By definition, barter is the when parties swap services or resources. But in business terms, it’s an exchange that ends usually with everyone a winner. All parties involved in bartering hold onto their cold hard cash and don’t lose a cent. There’s no worries about getting ripped off as a buyer or seller, so it’s an exchange that’s high on trust, low on tension. And finally, the government doesn’t get its hands on any of the proceeds. Bartering is such a great system, it’s no wonder it’s been around nearly forever.
Historians and archeologists reckon that bartering is a human business practice for the ages. It goes back as far as written history, and perhaps even further into mankind’s (and womankind’s) history of business practices.
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Between humans, the actual business practice of money came long before money was born. History told us that, shepherds used cattle as a means of exchange—from sheep to cows, camels to goats. Then when farmers came along during the course of the next couple thousands of years, grains and plants became the hot commodity in the world of bartering.
Barter is not Disappear
Bartering may have dissipated over the years, but it by no means went away. That’s the amazing thing about bartering. It still is, to this day, the ideal method of business exchange for some business folk, including companies with millions in assets. But it’s especially helpful for small businesses looking to get a leg up on their competition.
Listen to people talking in today’s business world, and you’ll hear stories such as the programmer who helped to code an interactive Web page for a startup graphic-design company, in exchange for a logo design for his own startup surf-board design shop. Then there’s the story of the new Internet advertising firm rolling out an ad campaign for a restaurant. Later that year, the restaurant hosted a “free” party and dinner for that ad firm’s clients.