Bartering is on the rise these days, thanks to the sluggish economy. For the cash-flow dependent business, it�s a neat way to obtain products and services without losing any money. Bartering lets you customize your inventory by exchanging your unwanted items for stuff you actually need. And the World Wide Web has made trading products and services as simple as a couple of mouse clicks.

Simultaneously, bartering can be a pretty complex process. Getting the most bang for your buck requires you to know your stuff even before you begin.

Barter only for the business.
The majority of small business owners who barter usually take it too far in the beginning and use it for personal gain, such as apparel and medical treatment for their kids. Barter only to grow your business. Outline a plan to remind yourself what you�re looking for�and stay with it.

If you want to gain access to a larger audience, you should become a member of a trading organization specializing in barter exchanges. It works like this, you obtain a set number of credits for the products and/or services you want to exchange in order to get what you want. You�ll probably pay a membership fee and a percentage on each sale. Many exchanges are easily conducted over the Internet, even though transactions can still be handled over the phone or in person. Plus, exchange companies have brokers that help you smooth out the transactions as possible, offer their professional opinions, and brag about your name to other members.

If you don�t feel like joining an exchange organization, you can take a look at several other barter websites on the net. Usually you talk to other companies directly who are trying to trade their products and/or services. Most of them do not charge a membership fee.

Write up a contract.
This is a professional way to treat the transaction just like any other business exchange, with a contract detailing the terms and conditions. This is especially true in relaxed, personal arrangements, where, let�s say, a marketing company might exchange services with a web design company across the street. At minimum, include an outline of what type of work is being exchanged along with a due date.

Be ready to pay taxes.
The alphabet boys (IRS) consider anything you trade to be an actual cash transaction, so you have the file a 1099b form for any type of sale. Talk to your certified public accountant for more information.

Mix it up.
It doesn�t matter if you only need a small amount of products and/or services, it�s still a smart move to work with a barter organization or network with companies from various industries. Why? It means you�re expanding your awareness by working with resourceful organizations.

Watch out for potential pitfalls.
If an issues does arise � let�s say, a bad product or something doesn�t arrive � you have some helpful alternatives for you to work from. If you�re a member of an exchange organization, you can submit a complaint to your broker and ask them to take a look into it. Otherwise, you probably have to fight it out in court, just like you would with any cash transaction that goes south.