From the Associated Press

Bartering in the Modern Age

Erin Conroy

It may be the oldest business strategy in the world, dating back to prehistoric times.

Today, bartering can be a great way for a small business to either utilize free time during a slow cycle or dispose of excess inventory without taking a markdown on its balance sheet.

“The market right now is perfect for bartering, whether you’re a landscape artist, restaurant owner or a printing company,” said Bob Reiss, author of the recently published book, “Bootstrapping 101: Tips to Build Your Business with Limited Cash and Free Outside Help.”

Not only can a business benefit from exchanging goods and services for other goods and services without handing over precious cash, the swap can be good advertising if the other party is pleased with the trade. It’s also a great way to get full retail value for your product or service without having to discount the price.

While bartering can be done on a local or personal level, Reiss suggests using trade groups, like the International Reciprocal Trade Association, or online networks to facilitate the exchange. In some instances, products or services are designated value points that can be blended with cash for an even trade.

Reiss points out that while bartering transactions are taxable and should be reported to the Internal Revenue Service, your accountant will still applaud the healthier balance sheet and free-cash flow that can result.

This article appeared in over 85 media outlets. View the list.