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Talk-O Tuesday: Best Barter Practices

Let’s Talk-O ‘Bout It!

So, you joined Saturn Barter (or maybe you’ve been a member for a while now), and you want to know how to get the most out of your organized trade exchange account. We spoke about it at our recent Talk-O Tuesday, and now we’re breaking out the highlights for you here.

Communication (video time 0:52)

It’s just like every relationship: communication is key. At Saturn Barter, what sets us apart from other trade exchanges is our focus on the broker to member relationship. The more your broker knows about your business and life, the better he/she will be able to find the services and goods you’re looking to spend your Saturn dollars on. Conversely, they’ll also be more able to market your goods and services to other members.

  • Visit saturnbarter.com, log in to our trading platform regularly to see new items and services available.
  • Let your broker know which is your best communication method: online, email, phone call, FB Messenger, text. They want to meet you where it’s easiest for you.
  • Brokers are here to create different avenues for you. You can look at your broker as your own personal concierge and marketing person. Need an accountant but you don’t have the cash? Contact your broker; they’ll find a business who is eager to take on new clients.
  • The better your broker knows what’s going on in your life and in your business, the more they’re able to quickly get hot deals in front of you that fit your needs.
  • Before you open your checkbook, check with your Saturn trade broker to see if they have an option in trade.
  • While the account is opened under your business name, you can use funds you’ve earned for both personal and business expenses. And Saturn Barter’s network represents thousands of businesses, promising a wide array of opportunities for you to save your cash.

Measuring Success in Trade (video time 7:43)

Just as you do with your cash expenditures and profits, measuring your barter account’s ROI is key to build strong business outcomes.

  • Each company has an average 10% capacity for new customers. Success within a barter exchange can take many shapes and forms, such as these four below.
  • Saturn Barter is an opportunity to form long-lasting partnerships that turn into cash clients. Tracking where referrals come from will help you gain a clear picture of the efficacy of your barter account in bringing in new cash clients.
    • PRO SATURN TIP: Take care of your Saturn clients so they’ll refer you to cash-paying customers.
  • Track cash-savings. This is the foundation of your Saturn Barter experience. What are you utilizing barter for that you would have used cash for? Understanding the power of your barter dollars and how they are saving you cash is a tool you can use in planning for your fiscal or calendar year financial goals.
  • Increase your budget in revenue-generating areas. By subcontracting services with your Saturn dollars on a project you lead, which then your client pays for in cash, means you’re saving cash on expenses and generating cash revenue.
  • Saturn Barter is a referral group of 2,500 members representing a wide variety of expertise. Being an active member of the exchange means you can build your network, creating an address book of local, national, and international businesses you can refer your customers to, thus enhancing their experience.
  • What are the gaps in your business? By identifying what you want and don’t have yet allows you to shorten those gaps utilizing your earned Saturn dollars. Saturn Barter supports business owner needs, such as vacation getaways, personnel bonuses, healthcare, HR resources, marketing, construction needs, personal services, and much more.
    • For instance, if your marketing budget is low, you can use Saturn to pay for graphic design, website build, printing services, digital marketing, print and digital advertising, copywriting, editing, etc. Then track the results of these projects to see how much cash those Saturn dollars have generated in client leads for your business.

Growth Opportunities (video time 13:10)

Everyone uses their currency differently, whether that currency is cash or trade. Some members prefer to spend their trade on personal expenses they wouldn’t otherwise be able to afford, and some prefer to focus in on the expansion of their business. Some of this depends on where a business is in terms of growth and establishment.

Case Study: A new business owner of an HVAC company joined Saturn Barter. Since he was new, he had a lot of extra appointment time. He traded his excess availability providing jobs on Saturn Barter.

He then used those earned trade dollars to access services and goods he needed but didn’t have cash capacity for. This member used his barter for things that supported his business, like vehicle wraps as a branding and marketing tactic. Where in the cash world, the excess time would go idle, in the barter world, this HVAC company received preferential choice for other members’ HVAC needs.

In the end, his Saturn expenditures on his business saved him $25,000 in cash and boosted him through his first year of business.

Business Planning (video time 16:28)

Yes, we’ve all sat down with a template business plan and inserted our intentions, goals, plans, competitive analyses, and more onto paper. And while some solid plans get updated and referred to regularly, many times, that document gets lost in a whirlwind of things-to-do once our business is off and running. But, is that really the best approach? Are there opportunities we miss by not being intentional about our business progress?

This same fervor for planning is lost for members after they’ve been in the exchange for a while. Utilizing their trade dollars often becomes reactionary for members. Instead of knowing at the beginning of the year that you’ll be utilizing your earned Saturn to replace old carpet in your office, schedule monthly cleaning, and bonus employees on their anniversary dates, members can sit on the dollars as they rack up.

PRO SATURN TIP: Plan for the future so your money works for you. What does the upcoming year hold for you? How about the next five? What are your goals and what do you need to achieve them? When you’ve outlined how you want to move forward, chat with your broker to give them a sense of solutions you need that they can find for you.

Here are just some ways our members plan and use their earned trade.

  • Long-needed vacations
  • Employee health benefits: dental, medical, optical
  • Website support and SEO management
  • Marketing and advertising
  • Building maintenance and projects
  • Office/restaurant/retail space cleaning
  • Employee bonuses in the form of Saturn Barter gift cards
  • Donations to charitable organizations
  • Leadership and team coaching
  • Accounting services
  • Printing
  • Maintenance of company vehicles

Hear it from a Saturn Barter member! (video time 19:45)

Jim of Kanon Electric has been a Saturn member since 2011 and leverages his earned Saturn successful through maintaining a consistent channel of communication with his Saturn Barter broker, Cat. The phone line runs both ways. Cat reaches out to him when something pops up, she knows Jim is looking for. When Jim needs something, he reaches out to Cat to help problem-solve.

Jim’s business, Kanon Electric, is a superstar Saturn Member. Some of the ways he’s been able to leverage his Saturn account include

  • donations to member non-profits, such as Tacoma Rescue Mission, Rebuilding Together South Sound, and American Red Cross;
  • employee bonuses of Saturn dollars they can spend at the annual Saturn Barter Holiday Shopping Expo;
  • travel and recreation;
  • business supplies and services, such as: printer toner, first aid kits, information technology services, building maintenance, landscaping;
  • and even Christmas shopping for friends, family, and employees.

Currently, Jim is remodeling a building at his business, in which he’s utilizing Saturn as much as possible. “There are a lot of opportunities in Saturn Barter,” says Jim.

Hear it from a Saturn Barter member! (video time 24:40)

At first, Doug of BAM Design thought he had to use all his trade for business expenses. It wasn’t until he shifted his perspective to utilizing earned Saturn on personal items that he was able to elevate his Saturn Barter experience and his life.

Doug put his business first and had forfeited his own comfort and house projects. He’d gone without a garage door opener for about 5 years. When he learned Saturn Barter had a garage door repair company available, he decided to take advantage. “It was such a self-esteem builder to fix things and get things done,” says Doug.

He went on to hire an electrician to complete repairs at home, then a tree trimmer for problematic trees on his property. After that, he hired a stump grinder. He got his wife’s car detailed, took good clients out to dinner as a Thank-You, purchased wine from Gingko Winery, and had his brakes repaired, all with the use of his Saturn Barter account.

“There are tons of ways to utilize your barter for both business and personal. I’d just encourage members to talk to their broker about their needs,” says Doug.

Advantages of Referrals to Saturn Barter (video time 3:55)

Members who join because of a referral from another Saturn Barter member tend to be strong members, eager to delve into the value of organized trade, provide services or goods to members. Members act as mentors to their referral, helping newbies navigate the system based on their own experience as a member.

Oh, and did we mention? Members receive a $100 trade bonus for referrals!

Saturn Barter Ambassador Program (video time 5:33)

While the one-time referral bonus is nice, we think our members want more. We’ll be launching the Saturn Ambassador Program for heavy-hitting member referrers and long-time loyal members. This program will provide members the opportunity to make additional bonuses for referrals who join, and a commission based on the number of trades their recruited members make.

Be sure to watch for upcoming announcements on the new Saturn Barter Ambassador Program!