How To Start A Business With Little To No Cash

When money’s tight it’s hard to start and grow a business. But the good news is that you don’t need a lot of money (or any money at all for that matter) to build a business if you ‘barter’. You can barter to get everything you need for free or get a major discount on things you need.

Not everyone might have the skills or resources to trade for high-priced items, but you can definitely stretch your budget through bartering.

How does bartering actually work? Well it’s basically a trade of ‘you do this for me and I’ll do this for you’. Some examples of bartering for online business owners might be for a freelance writer to write content or articles for a web designer to create him a nice website.

If you have any skills that you could charge for, whether it’s copywriting, website design or consulting,  it’s amazing the kind of things you can trade with other website owners and marketers for. In the tough economy we’re all facing,  more and more ‘onlineers’ are doing barter exchanges in order to save dollars while still being able to grow their business. Maybe you’re next?

But let’s go back to the problem of how can you as an entrepreneur with limited skills barter for what you want or need for your business without spending a dollar out of your pocket, when you don’t have a product that is of equal value to trade? Here are seven tips to help that come from two successful Entrepreneurs, Traders and hosts of the new TV show ‘Barter Kings’ Steve McHugh and Antonio Palazzola.

  1. Leave your wallet at home. When you go to do a trade, don’t take (or mention you have) any cash with you. That way, you can’t be persuaded to add in a few extra hundred dollars to even out the trade. Simply say you have no cash available. It must be a straight trade or nothing. This can also work online or offline.
  2. Look for the soft spot. The pair chat up traders to find out why they’re selling. For instance, one trader needed to get rid of his son’s dirt bike because the boy had broken his leg, and his wife was mad. Another had made a vow to his wife not to ride motorcycles as long as they had kids at home, so the bike had to go. When you know the trader has to ditch their item, you’re in a stronger position to negotiate and trade them a slightly less valuable item.
  3. Be stoic. Never let a trader see you’re crazy hot to get an item. Stay impassive and act like you don’t care to make the best deal.
  4. Leave some mystery. When you’re listing an item to trade, don’t advertise all the details. Post a good photo, then leave it with a basic description so the prospect has to call you to find out more.
  5. Craigslist rules. Both hosts recommend the popular site as the top place to scan for trades. Not everyone posting on there will be savvy about how much their item is really worth, giving you an opening to potentially trade an item.
  6. Know your item’s value. You can’t come out on top in a deal if you’re not sure what both the item you’re trading and the one you’re getting are really worth. Often, traders will price items with sentimental value in mind or still have the original retail price in their heads, both of which are irrelevant to the resale market. Bring an experienced trader with you, or a smartphone for checking eBay to establish what this item is selling for today, in its current condition.
  7. Watch out for scams. There are plenty of shady traders out there, Palazzola says. If you smell something fishy, run the other way.

Bartering provides a great solution for business owners and entrepreneurs to get started or expanding it by getting what they want by trading.

What do you have that you can barter with? What skills or products can you trade?

Have you ever done a trade before to get something for your business? Leave a comment and tell us about your experiences with bartering!

To your success,

Stu Sensei

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