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Could bartering be the business model that keeps sole traders trading?

- April 1, 2020 3 MIN READ
barter

A group of WA women are bringing back bartering as a way to continue to do business during the COVID_19 pandemic, writes business coach Lisa Smith.

Small business owners are still able to trade even with less cash flow thanks to an alternative small business stimulus package created by a group of entrepreneurs in WA. The business swap shop bswapshop.com is an on online business swap shop helping sole traders through (and beyond) the COVID-19 pandemic that is gaining momentum.

The project is a collaboration between Blow your Own Mind (BYOM) and Hot Lizards Designs (HLD); two small businesses whose customer demographic are those who have been heavily impacted by the restrictions

The three business women, Lisa Smith, Vicki Hodgson and Kati McKeon hatched the idea of a trading website that would provide business services or products to sole-traders and those small businesses without employees, as a means to preserve cash.

The website, split by geographical regions, supports a system of exchange specifically for microbusiness owners whose cash flow has been severely impacted by the COVID-19 crisis; where businesses directly exchange goods and services without using the medium of money, as in the early days of commerce.

No cost is involved in either listing or swapping, and the trade is between the two parties involved alone. It is a referral platform only and no money is received by the innovators for introducing micro-businesses to each other. Even if a business has been banned from trading currently, such as a café or restaurant, beauticians, small retailers, business relationships can still be formed and the swap realised when the restrictions are over in the form of IOUs or gift vouchers.

Businesses are invited to join the portal under their business category and articulate what they will accept in return for their goods or services. A simple sign up process requiring minimum information gets them online swiftly and connected to the wider business community. The b2b portal provides connection and much needed profile to business owners who are feeling vulnerable.

“Being entrepreneurial is a necessity more than ever in such uncertain times as well as post COVID-19 crisis, as the knock effects will be around for a while” said Lisa Smith co- Director of Blow Your Own Mind. “We felt compelled to assist the community with whom we’ve worked with so closely and show entrepreneurial leadership”.

“Collaboration has always been our modus operandi and having been a client of Hot Lizard Designs, we knew exactly who to call to get this portal up and running” said Vicki co-Director of BYOM.

“Our one disclaimer is that we take no responsibility for the facilitating of trades, and users trade on their own terms and conditions. Furthermore, we encourage users to speak to their accountant about any tax liabilities. But we’re delighted to be responding to a very urgent need that will assist sole traders to survive and perhaps even thrive through these unparalleled times” she added.

“Cashflow is a concern for small businesses at the best of times, but a form of bartering has always been around. Having this in place can support those micro-businesses during this difficult time, and hopefully build both a solid referral network and genuine online reviews so they are in a stronger position moving forward.” noted Kati.

The website is live and sole traders are invited to join the community and take back some control in their lives and livelihoods.

And there are great high-value swaps being offered too. Copywriters and Virtual assistants offering their services in exchange for some legal advice to improve their agreements.A qualified teacher offering 40-minute online sessions in exchange for gardening or ironing; a family-owned winery offering wine of course, in exchange for anything from hairdressing to dog washing; a videographer offering film editing and podcast service who is “open to offers”! The list goes on.

From a business development point alone, as a sole trader, you’d benefit from spending some time on there and clean up in terms of what you could get in return for your service.

So jump online, list your business, what you need and what you’ll swap and then get swapping. And don’t forget to leave a review once you’ve experienced great service!

This post was written by Lisa Smith, coach, speaker and practitioner at Entrepreneurial Mindset Profile. Connect with her on LinkedIn.

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