One of our newest partners in the small business scene is Green Apple Barter, another Pittsburgh-based platform that connects small businesses from throughout the country. Since 1991, Green Apple Barter has used bartering to link over 10,000 small businesses to each other and strengthen the community while improving common issues in small business like cash flow.
The way that Green Apple Barter works is that if a business has excess of whatever good or service they provide, a broker connects with someone who’s looking for that service. Instead of earning cash, the small business earns barter currency that they in turn can use on some other small business’s offerings.
We talked with Paul Uhlemann, who is a broker at Green Apple Barter, about how bartering can be used not just as an alternative means of exchange, but also as a tool for networking and growing a small business. That sure sounds familiar to us!
Read on to learn more about Green Apple Barter, and how much they have in common with Honeycomb Credit!
Green Apple Barter and Honeycomb Credit are bringing old concepts into the present day!
Crowdfunding and bartering are actually both very old concepts embedded in the business world of many different cultures. Green Apple Barter and Honeycomb Credit take these systems and put their own unique twist on them, using modern technology.
For example, bartering has been used to exchange goods and services far before money ever existed, and dates back to at least 6,000 B.C.E! Even when currency became the mainstream means of exchange, bartering was used in times of little cash flow to keep transactions occurring.
“Bartering has never left,” says Paul. “Everybody has always done so. When I ask people if they've ever bartered before, almost everybody has, they've traded with somebody for something that they bought. And inevitably, that person will say well yeah it was a good idea but I'm not sure I got the right end of the deal.”
Paul notes that Green Apple Barter fixes that problem by creating its own barter currency within the platform. That way, dollar for dollar exchanges between small businesses on the platform can be used at the discretion of the small business owner, making sure that everyone can get a fair deal.
Crowdfunding, similarly, has existed for years, dating back to the 1700s, with the creation of the Irish Loan Fund, where wealthy patrons donated funds to capital projects to the poor populations of Dublin. Platforms such as Kickstarter and Indiegogo brought the concept into the 21st century by using a web-based system to collect funds from a large number of people.
Honeycomb is refreshing not only the historical use of crowdfunding, but also providing a unique twist on modern crowdfunding by offering regulated debt crowdfunding instead of gift or reward crowdfunding.
Both platforms create connections between small businesses
Another similarity between Honeycomb Credit and Green Apple Barter is that both platforms create connections in the small business community. When a small business crowdfunds using Honeycomb, they’re entered into a network of like-minded businesses that they can collaborate with. Green Apple Barter also connects small businesses through their barter system, providing a tool that connects them through their bartering currency.
Paul says that one of the benefits of using Green Apple Barter is that it can unlock new opportunities for small businesses through networking.
“I had a landscaper a long time ago, who just did lawn care, who got rid of his lawn care business, because he had gotten into land reclamation for oil wells. And that was an introduction that we put together for him,” says Paul. “So his business grew exponentially and he was able to stop being just the lawn boy and become a resource for large billion dollar corporations.”
He continues, “It’s very much a lot about networking, that you can take one step to the next person. The people that you're dealing with or are your customers are also all business owners, and everybody knows something.”
Green Apple Barter and Honeycomb Credit both free up cash flow
One issue that many small businesses have is having issues with liquid cash flow for their operations. When embarking on a growth project, like one which a Honeycomb crowdfunding campaign could help fund, having the capital readily available to make it happen is important to a small business.
Likewise, Bartering helps free up cash flow for small businesses by offering trades in services, so that the cash that a business might otherwise pay for something can be used elsewhere.
“Capital is always a question of whether or not a small business can do something,” says Paul. That being said, if a business has excess inventory, or space, or anything else capital might be tied up in, bartering that excess is a way of building a sort of alternative route to capital. “Sometimes their capital is tied up in their inventories. With us, you're using that inventory to capitalise.”
Both platforms create opportunities for small businesses to grow
The final similarity between Honeycomb Credit and Green Apple Barter is that both platforms provide resources for small businesses to grow beyond just the act of crowdfunding or bartering.
At Honeycomb, our unique blend of building marketing buzz, strengthening customer relationships, and raising capital has allowed small businesses to on average increase their year-over-year revenue by 60%. This is because crowdfunding helps businesses not just raise capital, but also get their name out there to new customers.
Green Apple Barter, similarly, helps grow the small businesses that work with them by connecting them to new business opportunities through bartering.
“You're getting new business, you're getting a new client that is willing to use their trade dollars that they've earned, and they'll pass up your competitors, as a way to get to you [through Green Apple Barter],” says Paul. So, not only does Green Apple Barter provide a means that you can attract new business using your margins, but it also is a way of directing potential customers to you over your competitors.
Think outside the box when it comes to your small business, and see how it grows!
Both Green Apple Barter and Honeycomb Credit offer unique services to small businesses - whether it’s in trading goods and services like Green Apple Barter or in crowdfunding capital projects like Honeycomb Credit.
Learn more about Honeycomb Credit’s crowdfunding opportunities at www.honeycombcredit.com/grow and fill out the form below for more information!