Is a trade exchange right for you? If so, which one?

Years ago, I joined a trade exchange as a “pool guy”…I was working in the family business taking care of man-made lakes when a friend told me about Tradesource, a local group of business owners that trade(like barter, but better) with each other using a “trade credit” system.

I joined up, got some additional work, and had a fun time using the credit to eat out and generally “play” with this new income that I considered gravy on top of what I was already doing. The system was fun, it was easy, and generally a good tool for growing my small business.

Years past and I went through a whole other career(by today’s standards, about five years of doing something) before approaching the company with an offer to build up their network in the East Valley. I actually talked to three of the largest exchanges before making the decision to work with Tradesource, the company I had been a member of for seven years by then.

So, in making the decision to join or not and with which to ally oneself, it is important to look at three things:

  1. Size – Yes, size matters. How many companies can you spend your newly earned trade money with? The credit is only as good as where you can spend it. Is the network going to have what I need?
  2. Longevity – How long has the company been in business? Will they be around in five years? How about ten? Having an account full of money you can’t spend will do you no good at all.
  3. Leadership – Do the people that run the company have your best interests at heart? Are they truly concerned about your business growth or just charging what they can? Are they honest? What is their reputation?

These are the factors that matter…not only in the the trade industry either. Doesn’t that apply to just about any business you want to team up with? What do you think?


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