June 14, 2011
by Bob Meyer, Editor of BarterNews
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From the desk of Bob Meyer...
IRTA Convention Will Be Held At Mexican
International Reciprocal Trade Association has announced
that the 4.5-star Aventura Spa Palace Resort in Riviera Maya
will be the site for their 32nd national convention
scheduled for September 19-21, 2011.
ITEX “New Era” Now Into 8th Year
eight years ago this month that Steve White took over as the
new CEO of the ITEX organization in Sacramento (CA). He
immediately began implementing changes at the largest trade
exchange in the U.S. A focus on greater efficiency was of
foremost importance. After one year the headquarters
relocated to Bellevue (WA).
Shareholders in the publicly-traded company have done very
well under White’s leadership, seeing 100% per year gains,
on average, since 2003.
Squatter Nation …
U.S., homeowners who haven’t made a payment for as much as 5
years continue to live in their homes. Nationwide, it takes
an average of 565 days to foreclose on borrowers in default
— from their first missed payments to the final auction.
NATE Convention Was Notable Success
National Association of Trade Exchanges annual convention
was recently concluded, with the participants returning to
their home offices having gained renewed enthusiasm for the
barter business. The event was held at the beautiful Phoenix
Marriott Mesa Hotel & Convention Center, and was hosted by
the Arizona Trade Exchange.
thirty independently owned and operated trade exchange
owners and staff met, exchanging ideas and aspirations, as
well as products and services. Such annual meetings are the
ideal setting for brainstorming where exchange owners can
gather new ways to better their individual operation, as
well as furthering the commercial barter industry.
ABC-coverage of the event can be viewed on their web site.
For more information on NATE
How Long Will You Work?
(56%) percent of U.S. workers have less than $25,000 saved,
while 60% percent of retirees have less than $50,000 set
aside. Additionally, some 45 million Americans are on food
stamps. People in these situations will likely be working
long after retirement age.
California Still Economic Powerhouse
from the Bureau of Business Analysis reports that the Golden
State accounted for 13.1% of all the goods and services
produced in the U.S. last year. (They have approximately 10%
of the country’s population.) Texas was a distant second at
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Astute Entrepreneurs Know That Joining Groupon Is NOT The Way To Go
Talk about making it tough on yourself …
Groupon, the three-year-old coupon company, is all the rage these
days with its upcoming and much-anticipated billion-dollar IPO. But
for the small business owner trying to blaze a trail and build a
successful business, it isn’t beneficial for your company. Here’s
First, with Groupon there’s a good chance that you will lose money,
especially if you have high fixed costs and low marginal costs.
That’s because the cost to work with them — the split with Groupon —
is actually more than 50%, as Groupon does not share your credit
Then there’s the concern you should have about offering your
products/services at steep discounts as it dilutes your brand. Your
company offers a real value and also has a reputation to uphold,
which for many has taken years to build.
Groupon deals — offering the newbie your products/services for half
the price your loyal customers have been paying you — upsets your
loyal customers. Plus these new customers are questionable for the
long term, since they’re deal seekers. Will they return and pay full
There’s no magic formula here with Groupon’s model. Working at a 50%
off certainly isn’t the smartest way to go. Instead, providing value
with outstanding service, while establishing rapport and building
empathy with your customers is the way to go — both in the cash
marketplace as well as the barter marketplace.
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ITEX Announces Earnings
The largest trade exchange in the U.S. has announced results for its
fiscal 2011 third quarter, ended April 30, 2011.
Third Quarter 2011 Highlights
Revenue of $3.960 million, compared to $4.158 million in the same
period last year;
Income from operations of $388,000, compared to $421,000 in the same
period last year;
Net income of $239,000, compared to $269,000 in the same period last
Cash at end of period was $4.765 million, compared to $5.169 million
on July 31, 2010;
Repurchased 92,125 shares of common stock;
Paid a $0.04 per share quarterly cash dividend.
Additionally, ITEX acquired a membership list of approximately 1,500
businesses from an unnamed commercial trade exchange for $400,000.
The new ITEX members are concentrated primarily in the states of
Washington, Oregon, Utah and Georgia.
Is Your Trade Exchange Missing Out On
Valuable New Business?
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.
your barter company’s listing up-to-date?
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:
make changes to your listing
Barter-Fest Scheduled In St. Louis
The Cowry Collective and the UnderWEARS, two community barter groups
in St. Louis, will be working together cooperatively in the future.
On June 12 they will be hosting the first-ever scheduled “Barter
Their goal is to strengthen their community, with the objective to
grow independently from the conventional dollar.
variety of foods, drinks, crafts and services, will be offered at
this initial event. The organizations feel bartering is a healthy
and empowering exercise in which to showcase individual talents and
passions while sourcing locally.
For more event information call Joseph at 708-256-0994.
(Part 1 of 2)
Listening To Your
Customers Necessary For Significant Feedback
By George F. Brown, Jr.
(the book) CoDestiny, we argue that the most successful business
strategies are ones that build upon shared successes. If your
strategy creates value for your customers, it opens the potential
for your own firm to capture some of that value for its own
shareholders. Unlike strategies that focus on winning a zero-sum
game with your business partners, CoDestiny strategies have the
potential for sustained contributions. But while the logic of such
win-win strategies is compelling, identifying their elements and
implementing them successfully is a challenge.
of the tools that is critical to successful CoDestiny strategies is
developing an effective and continuing flow of messages from the
market, gaining insights from participants at every stage of the
customer chain about their issues, challenges, priorities, and
perspectives. While not the only element needed for successful
strategy development, such customer-based insights are on the short
list of critical ingredients.
Today, most businesses have implemented some formal programs through
which they can listen to their customers, many going by names such
as Voice of the Customer Program and others involving variants on
the theme of customer satisfaction. Such programs can make a
significant contribution to strategy development. In the paragraphs
that follow, some insights that have emerged on this topic are
provided as guidance for firms looking to either develop such
programs or take existing ones to higher levels.
Research and experience suggest that there are three primary goals
that can be achieved through a Voice of the Customer initiative.
Clarity as to the goals of the program and about the ways in which
it can connect to strategy development and implementation, provides
focus to its design and execution.
first of the three goals is the most critical in terms of its value
and the most challenging in terms of its degree of difficulty. The
goal is simple: gain customer inputs into your own strategy
development process by learning of their perspectives on the future
business environment and on their most pressing needs. This goal
connects to many of the elements of any company’s strategic plan –
gaining insights related to product innovation, identifying new
services critical to customers, learning about trends at each and
every stage of the customer chain, identifying new applications that
customers are targeting, etc.
Success in gaining customer insights about the future business
environment and new needs can enable a supplier to get ahead of
opportunities and strengthen its value proposition in areas of vital
importance to its customers. The key here is ensuring that Voice of
the Customer interactions are forward looking. (And most approaches
fail miserably in that regard, focusing on past performance
We’ve all had “Duh!” moments in our business experience — instances
when an insight dawned upon us that was quite obvious, but had been
overlooked. One of my Duh! moments (and I admit to many) occurred in
a company I was running some time ago at a senior staff meeting when
discussions turned to the major challenges we were facing in keeping
up with customer service expectations as our customers rapidly
expanded to one new global location after another.
Duh! moment occurred when a colleague asked, “Have we ever asked our
customers about their expansion plans?” We started to do so, and the
problem never resurfaced. Some customers provided us a very solid
five year plan, and none of them were without an answer. We just had
lesson here is that thinking about what information you need to be
effective in supporting your customers should be among the first
questions you ask of them. If you translate all of the themes
associated with future plans and the evolving business environment
into what insights you need for the decisions your firm is
contemplating, the potential for customer contributions is huge.
That doesn’t eliminate the need for some open-ended discussion about
opportunities and challenges that you might be overlooking, but the
starting point for a future discussion ought to be the arenas in
which you need to be prepared to create shared successes along with
other important lesson that is critical in gaining insights about
the future involves paying attention to the entire customer chain. A
firm’s customer chain is the path that leads from its suppliers all
the way to the final users of its products. In business markets
especially, customer chains can be complex and extend for many
electrical component manufacturer, for example, sold to integrators
who in turn sold to distributors who sold to contractors who handled
installations at end customer sites. The perspective about the
future can vary at each and every stage of the customer chain, with
implications that ripple backwards and forwards. Effective listening
doesn’t stop with direct customers. It’s necessary to listen to all
of the customers. And one trick that best-practice firms employ is
asking customers at each stage of the customer chain what they would
like to know about the other stages of the customer chain. Some
remarkable insights have been gained by simply asking that question.
George F. Brown, Jr., is co-author with Atlee Valentine Pope of the
CoDestiny: Overcome Your Growth Challenges by Helping Your Customers
Overcome Theirs. He is also the CEO and cofounder of Blue Canyon
Partners Inc., a strategy consulting firm working with leading
business suppliers on growth strategy.
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The Growth and Use of Secondary
Capital (New Money) Creates Unprecedented Wealth In Today’s New Age
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