Barter: A Growing Opportunity for St. Louis Businesses

Companies that are able to survive and make money in this economy often do so by finding new ways to add revenue and save on expenses. While “barter” is a term that goes back to primitive economies before currency, in the current economic environment barter is growing as a smart way for companies in many different industries to help move inventories, gain new customers and also save on purchases they make.

In fact, the International Reciprocal Trade Association, — an association that promotes “just and equitable standards” in modern bartering — reports that in the U.S., barter accounts for $12 billion in commerce annually – $12 billion worth of goods and services traded every year without currency changing hands.

As many small and medium-size companies are still struggling, bartering is helping many of them grow and conserve cash. Bartering has traditionally involved individuals or small groups reciprocally paying for goods or services with other goods and services: a dentist who provides services for the painter’s family in exchange for repainting his dental office. This type of reciprocal exchange has gone on forever.
Internet makes a national exchange possible

Today, just as the Internet enables buyers and sellers in every category to come together from across the globe, it has also made possible the growth of a national exchange to bring barter buyers and sellers together. It runs like a small bank in which members are paid in a common non-currency currency: “barter dollars,” which they can exchange with other members for goods and services.

Companies can generate trade dollars by selling excess inventory or other goods and services they have in exchange for barter dollars they can use for printing, advertising or promotional merchandise, things they would normally pay for with cash. A barter exchange offers a vast range of services, from doctors, lawyers, and accountants to electricians, plumbers, massage therapists, restaurant meals and entertainment.

The St. Louis Connection

It so happens that we have right here in St. Louis one of the most established barter organizations in the US. IMS Barter, which stands for International Monetary Systems, is the leading barter exchange in the US, and the St. Louis office has been active for over 30 years. One of the first offices in the network, it was formerly known as National Commercial Exchange. IMS is a publicly traded company with offices and barter opportunities in 40 US markets. Chances are that companies you know and do business with here are already members of IMS. And some of the best restaurants and entertainment venues in town are places where you can spend your barter dollars.

Once your business becomes a member of IMS Barter, you have access to the 16,000 other IMS member businesses across the country. You can begin listing products and services you want to sell through the IMS network, even your timeshare weeks. Plus, you’ll be able to view the other member businesses and start realizing ways you can save cash through trade.

Each member company is assigned a seasoned trade broker who acts as a personal sales and purchasing representative. If there is something that you cannot find on the marketplace, your trade broker is available to help, just like having your own personal shopper. IMS Barter strives to make leveraging your trade dollars quick and easy. Whether your need is business or personal, their international network of trade companies offers goods and services you need.

IMS provides the appropriate record keeping, and makes available to you an online account where you can view your sales and purchases 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. IMS will send you a monthly statement for your records, and even send the applicable IRS forms each year.

IMS is currently recruiting new members, and has extended offer to waive the $250 membership fee for readers of STL Business Magazine. To join IMS or learn more about how your company can benefit from the largest barter network in the US, you can call their office in the Westport area at 314-567-7890. Be sure to mention referral code STL321 to take advantage of this waiver of the membership fee. You can also learn more about IMS and join on their website. To take advantage of the waiver of membership fee, enter the referral code on the page that links from the tab Join Today.

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