July 7, 2009
by Bob Meyer, Editor of BarterNews
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IMS Awarded Platinum
Sponsorship For IRTA Convention
IRTA Executive Director Ron Whitney announced that International
Monetary Systems (IMS) has been awarded the Platinum Sponsorship for
the historic 30th annual International Reciprocal Trade
Association’s convention to be held October 1 - 3, at the four-star
Magnolia Hotel in Dallas, Texas.
are delighted that IMS is playing such an important role in our 30th
annual convention,” said IRTA President David Wallach “This marks
the second consecutive year that IMS has claimed the top sponsorship
spot, their continued support of IRTA is reflective of the IMS
leadership role within our industry.”
This year’s theme is “The Legends of Barter,” and will re-unite many
of the industry pioneers and visionaries including Barter
Hall-of-Fame members and others who have contributed significantly
to the development of the Modern Trade and Barter Industry.
President Don Mardak remarked, “Being the Platinum Sponsor for
IRTA’s 2009 convention is a tremendous honor for IMS. We are excited
about this year’s Dallas convention and the opportunity to spend
time with so many of the pioneers of this industry and meet the
many new exchange owners who have recently joined IRTA.”
more information on the IRTA convention, go to www.irta.com
or call Ron Whitney at 757-393-2292.
Attention Trade Exchange Owners. . .It’s GROW OR GO!
The magic bullet for growth is sales, always has been and always
will be...yet the industry’s overall growth is anemic. Why? Maybe
it’s because we’re not providing on-going education about our unique
way of doing business. Knowledge is always a pre-requisite to taking
And for those newcomers, the lifeblood of an exchange, awareness of
and understanding about the value of trading is even more important.
If you expect prospects to come aboard and your members to be more
active traders, but you are perplexed when the results are less than
you desire...there’s a good reason. You must continually educate
and motivate every month--month after month after month!
Such action is necessary because, let’s face it, more cash business,
not trade, is of paramount importance to your members. You must
break through this “cash only” focus and redirect their thinking
toward barter. Although most exchanges don’t see the importance of
doing so, many industry leaders are taking action and so can you.
As the owner of your own operation, there is an easy and
inexpensive solution for moving forward...look
into using The Competitive Edge newsletter. It’s a
camera-ready, 4-page, professionally written, informational
marketing tool...available in PDF format as well as print. So
regardless of how you reach your prospects and clients, you will
have the necessary vehicle.
Written especially for you, the busy trade exchange owner, I am
certain it will be the best investment you ever make.
For more information about The Competitive Edge, and how it
can benefit you
Build Customerships &
Eleven Other Valuable Pieces of Advice
By Guy Kawasaki
Most advice to entrepreneurs focuses on what they should do—build a
great product, assemble a great team, provide great service. All are
“duh-isms.” Unfortunately, many entrepreneurs don’t realize that
there are things they should specifically avoid doing too. These are
also duh-isms, but somehow no one ever talks about them. Here is my
list of the twelve most important things that entrepreneurs should
Don’t worry, be crappy.
Perfectionism, first of all, is an illusion. Nothing is perfect.
Even worse, perfection stands in the way of revenue and truly
learning what customers think because nothing is in their hands yet.
When your product is “good enough” (but not “perfect”), ship it, and
see what happens.
Don’t give out lofty titles.
Just because a roommate was there during the drunken weekend when
you came up with the idea for your company, doesn’t mean he should
be CTO. Someday, you’ll need to hand out titles like director,
vice-president, and chief whatever officer, so keep them in reserve.
Until then refer to each other as co-founders and describe the area
of responsibility: for example, programming. If your roommates
aren’t cool with this, they’re doing you a favor by showing their
Don’t hire your family.
The probability that your spouse or relative is the best person you
can get for a job is 0%. The probability that people will hate
working at a company with spouses and relatives is 100%. The
probability that one of you will have to go someday is also 100%.
Never hire out of expediency. Always hire the best person you can
get. This usually means not hiring your family unless you’re Jack or
the way, if you both hire your family and give them a lofty title,
you are truly a bozo.
Don’t sweat valuation.
This is easy for a venture capitalist to say, but your company is
either going to die or make you more money than you imagined.
Whether you have 10% or 15% and whether your pre-money valuation is
$2 million or $3 million isn’t going to really matter. Do the math:
15% of $0 is $0, so stop negotiating, take the money, and build
something that’s worth more than $0. Whatever valuation a venture
capitalist offers you, increase it by 20% and counter her offer.
This is just enough to show that you’re not a pushover, but not too
much that it will prolong or blow up the negotiations.
Don’t believe venture capitalists.
Having said that you shouldn’t sweat valuation, you shouldn’t
believe venture capitalists. It’s not that we’re all liars—we just
don’t finish our sentences. Rule of thumb: add “as long as things
are going well” to everything a venture capitalist tells you. For
example, “I am investing in your team” or “I will be there for you.”
Don’t create lofty forecasts that you call “conservative.”
You know you’re pulling numbers out of the air. We know you are too.
You know we know. We know you know. So why would you forecast the
fastest ramp in the history of capitalism? (It’s more likely that I
will play in the NHL than you will achieve $2 billion in sales in
year four.) Just project $25 million in year four, and we’ll all be
in agreement about your lie.
Don’t believe that the exception is the rule.
This is called the Twitter Effect. It goes like this, “We’re
focusing on usage and eyeballs like Twitter. We’re not that
concerned about revenue right now. Look how valuable everyone thinks
Twitter is. We’ll be just like that.” Twitter is the exception.
Facebook is the exception. YouTube is the exception. There, I listed
all the exceptions. Everyone else needs revenue ASAP, or you will
Don’t focus on partnerships.
“Partnership, noun, a relationship between two parties that does not
increase the profitability of either.” If your partnership doesn’t
cause you to edit your Excel spreadsheet, it’s meaningless. Focus on
customerships, not partnerships if you want to succeed. When you’re
a big, dumb, slow-moving company, then fabricate all the
partnerships you want.
Don’t build out your infrastructure.
Sure, your conservative estimate is for a growth curve that makes
Twitter’s look like a blip, so you need customer service, technical
support, and racks of servers. I’ve never seen a company achieve
even its “conservative” projections—I take that back: I’ve seen
plenty of companies reach their overhead projections. The odds are
that you’ll run out of money before you’ll run out of
Don’t assume you’ll ever raise another round.
Most projected timelines should contain a event that’s called “This
is where the miracle occurs.” A much better assumption is that no
miracle occurs, it takes years of grinding it out to succeed, and
you’ll never raise another dime, so you must reach profitability
with what you already have. Miracles happen in movies, not startups.
Don’t compare your intentions to other employees’ results.
Most people compare their intentions to the results of others. In
this way, you’re never at fault or a failure. For example, you
intended to ship on time, but the sales gal didn’t achieve her
expected results. The effect of this is poor morale and chasms
between people. You need to face the facts: you probably delivered
less than you intended. Maybe others did too, but at least you’ll be
Don’t ask people to do something you wouldn’t do.
This is the Golden Rule of business. If you wouldn’t fill out ten
fields of information and provide a credit card number for a free
password, don’t expect your customers to. If you wouldn’t work on
weekends stuffing envelopes, don’t expect your employees to. If you
wouldn’t invest in your company, don’t expect venture capitalists
International visitors look for BARTER CONTACTS in our Global Barter
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Attention trade exchange owners...thousands of visitors every month
visit our BARTER CONTACTS section on our web site where we have
names & addresses of barter companies in the USA. If YOUR exchange
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Kaiser Health News
Reports On Bartering for Health Care
By Rochelle Sharpe
(This article shows the valuable health care services trade
exchanges offer their clients.)
With no health insurance and little money, Gilberto Carrasco, a Reno
(NV) auto mechanic, didn't see much point in getting a physical. At
50, he felt healthy and couldn’t afford treatment even if a doctor
found a medical problem.
then his girlfriend, Eren Hernandez, figured out a way to get
Carrasco a free checkup. She found a family physician who was
willing to barter his services. During the physical, the doctor
discovered that Carrasco had prostate cancer, catching it before the
disease had spread. “We couldn’t have afforded Carrasco’s
examination,” said Hernandez, who also uses bartering to get
extensive medical and dental care for other family members.
With the economy in recession and many people strapped for cash,
bartering of various kinds has increased. But now health care is
surpassing auto repair and advertising as the service in most
demand, say people who run local barter exchanges.
Alan Zimmelman, a spokesman for ITEX Corporation, the largest
network of barter exchanges in North America, says in the past two
years the demand for health care has jumped by more than 20%. The
company has 551 physicians and 618 dentists who participate in its
100 local barter groups.
Barter is little more than a stopgap solution for the uninsured. But
with doctors, dentists, psychiatrists, chiropractors and even
cosmetic surgeons offering their services, bartering is providing a
temporary safety net of sorts for some workers who have lost their
jobs and health coverage. And in some cases, people who have
inadequate insurance are using barter to get critical services, such
as dental and vision benefits.
There are two main types of bartering: direct and indirect. In the
former, people engage in direct trades of goods and services without
using money. In the latter, small-business owners and individuals
accumulate credits, or barter dollars, by providing specific
products and services. Those barter dollars can be used to buy the
services of any other network member. That way, a barber with a
toothache can barter for dental work, without having to find a
dentist who wants a haircut.
Many of these exchanges are designed for small business owners
seeking to conserve cash. “Nearly 400,000 businesses participate in
about 500 trade exchanges in the United States,” reported Ron
Whitney, executive director of the International Reciprocal Trade
Association, which promotes the barter industry.
Carrasco’s case, he used barter dollars to buy the services of Quinn
Pauly, a 44-year-old family physician who joined the barter network
six years ago to expand his practice. Like most doctors who
participate in exchanges, he accepts barter dollars only for his
services, not for lab tests or hospital expenses. Pauly said he
prefers being paid in cash, and now has plenty of paying patients.
But he continues to participate in the trade exchange. “I wasn’t
going to fire my patients who see me with barter,” he explained.
Debbie Lombardi, president of Barter Business Unlimited in Bristol (CN),
said she's fielding about 20 calls a day from members seeking
medical help, compared to just occasional calls in past years.
During the past six months, she pointed our that nearly every person
wanting to join her group has been looking for health care. One man
recently brought his Harley Davidson to Lombardi’s office, hoping to
trade it for orthodontia treatment for his daughter.
“People want to keep their standard of care up, even if they can’t
afford it,” she noted; adding that she has helped people get dental
implants, Lasik surgery, even the services of an obstetrician to
deliver twins. “In some cases, we’re their only health insurance.”
North Carolina, one woman bartered for more than $200,000 of medical
care in hopes of finding a cure for her fibromyalgia,” said Maurya
Lane, president of the Barter Business Exchange Inc., in Cary. “At
one point,” Lane said, “the woman gave her chiropractor a $10,000
laser, which he then used to treat her.”
of the doctor’s in Lane’s group is Ellen Gray, a psychiatrist in
Chapel Hill, who like many physicians joined the local barter
exchange to get more business referrals. But now, she feels she’s
doing her part “to expand access to therapy both for people who
don’t have insurance as well as for those who don’t want their
insurance companies to know they are struggling with mental-health
issues. Plus, I just like the idea that people are taking matters
into their own hands,” she said.
Many doctors, including Gray, will participate only in indirect
barter (trade exchanges), which typically charge members 6% fees on
all purchases and sales. She thinks direct barter violates medical
ethics because doctor-patient relationships should focus only on
healing. She said she would never want a patient who had cleaned her
carpets to think he was getting substandard care because the carpets
still looked dirty.
American Medical Association has no specific policy on bartering,
but supports doctors’ freedom to choose how they want to be paid, a
spokesman said. The government only bars doctors from bartering for
more than the cash value of their services from Medicare, the
federal program for the elderly, and Medicaid, the state-federal
program for the poor and disabled. Anyone who barters more than $600
in goods and services a year must pay taxes on the transactions.
Direct bartering is conducted mostly on Web sites. A dentist in
Washington (DC), used Craigslist this past winter to offer his
services in exchange for tickets to President Barack Obama’s
inauguration. This spring, Peter Fountain, 50, of East Norton (PA),
posted a plea on Craigslist for a surgeon to remove a cataract. “I
will paint your house, refinish your antiques, anything in the
general maintenance field,” he wrote. “I need to regain my vision in
order to provide my employer with the skills I have.”
Fountain, who works as a maintenance superintendent at the Western
Union building in Philadelphia, said no one has responded. “I
figured a lot of people considered it a joke,” he said.
Last fall, Zeo Solomon helped launch a new direct-barter Web site
called Favorpals which has already had several successful health
care exchanges. A dermatologist did a checkup in exchange for having
his office cleaned; a psychiatrist saw someone a few times in
exchange for help on a Web site design, and a family doctor
conducted a physical in exchange for pastries from a famous New York
bakery. “More than 20% of the 10,000 people who joined the barter
site were seeking or offering health care,” Solomon said.
Direct barter appears to be most common in rural areas and in the
South. In Cambridge (VT), Deb Richter, a primary-care doctor, said
that she and her colleagues only barter with a few patients at any
given time, and that what they receive in trade rarely comes close
to compensating them for their work. “This is our way to make life a
little nicer and increase community spirit,” said Richter, whose
medical practice is the only one in a 25-mile radius. She has
received vegetables, cords of wood and lots of pies in trade for
medical services. She has also swapped Viagra samples for maple
Strengthening communities is the focus of another kind of exchange
system, called time banking, developed in 1980 by Edgar Cahn, a law
professor at the University of the District of Columbia law school.
In these groups, people trade their time rather than the
cash-equivalent of goods or services. With everyone's time
considered of equal value, one hour of medical care is equivalent to
one hour of painting.
Dozens of time banks operate across the country, with many offering
extensive health-related services, ranging from exercise classes to
medical appointments to help getting to the doctor. At Hour Exchange
in Portland, Maine, which has 171 medical practitioners, more than
one-fourth of the 20,000 hours that were exchanged last year related
to health care, according to member Lesley Jones.
few hospitals, meanwhile, have devised exchange programs of their
own. At Woodhull Hospital in Brooklyn, artists without health
insurance earn credits toward free care if they perform or work with
patients and staff. More than 400 people, including former Broadway
actors, have participated in Artist Access since it began in 2005,
painting murals on walls, drawing with sick children, and coaching
medical residents on breaking bad news to patients.
Franklin Memorial Hospital in Farmington, Maine, indigent patients
can work off their bills by doing volunteer work. If the patients
are too ill, friends or relatives can do the volunteer work for
them. Valerie Taylor, 67, tried to pay off her $13,000 bill for
colon surgery a few years ago. But, because she had to retire early
due to health problems, she could only pay the hospital $50 a month.
joined the hospital’s Contract for Care program, performing about
300 hours of administrative chores over the course of a year and
worked off her bill. “People do want to pay their own way, and
sometimes circumstances prevent that,” she said.
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