With most people short on funds but not on skills and experience, bartering may be a way to increase people’s options.
This is not just related to professionals and people who are self-employed. I think we need extraordinary business innovation now.
And while I don’t like the way Amazon is taking over the world, at all, I also suspect that the way forward for many smaller businesses is to join Amazon. Because that is an option many still seem to have when all other options have dropped away.
This may mean that you need someone to do the digital stuff for you. That’s where you can barter. You have goods that you aren’t selling right now, after all, because you had to close up shop. Barter locally, and you’ll be supporting people around you and at the same time getting what you need without it costing you money.
Not everyone can do this. True.
But even if you have a hairdressing salon, you can start selling great hair care products online – you have them in stock, I bet – and teaching people how to do their own hair at home, for example. If you had a loyal customer base, you can work with those clients and offer them a great service.
They would much rather buy these products from you and learn from you than go to someone else, after all. And it means that you retain them as customers so that at some point in the future when you open up shop again, perhaps at a new location, those customers will know where to find you and come back to you. It’s not ideal. I know. But you gotta work with what you’ve got or start something entirely different.
And the people you barter with to do digital stuff, maybe you can trade a box of fancy shampoo and a box of fancy conditioner, luxury stuff that they might not normally buy but can perhaps use as Christmas gifts. Heck, ask them what they would like. Ask them what they might be able to use.
This may be a time, also, to go back to what we did before we had money. Coupons. Vouchers. IOUs. Promises.
Sally who was a great fisher would buy boots from John and vegetables from Karen. Sally might promise John to pay him back for his boots by giving him a kilogram of fish eventually. John might exchange that promise of fish for vegetables from Karen’s garden so that Karen would be the one to go to Sally for the kilogram of fish. Or that website design. Use your imagination!
(And build trust. Don’t let “we’re all in this together” be an empty slogan.)
(Locally, I saw that one establishment whose food I had been wanting to try for years has just closed. Damn. Not sure what happened, though. They’d been there for years, so they must have had a good enough customer base. Maybe one of the owners fell ill. Every time I walked by the place on my way to the supermarket, I felt like stepping in and getting some of their food, but I never did. The establishment looked so inviting and the smells emanating from it were enticing.)
This is also the time for white hats to do their thing and stop black hats and grey hats from ruining random people’s lives and grabbing chances they would never have had if it weren’t for the fact that most people have been forced to move their entire life online.