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Need to Cut Some Costs? Try Striking a Trade.

For small businesses, cash is still king and cash flow management can be the difference between a successful business and one that is on the brink of shutting down. As the owner, it's your job to make sure you're doing everything in your power to keep that from happening - and saving as much cash as you can in the process.

Finding ways to save money is important, so if there is a way for your business to accomplish something without using cash, you should leap at it.

Fortunately, there is - and it’s a concept older than cash itself: barter.

You supply me with this, and I’ll supply you with that. Quid pro quo. Each party gets what they want/need, and neither party has to spend a cent. Bartering can help you make use of overstock.

Products that aren’t be sold and taking of valuable shelf-space might be better utilized in a barter agreement with another small business to land you a product or service that you find more useful.

Think of some of the essentials you need to operate your business. Do you or your employees wear uniforms? Perhaps you can barter with a local dry cleaner in exchange for a discount on your services, or in exchange for some products. Want to bulk up your marketing by adding logos to pens or stationary? A local company might be able to help, that could, in turn, use something your business provides.

You can think bigger, too. What are your heating and air conditioning needs? Or your tax preparation needs? If you have a brick and mortar location, you’re going to need heat in the winter and air in the summer. If you have a business at all, you’ll need someone to hire someone to prepare and file your taxes!

The more vital the service, the more money you might have to shell out to have it done.

If possible, consider barter for even these services. It can save your business thousands of dollars - and help you establish a trusting relationship with a local community member.

On that note, consider being involved in a barter network. Many small businesses work with each other on barter - particularly newer startups hoping to get their feet on the ground.

Entering in a barter network allows you access to unique products and services that you’ll need to operate and grow your business, without needing to spend cash on getting them!

While you might need to spend a little money on dues or fees in some of the larger networks, it could end up being worth it for your business. A quick Google search will return tons of different services and groups for you to consider.

Of course, don’t forget about your current vendors, customers and clients! You’ll be surprised what might turn up in your own network. Many people tend to overlook the very people they see every day. Perhaps a loyal customer owns a business of their own or has a valuable connection that could help you.

Nothing in life is free, but not everything in business has to cost money!

Though it isn’t appropriate in every circumstance, using barter can help you save money on operating costs, give you greater access to the things you need, and help extend your business network.

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