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November 8, 2011

Written by Bob Meyer, Editor of BarterNews

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From the desk of Bob Meyer... 11/08/2011

Congratulations Due Michael Mercier!

The commercial barter industry has two trade associations: the International Reciprocal Trade Association (IRTA) established in 1979, and the National Association of Trade Exchanges (NATE) formed in 1983. Many industrious members have served in various capacities over the years, but only one individual can attest to having held the position of president of both associations � IRTA�s current president Michael Mercier. (His presidential position with NATE was well over a decade ago.)

Effective Advertising Mediums Differ

Reaching your customers with effective advertising is important in these competitive times. And effectiveness will often depend on the time of day and your target audience. Research has found radio is king in the early-morning commuting hours, while television shines after 5pm. By comparison, the Internet is popular throughout the day with a range of age groups, while newspapers are most popular with the baby-boomer generation.

Bill Paying Delayed By Companies

Experian, the financial data and credit scoring giant, reports that companies of all sizes are delaying the paying of their bills, by as much as 28.3% longer in the third quarter. Midwest businesses are the tardiest payers averaging 10.6 days overdue, while the Northwest was the least tardy with 3.9 days on average.

Economic Bloggers Still Have Gloomy Outlook

The Kauffman Foundation, an entrepreneurial think tank, reports that 96% of top economic-bloggers polled have a gloomy outlook on the American economy.

         Two-thirds of the respondents believe the government is too involved in the economy

         Only 2% rate the economy as strong and growing

         50% believe and anticipate employment growth

         A vast majority expect the U.S. real estate market will not stabilize for another four years

Memorable Quotation 

�Computers are useless, they can only give you answers.�

� Pablo Picasso, Spanish artist.

�All growth is a leap in the dark, a spontaneous unpremeditated act without the benefit of experience.�

� Henry Miller, American novelist & painter.

�The important work of moving the world forward does not wait to be done by perfect men.�

� George Eliot, British writer.

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. . .)

Stabilize Your Business With More Barter Sales

Regardless of your business, in times of uncertainty and anxiousness people historically hold onto their money. Given the present situation, these are very trying times for most Americans. And that means less spending.

It�s time to put on your entrepreneurial hat and become street smart. As a member of a trade exchange, you can take matters into your own hands by trading more. Plus you can expect to see an upsurge in your barter business from the other members.

Sales through your trade exchange can be a confidence-building measure, now is the time to keep your financial machinery greased with barter. Spend time with your trade broker and strategize to get through these tumultuous times.

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Cross-Training Opportunities Can Motivate

Cross-training your employees to handle each other�s jobs not only limits the negative effects of absences. It also is a good way to boost morale. That�s because cross-trained workers feel less stagnant in their jobs.

The rapport that builds as workers interact while learning each other�s responsibilities can be motivational in itself. They may also appreciate the ability to increase their skills, and thus widen their opportunities.

Then, if you have to downsize or restructure, cross-trained workers will be more valuable and may have greater job security.

Is Your Trade Exchange Missing Out On Valuable New Business?

If your barter company�s listing on isn�t current, you are definitely missing out on new business. The web site 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.

Five Harsh Realities Halting Your Company�s Organic Growth

Making a lasting change is usually easier said than done. Think about it. Most of us spend more time talking about that next diet or exercise program we plan to start than we do actually going through with it. Businesses have just as much difficulty going through with change as individuals. Too often, like those of us who are unwilling to get up a little earlier to go on that morning run or invest in the right pair of running shoes, companies are unwilling or unable to carry out the changes that need to be made in order to grow organically.

Growing organically by creating differentiated products and services is difficult. It requires constancy of purpose and a willingness to invest over time. The problem, says Dan Adams, is that consistent, successful organic growth is steeped in change.

�Investment in profitable, sustainable organic growth must be done at two levels,� says Adams, author of New Product Blueprinting: The Handbook for B2B Organic Growth. �First, you must learn the new skills and tools of direct customer engagement, and second, you must apply what you�ve learned with customers very early in the new product development cycle.

�One important point needs to be made,� he adds. �Too many companies hear the word �investment� and immediately decide they can�t undertake this kind of change when the economy isn�t great. You probably work with colleagues who behave in a perfectly rational manner most of the time. But when your business creates its operating budget and growth plan, do you find that logic and clear thinking yield to a bit of self-deception?�

There are four distinct signs, according to Adams, that your company�s plans for growth just aren�t based in reality:

1.    Your budget predicts your sales will grow faster than the markets you serve.

2.    Your competitors � serving those same markets � believe their sales will do the same.

3.    You don�t have a track record of consistently taking market share from competitors.

4.    You can�t identify a key event or initiative that will change all this.

The bottomline is that relatively few businesses know how to achieve profitable, sustainable, significant growth. In fact, notes Adams, most do not. If your business is among the many strugglers, what can you do? Read on for Adams�s organic growth reality check:

Reality Check #1: You can�t sustain faster growth than competitors through better quality, service, or operational efficiency. Those battles were fought in past decades and � while still necessary � are not sufficient for a sustainable competitive advantage today.

Reality Check #2: �Remember, the growth you desire comes only from giving customers differentiated value. In other words, value they can�t get anywhere else,� explains Adams. �Businesses that focus on understanding and meeting customer needs, are the ones my money is always on.�

Reality Check #3: Most companies do a miserable job of developing new product differentiation, a.k.a., �new customer value.� On average, three out of four products fail after they enter the costly development stage. Can you think of any other area within your company that abides a 75% defect rate?

Reality Check #4: Most new products don�t fail because R&D can�t come up with good answers. They fail because R&D is trying to answer the wrong questions. The supplier doesn�t know what the customer really wants, because the supplier is deciding what the customer wants in his own conference room. 

Reality Check #5: The great thing is that these problems are completely solvable. In a study representing 84% of all global corporate spending, Booz Allen Hamilton found that directly engaging customers gave suppliers superior results. The profits grew three times faster than those that just used �indirect customer insight� to develop new products.

Adams says a great example of a company that accepted the organic growth reality check put before them is DuPont.

�DuPont has a rich history of delivering differentiated value through its products,� says Adams. �We have DuPont to thank for nylon, Teflon�, Kevlar�, Tyvek�, Corian�, and Lycra�. Winning companies know what provides their winning edge � understanding and meeting customer needs. And they continue to win because they figure out a way to invest in and consistently build this edge.�

Dan Adams, president of Advanced Industrial Marketing (AIM), is an author and an award-winning speaker who conducts workshops in every region of the world to train commercial and technical teams in advanced B2B product development.


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Marketing Secrets

In his book Guerrilla Marketing, Jay Levinson tells us that when working with clients he considers the greatest stumbling block to be their inability to understand commitment. He suggests thinking about the following list each time you run an ad and achieve less of a response than you expected:

  • The first time a man looks at an ad, he doesn�t see it.

  • The second time, he doesn�t notice it.

  • The third time, he is conscious of its existence.

  • The fourth time, he faintly remembers having seen it.

  • The fifth time, he reads the ad.

  • The sixth time, he turns up his nose at it.

  • The seventh time, he reads it through and says, �Oh brother!�

  • The eighth time, he says, �Here�s that confounded thing again!�

  • The ninth time, he wonders if it amounts to anything.

  • The tenth time, he will ask his neighbor if he has tried it.

  • The eleventh time, he wonders how the advertiser makes it pay.

  • The twelfth time, he thinks it must be a good thing.

  • The thirteenth time, he thinks it might be worth something.

  • The fourteenth time, he remembers that he wanted such a thing for a long time.

  • The fifteenth time, he is tantalized because he cannot afford to buy it.

  • The sixteenth time, he thinks he will buy it someday.

  • The seventeenth time, he makes a memorandum of it.

  • The eighteenth time, he swears at his poverty.

  • The nineteenth time, he counts his money carefully.

  • The twentieth time he sees the ad, he buys the article or instructs his wife to do so.

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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.�

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