’s total return through the end of 2004. Looked at another way: Stocks, alone, returned 6.1% on an average annual basis. With dividends, the return jumps to 10.5%.

  • About 75% of the nation’s restaurants are open an hour or two beyond the traditional 6 a.m. to 10 p.m. hours...evidence that U.S. society is increasingly operating around-the-clock.



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