I mentioned in a previous blog that sometimes there will be work that you don’t have the inclination, skills, time or intestinal fortitude to complete. That is not to say that any of those tasks are unnecessary or below you, they simply suck (from your perspective) or you can’t or won’t do them. I assure you there are other people that can help you with this.
Now before we get too far into this discussion and especially since I used the word “barter” in a previous post, it is critical to note that the IRS does see services received in a bartering agreement as taxable (Link: http://www.irs.gov/businesses/small/article/0,,id=187920,00.html) . There are a pile of sites that allow you to register to barter amongst groups and they have apparently served as a bountiful harvest of audit targets for the boys in DC. (Are the IRS types really in DC? I always assume yes though I know they are everywhere.) With that knowledge, I would tread lightly in formal arrangements like membership in a site like Barter Quest but I would get very friendly with my, um, friends.
Your friend group is a terrific place to get some lost cost assistance with everyday tasks. In addition to helping your friends learn more about what you do and possibly helping them serve as a source of leads and business, you also get a chance to complete tasks that are probably pissing you off.
Now again, I am not telling you to barter whole services unless you plan to report them per the guidelines discussed earlier, but I am saying that there are a number of tasks that can be accomplished by leveraging the people we know.
When does this matter?
All the time.
But if it shows as income or has to be reported, what is the advantage?
Well, cashflow for one. Small businesses (and many businesses) are constantly struggling for cashflow. By building relationships and leveraging them for services in a barter agreement, you can get things done faster and more efficiently and with more control over the reporting of the impact.
Beyond that, by working with your friends and peers in the industry you build a network. That network is where most of your business will come from. What better way to show people what you do and how good you are at it then actually performing for them?
The point of this post is to inform you of an easy way to get things done that you suck at. In doing that I found out that the IRS has an opinion on it so you should as well. I am not saying keep your mouth shut, I’m just saying use your head. Beyond the work getting done, the act of informing others about your skillset is the foundation of networking which is the foundation of sales. So if you have tasks like graphic arts, web design, promotional materials, accounting, bookkeeping hell, almost anything, think first to your closest network then start to increase that network. You will find kindred spirits, willing work partners and possible source for referrals which are the lifeblood of any business all the while controlling your cashflow.
Go forth and
barter um, partner.
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