Just like tons of small businesses today, I started my graphic design business on less than a shoestring budget. The truth be told, I could hardly afford the shoes to use the shoestrings on. My shoestring budget looked more like a busted flip flop.
However, as I spent time with other business owners who were in the same startup boat as I was, I noticed a common theme. We all possessed a wealth of brain smarts (knowledge) in our particular area(s) of expertise. We just didn’t have the piles of money in our bank accounts to hire someone to fill in the gaps.
What we did eventually discover was that done correctly, we could barter our knowledge, skills and abilities amongst ourselves and rocket our businesses to the next level.
Just because you don’t have money to pay for someone else’s expertise, doesn’t mean you’ll end up starving your businesses of much needed help. You might find that your business can benefit from bartering for goods and/or services.
The premise behind bartering is to arrive at a mutually beneficial exchange without the need for cash.
Seek And You Will Find
Seek out people that specialize in whatever area you need to grow your business. Muster the strength, swallow your pride and just ask for help.
Take it from me, sometimes the hardest thing to do is to ask someone for help. And, take it from me too that the world won’t come to an abrupt fiery end once you do it.
Practice Makes Perfect
If you’re nervous about asking for help, practice on someone. Role play is great practice to get over nervousness and butterflies If you’re afraid you won’t know what to say, makes some notes for yourself if you get off track during your conversation. If you need more structure, write out a script tp read and elaborate from there.
Give Full Disclosure
Always make sure to make your intentions known up front. Remember, the person your talking to may have been in your shoes at one time or another. Most people appreciate honesty and being up front and honest about what you want to achieve makes you look like the professional you are.
Don’t Be An Askhole
During your conversation (or email, etc.), remember that your offer is a two-way street. Yes, you need help in some way but the other person needs to know what fantabulous skills and knowledge can offer in return.
Whatever you do, don’t come across as an askhole. You know, the type that just asks for everything under the sun and doesn’t even pause to take a breath.
Yes and Thank You
Lastly, no matter what the outcome is, thank the person you’ve been talking with for their time and understanding. I’m a firm believer in never burning a bridge so ending a conversation or business encounter on a positive note is always in your best interest.
And, if you’re lucky enough to have worked out a barter arrangement, congrats! Step up to the plate, give it your all and starting building your business.
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