Barter has an unlikely advocate – Nancy Lublin, the founder of Dress for Success and the current CEO (and as she likes to say, Chief Old Person) of DoSomething.org. In her recent book, Zilch: The Power of Zero in Business, Lublin urges business owners and corporate employees to think with the mindset of those in the non-profit sector – to start with zilch. Whether your business is starting with zero or has revenues with multiple zeros, Lublin believes that companies should think lean and mean, and she suggests that all business should asses their barter potential by asking the following questions:
1. Do you have excess inventory? Instead of marketing it down or warehousing it, is there someone out there who might need it for some other purpose?
2. Do you have extra space you are not using?
3. Are your people ever idle? What skills do they have that might be leveraged?
4. Are there companies nearby – even if they make baked goods and you’re an accounting firm – that you ought to talk to? Just sharing corporate pain points in casual conversation could lead to something.
5. Have you ever reached beyond your neighbors? Have you asked questions of your social networks, like LinkedIn?