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Amber Noakes, VP Marketing

Amber Noakes is the Marketing Manager at First Canadian Barter Exchange. She has over 16 years experience in the barter industry. She loves getting to know her clients and helping them use barter to get what they really want. She
also loves the outdoors, socializing, dining out and listening
to '90s music.

January 11th, 2017

Happy New Year! Wishing You a Healthy, Happy and Prosperous 2017

A big thank you to all of you for helping to make 2016 a great year! We were pleased to welcome many new members in a variety of categories including event services, trade show production, real estate, spa and beauty services, magazine advertising, limousine services, restaurants, marketing services, renovations, entertainment, auto repair services, photography, optical services, yoga, fitness training and more.

Last year, we hosted our second Small Biz Win Big Contest. Thanks to the generous support of our sponsors, we were able to present Nathallee K. Hartwell from The Massage Studio Whole Body Wellness with the grand prize - over $25,000 worth of goods and services designed to help her business grow. You can learn more about Nathallee and the contest at

We hosted some exciting events in 2016 including our Annual Trade Show, Christmas Open House, Dinner Cruise, Patio Party, Contest Launch Event and Small Business Celebration.

There were many notable trades, including a member who used $27,000 barter dollars to make a down payment on an investment property. Another member saved over $12,000 cash on his daughter's wedding by using barter dollars to pay for DJ services, photography, wine, tent rental, limousine services and more. Other popular products and services included advertising and marketing, renovations and restaurant certificates.

Throughout the year, we continued to expend our reach by building relationships with new and existing affiliates in Calgary, Victoria, Kelowna, Winnipeg and Toronto, among other locations.

As we look forward to the year ahead, we are excited to continue our journey with you and thank you for making barter and FCBE a part of your life and business.

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November 27th, 2016

Small Biz Win Big Contest:
We Have A Winner!

This month I had the pleasure of announcing the winner of our Small Biz Win Big Contest. On November 2nd, I presented Nathallee K. Hartwell from The Massage Studio with an award at our Small Business Celebration event at Famoso Neapolitan Pizzeria Guildford. As the contest winner, Nathallee now has $25,000 worth of prizes geared towards growing her business. It was a fantastic night where small business owners enjoyed some great networking, good times and delicious pizza.

There were many qualified business owners who entered the contest, and we'd like to thank everyone who participated, and of course our sponsors whose generous contributions made this contest possible.

Here’s a bit more about our winner: Nathallee was introduced to massage at a very young age through her mother, a massage professional and owner of a massage studio in Manitoba. After her own experience with life trauma and stress, she was inspired to open a massage practice of her own 6 years ago. Her focus is on mental and emotional health through the use of aromatherapy massage.

Nathallee graduated as a professional counsellor, is a Reiki Master, and has classical massage, Psychosomatic Therapy, and Forgiveness Coaching certifications. Besides massaging and caring for people, Nathallee has an insatiable passion for educating others. She is also committed to continuing her own education and expanding her business by completing her RMT (Registered Massage Therapy) training and opening a second clinic. She is currently working alone but looks forward to adding staff to her business. She has earned several best massage in Vancouver awards.

We, along with our sponsors, look forward to working with Nathallee and helping her business to grow and flourish.

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October 18th, 2016

Today’s Blog Post is courtesy of barter member, Patrick von Pander from The Big Picture Coach.

The Top 10 Time-Saving and Focus-Building Tips

Finding yourself overwhelmed and short on time? These ten tips will provide you with extra minutes and renewed focus.

  1. Create a "Frequently Asked Question" page for your company, website, family or community organization.
    Do you find that people ask some of the same questions again and again? By posting a "Frequently Asked Question" page, you will be able to answer questions quickly and reduce frustration.
  2. Establish a firm "Worst In/First Out" Policy.
    Each morning, make a list of your most undesirable tasks, and knock them out quickly. Make time on your schedule for this one activity every morning before the day gets moving.
  3. Make a list of everything you wish to accomplish in the next hour with wildly colored markers.
    By using large pieces of paper or poster board and wildly colored markers, you will find a new surge of energy in tackling your tough tasks.
  4. Stand Up!
    Spend 1 hour each day standing up to return phone calls, hold quick meetings, or work on your computer. The motion will speed up the process AND you will find you that this new posture will break the boredom and create a surge of energy.
  5. Let other people run with your ideas.
    Delegating a new idea or project to others will add new life and new knowledge to an idea that may have you stuck and falling behind. Don't fall into the trap of "I have to do it all," or "I have to be it all."
  6. Keep a stone or small glass object on your desk as a point of focus. When your mind becomes cluttered, pick up the object, take ten deep breaths, and let your mind focus only on the object. This activity will clear the mind, allowing you to regain focus.
  7. Be selective about who you hang out with. Are you hanging out with people who are procrastinating, and who have a longer "to do" list than you do? If so, start spending time with people who can really "get the job done." The motivation of others can pull you forward with lightning speed.
  8. Create templates for messages that you send over and over again.
    If you find yourself answering the same e-mail multiple times, set up a template that can be forwarded. With a few simple changes, you will save yourself minutes, which can add up to hours.
  9. Don't gossip.
    Gossip can cause a lack of productivity, negative talk and thinking, and can slow down the completion of a project. Send the message to others that you have a "no gossip" policy, and stick with it!
  10. Be devoted to a life of updating your skills.
    The more you know, the more confident you will be, the quicker you will be able to make decisions.

Patrick von Pander, BBA, CRGCT is a business coach, trainer and speaker. He has been in business for 30 years and has helped businesspeople in more than 1000 organizations across a broad spectrum of industries. Visit for more information on how he can help you and your business achieve more.

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August 30th, 2016

8 Ways to Inspire Customer Loyalty

I think most people would agree that it is more cost effective to retain a current customer than to acquire a new one. In fact, some sources say that it costs between 4 and 10 times more to acquire a new customer than it does to keep an existing one.

While these numbers may vary by industry, they demonstrate that while striving to attract new business is important, it is also important to acknowledge and strengthen our relationships with existing customers.

Here are 8 ways to build relationships and inspire customer loyalty:
(For barter members: The things in green can be obtained using your barter dollars.)

  1. Host Events – Theses can be free customer appreciation events, or events where there is a small charge to cover the cost of things like the venue. The main thing is that you are creating an environment where customers can connect, develop friendships, generate business and create memories.
  2. Provide Education - Help your customers’ businesses flourish by providing them with education, not just on how to use your product or service, but on other relevant topics as well. This education can come in the form of live presentations, webinars, blog posts, etc. You may want to consider bringing in a guest speaker or sales trainer, or hiring a blog writer, if these are not your specialties.
  3. Get to Know Your Customers One-On-One – Take the time to really get to know your customers. Go for lunch or a coffee. Look for common interests. Learn about their dreams and aspirations.
  4. Keep in Touch – Use an e-newsletter, social media or text message marketing to stay top of mind. Above all, don’t be afraid to pick up the phone and give your customers a call. While mass marketing is good, personal communication is important to really learn what is going on with your customers and make that personal connection.
  5. Use Social Media – Social media is a great way to connect with your customers on a more personal level. Learn about their interests and find new ways to make connections online and off.
  6. Be Authentic - People want to buy from people they know, like and trust. Share something personal in your newsletters such as something about your family or hobbies.
  7. Help a Good Cause – If you see that one of your customers is holding a fundraiser or supporting a cause that you believe in, make a contribution. Your contribution could be monetary, a door prize or auction item, or you could donate your time by helping out or sharing the event on social media.
  8. Give a Gift – Everyone loves getting a gift. Whether it’s a restaurant certificate, comedy club pass, spa service, business book or even just a card. Show your customers that you care not just on special days like their birthday, but anytime. Sometimes an unexpected gift is the best.

Above all, let your customers know that you care and keep the channels of communication open. Your customers can provide you with a wealth of information on how to continue to meet and exceed their needs and, if anything goes wrong, they will be more likely to come to you and allow you to rectify the situation instead of taking their business elsewhere.

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July 5th, 2016

Using Barter Dollars to Buy & Sell Real Estate

With Vancouver’s hot real estate climate, it’s more and more challenging to get into the real estate market, and while finding a property in Vancouver with a barter component may be unlikely, there are other great options to use barter dollars to purchase real estate and get on the property ladder.

One such opportunity exists in Merritt. There is a real estate group which owns 7 townhomes and is using barter as a way to attract potential buyers. These 3-bedroom, positive cash flow townhomes are being offered for $125,000, with $25,000 of that payable in First Canadian Barter dollars. They are currently rented and can even come with rental protection and property management services if desired.

This isn’t the only opportunity to use barter dollars to purchase real estate. 7 km west of Sun Peaks Mountain Resort, 6 acres of land in a picturesque valley is being offered for $199,000, with 40% of that payable in barter dollars. A lot in New Brunswick, upon which you can build 2 dwellings, is also for sale for $25,000, with 50% accepted in barter dollars.

For sellers, accepting payment in barter dollars allows them to attract new buyers that they wouldn’t have found otherwise, and it makes their properties more attractive compared to others on the market. Last month a 4-plex in New Brunswick was sold for $138,000, with $27,600 accepted in barter dollars. The seller was able to free up the cash he had tied up in the property so he could pursue another opportunity. The buyer was able to purchase a property that generates cash flow. She is also looking forward to taking advantage of the New Brunswick government grant that contributes up to $25,000 per door to revitalize older properties.

John Madsen has been involved in barter for many years and has used barter in more than 100 real estate transactions involving land, mainly in rural BC. John was able to pick up properties using barter dollars during the ‘80s when interest rates spiked and people wanted to unload their recreational and holding properties. Several years ago, he sold a property near Shuswap Lake to a computer repair company that belonged to First Canadian Barter Exchange.

Timeshares are another form of deeded real estate that can be purchased on barter. Over the years, many First Canadian Barter Exchange members have purchased timeshares in various locations including Mexico, Hawaii and Arizona.

Even in a hot market, there are still barter opportunities if you look for them. First Canadian Barter Exchange also has realtors, mortgage brokers, architects, renovation companies, movers, cleaning companies and many other members that will help you to reduce the costs associated with buying and selling real estate. The key is being creative and keeping in touch with your barter broker.

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May 28th, 2016

5 Creative Ways to Use Barter Dollars

Here are some great ways to use barter dollars that you may not have thought of.

  1. Run a contest. Attract new customers or encourage customer behaviour (sending referrals, posting reviews, etc.) by having a contest. Purchase prizes such as limo services, car detailing, restaurant certificates, spa services and more using your barter dollars.
  2. Give a staff member a raise. Maybe you?d like to reward a member of your team with a raise but can?t afford to do so just yet. Why not set up an employee account for them and pay them in barter dollars? It?s free for your employee to use, and there?s no extra cost to you. You can give them some barter dollars each pay period and they can purchase whatever they like from other members of the exchange.
  3. Pay a non-member. Perhaps you?d like to hire a friend to paint your house. Did you know that you can set up a sub account and pay him in barter dollars? There is no cost to the sub account holder and no extra cost to you, however; the sub account holder can only earn barter dollars from you. In order to start receiving business from other barter members, your friend would need to set up a regular barter account.
  4. Invest in Real Estate. If you have an interest in real estate investing, let your broker know. We have sold timeshares on barter, and have had members use barter dollars as a down payment on properties in BC and other parts of Canada.
  5. Help a Good Cause. Donate barter dollars to charities that belong to the barter exchange. Not only will you be helping those in need, you can also get a tax break for doing so. You can also donate barter dollars, or products purchased using barter dollars, to your favourite charity, church group or other organization.

What is the most creative way you?ve used barter dollars? We?d love to hear from you.

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April 20th, 2016

How Barter Changed the Way I Do Business
Ilya Goldman, Internet Exposure

Ilya Goldman

Before barter, whenever I wanted to do something, I?d check the balance in my company?s bank account. I was just starting my web design and hosting business and I was operating on a tight budget. I had lots of ideas and skills, but not a lot of cash flow.

I met Amber from First Canadian Barter Exchange at a breakfast meeting and joined the barter exchange soon after. I liked the idea of being part of a community and it seemed like a good way to grow my business.

Soon after I joined, I started getting clients referred to me. These new clients paid for my services using barter dollars. My first barter customers were a cleaning company and an auto repair shop. More barter sales followed. Because clients use my services on an ongoing basis, I now had barter dollars coming into my account every month.

I realized that simply banking my barter dollars wouldn?t do any good, I needed to use them. One of the first things I bought was dental work worth around $700. Since then, I?ve used barter dollars to pay for all sorts of things, including furniture, spa services, entertainment, restaurant certificates and holidays for my family.

I?ve also used barter dollars to pay for printing services, business coaching, tickets to networking events and a New West Chamber of Commerce membership. By investing barter dollars in things like these, I?m able to use barter dollars to grow my cash business. On average, I do about $9000 in barter business per year.

A lot has changed since I joined First Canadian Barter Exchange back in 2001. There are now over 600 local barter members, as well as barter affiliates across North America; and I went from having a new company to running an established, successful business.

The way I do business has changed, too. Instead of paying for something using a cheque or credit card, I use barter as often as possible. When I want something for the business, like printing or marketing, or when my wife wants to buy something for the kids, my first thought is ?Can we get it on barter??... And a lot of times, the answer is ?Yes.?

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February 18th, 2016

Chance to Win Over $20,000 in Prizes
PLUS Free Networking Event

money tree

I?m really excited about today?s blog post because I get to tell you about our new SMALL BIZ WIN BIG contest! With the help of our sponsors, we are giving away over $20,000 in prizes (and the total is growing) to a lucky small business owner. The contest is open to all Lower Mainland small business owners and can be entered online at

This contest was created to support our local small business community. When you look at the statistics, the odds of creating a successful business are against you, yet we work with hundreds of amazing business owners, all doing their part to support their families, follow their dreams and drive our local economy.

The grand prize is comprised of things that make a business owner?s journey to success a little bit easier. There is an educational component, advertising opportunities, a trademark package, a LOCO BC membership, accounting support, a competitive analysis report, a website, a banner, printing, help with email marketing, a professional headshot and more. There are also five bonus prizes worth over $250 each. Full details here.

This is the second time we are hosting this contest. Our last winner was Julie Beyer from For the Love of Food and here is what she had to say:

?Winning the last Small Biz Win Big contest was a great experience. I was able to trademark my company, get my accounting organized and discover new tools for growing my business. Winning such a variety of different services and products has been a great boost for my business.?

Wait? there's more:

On March 3rd, we are hosting a networking event to launch the SMALL BIZ WIN BIG contest. Join us at Spacekraft at 201 - 4501 Kingsway, Burnaby (Kingsway & Willingdon) from 6pm to 8pm and meet other business owners in a relaxed environment that features speakers, speed networking and a great chance to connect. The first 40 tickets are free, so just email us at if you?d like to attend.

If you?d like to help, please share with all the small business owners you know. We are also still accepting new sponsors, so if you have a service or product that you?d like to contribute to the contest, we?d love to hear from you. We are so pleased to have so many amazing companies that are sharing their time and resources to make this contest a success. Let?s all work together to help a small business owner WIN BIG.

Do you have a comment or want to contribute to our Blog?
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January 11th, 2016

Happy New Year! Wishing you all the best of
Health, Happiness and Prosperity for 2016!

People Networking

A big thank you to all of you for helping to make 2015 a great year! We were pleased to welcome new members in a variety of categories including electrical services, plumbing, appliance repair, spa services, health, fitness, office space, restaurants, entertainment, media, marketing, graphic design, photography, accounting, social media, driving instruction, jewellery, fashion design, carpet cleaning, storage, art, events and accommodations.

Gift Card

We hosted some exciting events including our Annual Trade Show, Christmas Open House, Dinner Cruise, Members? Mixer and Barter 101 Workshop. We also held barter sales at Flying Fashions and Pacific West Perennials.

Some of the most popular items purchased on barter during 2015 were repairs & renovations, accounting services, printing, advertising (radio, print, billboards), marketing services, automotive repairs and restaurant meals.

During 2015, we continued to work with SEEDS, the Self Employment & Entrepreneur Development Society, and were asked to speak about barter at VBN, the Vancouver Business Network. We also joined forces with LOCO BC, an organization dedicated to helping local businesses. In addition, we continued to work with barter exchanges across Canada and the US, most notably those in Victoria, Kelowna & Calgary.

We thank you again for making 2015 a success and look forward to an exciting 2016!

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December 15th, 2015

40 Holiday Gifts You Can Buy with Barter Dollars

Gift Card

With Christmas just around the corner, I?m looking forward to spending time with family and friends. What I?m not looking forward to is fighting my way through busy shopping malls in search of the perfect gifts.

Fortunately, there are lots of great gifts that can be purchased using barter dollars. Shopping using your barter dollars not only helps you save your hard-earned cash, it also saves you time and helps you to avoid the shopping mall madness.

Here are 40 Great Gifts you can purchase using barter dollars:

  1. Spa Gift Certificate
  2. Jewellery
  3. Gift Baskets
  4. Bed & Breakfast Gift Certificate
  5. Gym Membership
  6. Personal Training
  7. Yoga Gift Card
  8. Kickboxing/Martial Arts Classes
  9. Acupuncture or Facial Treatment
  10. Cranial Sacral Therapy
  11. Stop Smoking Session
  12. Orthotics
  13. Hair Salon Gift Certificate
  14. Tattoo Gift Certificate
  15. Oil Change Certificate
  16. Car Detailing
  17. Restaurant Certificate
  18. Pet Supplies
  19. Dog Training
  20. Dry Cleaning Gift Certificate
  21. Home or Office Organizing
  22. Framing Gift Certificate
  23. Original Art
  24. Portrait Made from Your Photo
  25. Handcrafted Pottery
  26. Glassware/Tableware
  27. Internet Tablets
  28. Kids? Activity Sets
  29. Kids? Educational CDs/DVDs
  30. Indoor Beach Party Certificate
  31. Trampoline Park Pass
  32. Golf Lessons
  33. Driving Lessons
  34. Voice Lessons
  35. Piano Lessons
  36. Art Lessons
  37. Engraved Awards
  38. Mobile Manicure & Pedicure
  39. Wine Making
  40. Massage Certificate

Gift Certificates and a number of products will be available at our open house from 5pm to 8pm on Thursday, Dec 17th. Join us at our office in Surrey for refreshments and holiday cheer. Please RSVP: 604.759.3223.
Located at #225 - 13711 72 Ave., Surrey.

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November 4th, 2015

Barter Your Way to Better Health

Just because good health is priceless, that doesn?t mean it?s free.

While there are many free or cost effective things you can do to maintain good health ? make healthy food choices, go walking or running, take time to relax or meditate? sometimes the services of a professional are required. Unfortunately, not all health-related services are covered by MSP and many small business owners don?t have extended health plans.

That is where barter can help. Using barter dollars to pay for health-related expenses is a great way to improve your quality of life, without the financial burden of having to dish out cash. Barter dollars are earned when barter members provide their services or sell their excess inventory to other barter members. In effect, barter members are able to turn their excess capacity into the things they need, including healthcare services.

So what types of health-related services can be bartered? Quite a few: Acupuncture, naturopathic consultations, personal training, yoga and fitness club memberships, massage services, reiki, hypnotherapy, optometry, cranial sacral therapy and even some health products, like orthotics, can be bartered.

Some members also use barter dollars to pay for health-related services for their staff. After all, investing in your health ? and the health of your employees ? is one of the best investments you can make.

Do you offer a health-related service? Consider barter as a way to generate extra business. Do you need health services, or want a cost-effective way to provide them to your employees? Drop me a line:

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October 21st, 2015

5 Ways to Know if Barter is Right for You

Have you been thinking about joining a barter exchange and wonder if it?s right for you?

There are many benefits to a barter membership. You can get new customers, improve your cash flow, make business connections, and buy things without having to spend cash. However, barter isn?t for everyone. Here are 5 ways to know if barter is right for you:

  1. Do you have room for more clients in your schedule?
    Want to fill more billable hours? If you are booked months in advance, now may not be the time for barter. However, if you have a service based business that is looking for more clients, barter is worth considering.
  2. Do you have excess capacity?
    Do you have a hotel, bed & breakfast, timeshare or other rental space that is not fully booked? Barter is an excellent way to generate income from a resource that would otherwise go to waste. The same holds true for media ? if you have a newspaper or radio show that could use more advertisers, barter could be the answer.
  3. Do you have excess inventory?
    Are you a retailer, wholesaler or distributor with inventory you?d like to move? Maybe you have samples, seasonal items or slow moving stock. Barter is a great way to sell these items at regular retail prices instead of discounting.
  4. Do you have places to spend the barter dollars you earn?
    If you are interested in joining a barter exchange, have a look at the other members in the system to see where you can spend your barter dollars. The size of the network is important, but it?s not the only consideration. Spend time with a barter representative who can show you what is available and how it can relate to your business and personal needs. Check out the variety of items available on barter and consider joining the hundreds of barter members who are saving thousands of dollars in cash.
  5. Are you ready to participate?
    Your success in barter, like your success in anything, involves your desire to take action and consistently participate. If you are ready to explore a new world of sales and savings opportunities, join us on October 29th and learn more at our Barter 101 Workshop. The event is free and there is no obligation. Come join us, enjoy some refreshments, and learn how modern barter is changing the way the world does business.

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October 7th, 2015

20 Ways to Spend Barter Dollars

Being part of a barter exchange is an amazing way to build your business: You are able to make new connections, increase your sales, and conserve your cash.

One of the best ways to be successful with barter is to really incorporate it into your day-to-day life by spending barter dollars instead of cash whenever possible.

Here are 20 Ways to Spend Barter Dollars (and Keep Your Cash!):

  1. Repairing & Maintaining Your Vehicle
  2. Taking Clients Out for Lunch
  3. Printing Your Business Cards and Flyers
  4. Paying a Virtual Assistant
  5. Getting Your Bookkeeping or Taxes Done
  6. Rewarding Your Staff with Barter Bonuses
  7. Rewarding Loyal Customers with Gift Certificates You Bought on Barter
  8. Updating Your Website
  9. Paying for Advertising and Marketing
  10. Hiring a Blog Writer or Social Media Marketer
  11. Having Business or Family Photos Taken
  12. Making Wine to Give Out as Door Prizes
  13. Getting Your Carpets Cleaned
  14. Having Renovations Done
  15. Getting Your Hair Cut
  16. Paying for Your Kid?s Birthday Party
  17. Taking Your Pet to the Vet
  18. Going to the Gym or Yoga Studio
  19. Taking Care of Your Health (Naturopath, Acupuncture, etc.)
  20. Taking a Holiday

Want to know where YOU could use barter dollars instead of cash? ?Tick the Boxes? at to find out. Submit the form for a free review of your business?s barter potential.

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Sept. 18th, 2015

I like CASH. Why should I accept barter dollars??
Learn 5 ways accepting barter dollars
can improve your bottom line.

Man sitting with cash sticking out his pocket.

I?ve been in the barter industry for approximately 18 years. Over that time, I?ve heard all sorts of questions about barter. One thing I sometimes hear is: ?I like CASH. Why should I accept barter dollars??

While I understand the logic, this comment suggests you need to choose either barter dollars OR cash. Let?s look at it another way: How about barter dollars AND cash?

Here?s what I mean. We recommend barter to companies that have excess capacity or surplus inventory; for example, a hair stylist who has spots in her calendar that aren?t filled with clients, or a hotel that has vacant rooms. These businesses are ALREADY earning cash from their existing clients, but they have excess capacity for which they are currently earning NOTHING.

Why let time pass and lose out on the barter dollars you could be earning? You are already earning cash from your regular customers; why not earn some barter dollars as well?

The same goes for businesses with excess inventory. We have a blueberry farm and a nursery that accept barter dollars. When inventory is perishable, why not accept barter dollars as an ADDITIONAL source of revenue? In addition, when you accept barter dollars, you don?t need to discount your pricing. For example, if you sell clothing, you can sell your clothing samples to barter members at regular retail prices, instead of to a liquidator for pennies on the dollar.

In summary, here are 5 ways accepting barter dollars can improve your bottom line:

  1. You can earn extra revenue you wouldn?t otherwise have.
  2. You can sell excess inventory for barter dollars at regular retail pricing.
  3. You can use barter dollars to buy things you?d normally spend cash on, leaving you with more cash in your pocket.
  4. You can generate more sales by spending your barter dollars on advertising or marketing that you may not have the cash budget for.
  5. You can use barter dollars to outsource tasks you?d rather not do, leaving you free to do things that generate income for your business.

And the BONUS #6: Barter customers can be an excellent source of cash referrals.

Do you have any examples of how barter has helped your business? We?d love to hear them and include them in an upcoming blog post.

Do you have a comment or want to contribute to our Blog?
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August 26th, 2015

7 Reasons to Hire a Business Coach

Business Coaching

Have you ever considered hiring a business coach? Are you using one right now?
If not, I encourage you to have a look at these 7 Reasons to Hire a Business Coach and see if a coach could make a difference in your business.

  1. 1. You need help building your team.
    Did you know that a business coach can help you to define not only your ideal client but also your ideal employee? Not only that, a coach can help you to improve your leadership and communication skills and create a stronger team.
  2. You need to increase profits.
    If your business is facing a downturn, or you?re looking for ways to increase profits, consider hiring a business coach. Sometimes we are too close to our businesses to see things objectively and a third party can help us to see more clearly what needs to be done. A coach can draw upon their experience and training to suggest options you may not have thought of.
  3. You have hit a plateau.
    Do you remember when you were excited about going to work each day? A business coach can help you to re-ignite your passion for your business by helping you to connect with what is important in your business and your life. By working together and setting exciting yet realistic goals, you will be able to gain momentum and get your spark back.
  4. You want to be held accountable.
    A business coach will not only help you to define your goals, they will hold you accountable. This is especially helpful for solopreneurs who don?t have a team to check in with.
  5. You?re looking for fresh ideas.
    A business coach is a great person to brainstorm with about your business. They can also suggest books on relevant topics, and recommend exercises that will get your creative juices flowing.
  6. You have LOTS of ideas and don?t know where to start.
    A coach can help you bring your creativity to order and help you put together an action plan with specific targets and objectives. Now you?ll have a framework to make sure your ideas come to fruition.
  7. You need help prioritizing.
    It?s important to spend time on marketing and sales activities, but it?s easy to get overwhelmed with day to day tasks and put these things on the back burner. A coach will help you carve out time to focus on the important aspects of your business that often get pushed to the sidelines.
People having meeting with business coach

Can you relate to any of these situations? Most coaches provide a free initial consultation so you can learn about one another and see if you?d like to proceed with working together.

BTW: If you are a barter member, there are a number of coaches that I can recommend who accept barter dollars and are happy to offer a free consultation.

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July 31st, 2015

5 Ways to Generate More Referral Business

Generate More Referrals

Everyone loves getting referrals. I know I do! When a prospect comes to you by referral, there is a pre-established sense of trust which makes for an easier sale and a great start to your business relationship.

So why do so many business owners invest large amounts of time and money trying to attract ?cold? prospects while ignoring the vast amount of referral business they could be tapping into?

While I don?t have the answer to that question, I do have 5 Ways to Generate More Referral Business:

  1. Be Referral Worthy. If you want referrals to be a major source of new business, you need to make sure your business is referral worthy. What can you do to create a memorable experience for your customers? What do your customers value, and how can you provide this in a way that your competitors don?t? Going that extra mile will turn happy customers into raving fans who will want to tell their friends about you.
  2. Choose Your Referral Partners. There are many potential referral sources: current customers, people in complementary industries or even people in the same industry whose client base is slightly different from yours. Who are your best customers? Who can put you in touch with the types of people/companies you want to attract?
  3. Make It Easy. You are busy, so are your referral sources. Make it easy for them to refer you. Consider writing an email that they can forward to their contacts talking about your company. It should be written from your customer?s perspective and give a few reasons why they like dealing with you and how it could benefit their contacts. In most cases, the purpose of the email isn?t to complete a sale; it?s to open the door to a conversation between you and the prospect, so keep this in mind when writing the copy. Ask to be cc?d on the email, and for them to mention that you are being cc?d in their message. This gives you the recipient?s email address and permission to follow up with an email of your own.
  4. Host Events. Invite your customers and referral partners and encourage them to bring potential clients along. People love events that include food & drinks. You may want to have an open house or networking mixer, or perhaps something more intimate such as a small lunch or dinner for select referral partners and their guests.
  5. Offer Incentives. While receiving a referral commission may not necessarily be what motivates people to send referrals, it is good to offer something to show your appreciation. Depending on the amount of your referral fee, a gift certificate for something they can experience may be more impactful than a commission cheque.

PS: It is only a referral when the prospect is expecting your call. Otherwise it is still a cold call. Talk to your referral sources and ask them to introduce you by phone or email so their referral is expecting to hear from you.

Do you have any referral tips? Send them along. We?d love to hear what?s working for you.

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July 17th, 2015

Top 6 Ways to Get More Done

Get Organized and Accomplish More

Over the past few weeks, I?ve been encountering lots of tips on productivity. Is there a trend, or is the universe trying to tell me something? Here are a few of my favourites that I think you?ll like:

  1. 1. Remember the 80/20 Rule. 20% of what we do generates 80% of our results. Take a look at what you?re spending time on and try to focus more on the 20%. What are you doing now that isn?t that important and could be put on the back burner, or deleted altogether?
  2. Delegate More. Are you spending time on basic tasks that someone else in your organization could handle? Are you working on things outside of your skill set that could be done faster and more efficiently by someone else? By trying to do everything yourself in order to save money, you could be losing money in the long run by not focusing on what?s really important to growing your business.*
  3. Forget about the Long To-Do Lists. At the end of the day, choose 5 or 6 of the most important things you?d like to accomplish the following day. When we try to prioritize too many things, we end up not prioritizing anything at all. I still keep a To-Do List, with many items, but I try to select my top 5 priorities each day.
  4. Create Time Blocks. Block off time in your day to focus on specific tasks. Block the time off in your calendar and treat it like any other appointment.
  5. Create Small Milestones to Create Momentum. When a task is large, it?s easy to put it off and instead work on smaller tasks that give you more instant gratification as you complete them. By breaking a large task up into manageable chunks, you?re able to achieve a feeling of accomplishment and stay motivated. Here?s a great article that demonstrates this point:
  6. Take Breaks. It?s easy to get wrapped up in what you?re doing but it?s important to take breaks to maintain your effectiveness. Have a cup of tea, do some stretches, walk around the block ? then get back to work feeling reenergised.

*If you?re a barter exchange member, think about using barter dollars to hire others who can help decrease your workload. We have bookkeepers, executive and virtual assistants, social media specialists and lots more. Plus we have great business coaches who can provide many more productivity tips ? and help you to implement them.

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July 2nd, 2015

Did you know that for every $100 spent with a BC local business, $46 is re-circulated back into our BC economy (vs. $18 for multi nationals)?

Buy Local

Here are some more great reasons to buy local:

  • BC local businesses create more than double the economic impact of their chain competitors by re-circulating 2.6 times more revenue in the local economy than chains
  • Local retailers re-circulate 45% compared to 17% for chains
  • Local restaurants re-circulate 65% compared to 30% for chains
  • Local suppliers (ex. office supplies) re-circulate 33% compared to 19% for chains
    More details are available at

On that note, First Canadian Barter Exchange is proud to announce that we will be working with LOCO BC, as we share a common goal of promoting and supporting local businesses.

LOCO BC is a non-profit local business alliance working to strengthen communities, grow the local economy and build strong, sustainable businesses by encouraging a shift in local purchasing by consumers, businesses and institutions/government.

At First Canadian Barter Exchange, we promote local spending by encouraging members to spend within our local network, and providing financial solutions and marketing support to small businesses.

Join us in supporting our local community by shopping at local businesses and consider joining LOCO BC.

To learn more, visit FCBE members can purchase LOCO BC memberships using barter dollars.

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June 8th, 2015

Modern vs. Traditional Barter

I meet people all the time - at networking events, family gatherings, in the supermarket, etc. The conversation often includes the old standby of small talk ?What do you do?? When I tell them I run a barter exchange, more often than not, their next comment includes livestock. I?m not sure why, but people who aren?t familiar with modern barter seem to associate bartering with the trading chickens, cows or other animals.

Having said that, let?s get talk about Traditional vs. Modern Business Barter:

Traditional Barter

  • Involves 2 parties trading goods or services between them
  • Interested parties must find someone who has what they want, and is also interested in what they have to offer in return
  • It helps if items or services are required at the same time
  • Goods or services must have equivalent value
  • There is no cost involved in participating in this type of trade (other than the time it takes to find someone interested in trading with you)

Modern Barter

Diagram of How Modern Barter Works
  • Involves member companies that are interested in trading and a barter exchange, which facilitates the transactions
  • Products or services are sold in exchange for barter currency (a barter dollar is a virtual currency equivalent to $1 CAD in value)
  • Barter dollars earned by one member can be used to purchase goods or services from any other member Barter currency can be banked and used at any time
  • Barter members are listed on a website (unless they prefer to be kept confidential and broker-managed)
  • Barter members are promoted in newsletters, emails and through word-of-mouth by barter brokers
  • There is a small cash transaction fee on each barter transaction and a monthly fee paid to the barter exchange
  • A membership fee may or may not be charged.

Over the years, barter has come a long way, from a necessity for survival, to a powerful tool that helps businesses generate more sales and reduce their cash expenses.

Curious if modern business could work for your business? Have an interesting barter story? I?d love to hear from you

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May 20th, 2015

Combining Networking and Traditional Advertising

People Shaking Hands

Last Wednesday I attended a networking lunch. I met some interesting people and ended up sitting next to a realtor. We had a short conversation, exchanged business cards and went our separate ways. It was a pleasant interaction, typical of those we make every day at various networking functions.

The next day I was driving along 96th Avenue, a route I have taken many times. To my surprise, whose face did I see on the bus stop bench? You guessed it; it was the realtor from the networking event. Now, as I mentioned, I?d driven down this street many times and in hindsight, his ad wasn?t new. The difference was this time there was a connection. Because we met networking, I noticed the ad; and because I noticed the ad, I?ll remember him more the next time we meet.

Traditional advertising, email campaigns, social media marketing and networking are all methods we can use to reach out to prospects, stay top of mind, and stand out from our competition. And sometimes a combination can compound our success.

If you?d like to explore your marketing options or just connect with some good people, join me for the FCBE Marketing Mixer. It?s Thursday, May 28th from 6 to 8pm at the Barrel Public House at 7115 138 St., Surrey. Contact me to register at 604.759.3223 or feel free to register through Facebook at

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May 1st, 2015

FCBE Membership Gives You More than Just Local Trading


Dreaming of a getaway that doesn?t cost an arm and a leg?
A quick call to your barter broker can help you save your cash ? and your appendages.

For the past 18 years, First Canadian Barter Exchange has been working with various other barter exchanges across Canada and the US. By affiliating with other barter exchanges, we?re able to help members book travel accommodations and access products and services that are not available through our local network.

Here are some of the destinations where members can use their First Canadian Barter dollars:

  • Victoria - accommodations, restaurants, spas
  • Kelowna - golf, spas, wine tours, accommodations, shuttle service
  • Calgary - accommodations, restaurants
  • Ucluelet - accommodations
  • Winnipeg - hotels, restaurants, bowling, spas, go karting
  • Ontario - accommodations near Niagara Falls, Kingston, London, Ingersoll and more
  • California - accommodations in LA

Here Are Some Interesting Barter Transactions Involving FCBE Members & Affiliates:

  1. A member sold $10,000 worth of electronic billboard advertising in Edmonton by working with FCBE and an affiliate in Calgary.
  2. Another member sold $60,000 worth of doors to a company in eastern Canada.
  3. 3. A member treated his family to dinner and an overnight stay in Victoria to celebrate his sister?s 50th birthday.
  4. A member purchased his engagement ring through an affiliate in Banff.
  5. On a trip to Hawaii, a member chartered a boat and purchased jewellery on barter.
  6. Members have purchased advertising in The Business Exchange magazine through an affiliate in Winnipeg.
  7. A member sent gift certificates for oil changes, car washes and yoga classes to his family in Kelowna.
  8. Some members own properties in Calgary and have used barter for junk removal, cleaning and pest control.
  9. Members have purchased timeshares in Florida, Hawaii and Arizona.

Not only does working with other exchanges give FCBE members more places to spend their barter dollars; these other exchanges also send new business to FCBE members. A great WIN-WIN for everyone!

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April 17th, 2015

Biggest Myths About Modern Barter

Myths vs. Facts

While most people understand barter on a fundamental level, there are still a lot of misconceptions about modern barter*.

Here are the Top 4 Myths About Modern Barter:

  1. 1. It involves direct trading.
    The great thing about modern barter is that it doesn?t require direct trading. You can sell your goods or services to one person, get paid in barter dollars, and then use your barter dollars to purchase whatever you need from any other barter exchange member. There is no need to find someone who has what you want, and wants what you have in return.
  2. It?s a way to avoid paying tax.
    Modern barter does not provide you with a way to dodge taxes. CRA views barter transactions the same as they view cash transactions. You need to declare the barter dollars your business earns. You also get to write off the barter dollars you spend on business expenses.
  3. It?s difficult and time consuming.
    Your barter broker is a great resource and will guide you through the world of barter. They will help you create promotions and advertise your business via emails, newsletters and by word-of-mouth in order to generate new sales for your company. Making barter sales can sometimes be easier than making cash sales as you are part of a closed network, so there is less competition.
    Your broker will also help you spend the barter dollars you earn. Fill out a Budget Planner to let your broker know what you are interested in and they will help you purchase these things from other barter members.
    You can save time by working with your broker, too. For example, if you want to get some printing done, your broker can direct you to the printer in the network who is the most suitable for your type of job. Or maybe you want to find an accountant, or a hair salon, your broker will be able to refer you to good quality businesses and save you the time of looking for someone yourself.
  4. It?s only for struggling businesses.
    Sometimes people think the only reason people barter is because they can?t afford to pay cash. This simply isn?t the case. Many businesses are successful, but not operating at full capacity ? for example, an accountant that isn?t fully booked, or a hotel with a few empty rooms. Savvy business owners use barter to fill their excess capacity. They can then use the barter dollars they earn to get the things they want and need, reducing their cash operating costs and increasing their buying power.

*Modern barter involves companies trading with one another using barter dollars and a barter exchange to facilitate transactions.

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March 31st, 2015

5 Ways to Use Barter to Show Your Appreciation

Say Thank You

For the past several years, one of our members, a construction directory, has been purchasing wine from one of our winemakers. Every year he spends about $1500 barter dollars and purchases 10 batches (approximately 300 bottles) of wine.

What does he do with 300 bottles of wine? He gives them to his loyal advertisers as a gesture of appreciation for their continued business. It?s a great way to use barter dollars to strengthen cash-generating relationships, and who doesn?t like wine?

Now this got me thinking, how else can barter be used to show appreciation?

Here are my favourite ways you can show your appreciation using barter:

  1. Treat your staff to a little pampering with a mobile spa service that provides on-site massages, manicures, etc. Or set up staff barter accounts so they can use barter dollars to purchase whatever they choose.
  2. Send a gift certificate to a good customer. (We can send you a list of available certificates.)
  3. Take a group of clients out for a night on the town in a limousine. Check out a comedy club or other venue that accepts barter.
  4. Are your parents the babysitters of choice? Think about everything they have done (and still do) for you, and treat them to a weekend away at a hotel or B&B.
  5. Appreciate what you have, and donate some of your barter dollars to a charity that will use them to help those less fortunate.

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March 17th, 2015

Want to be a Superstar Trader?
Learn How to Use Barter Dollars Effectively


I?ve been in the barter industry for over 18 years, so I?ve seen a lot of great traders over the years. One of the things great traders have in common is that they know how to use their barter dollars effectively. Barter dollars can be used to replace some of your current cash expenses, as well as give you the ability to purchase things you may not have the cash budget for. Used properly, barter can have an amazing impact on your business ? and even make your life a bit more interesting.

Here are 5 things you can do to use your barter dollars more effectively and become a superstar trader:

  1. Make a Wish List.
    As business owners, we all have dreams ? some are big, like becoming the next Richard Branson, while others are small, like being able to delegate more of your work so you can spend more time with your family. What are your dreams? What would you like to do if money wasn?t an object? We often compromise due to our budget, for example getting a simple website instead of what we really want, or holding off on the marketing and advertising we?d like to do. What have you been putting off because you didn?t have the cash? Take a few minutes to think about this and write down your ideas ? then talk to your barter broker to see how many of your wishes can be fulfilled using barter dollars.
  2. Analyse your current spending.
    There is a strong likelihood that some of the things you are spending cash on could also be purchased using barter dollars. Take a minute and look at your recent financial or bank statements, or simply jot down all the ongoing expenses you can think of. It doesn?t need to be a daunting experience. The main thing is to get started. We have an online tool at that makes it easy. Simply click on the items you are currently purchasing (or interested in purchasing).

    Barter dollars can be used for many ongoing business expenses like bookkeeping, web hosting, graphic design, administrative support, advertising, alarm monitoring, computer maintenance, staff incentives and printing, just to name a few.
  3. Consider using barter in your personal life.
    When working on your wish list, don?t limit it to business expenses. Barter dollars can be used in your personal life, too. (Accounting Note: barter used personally is considered part of your personal income.) Wouldn?t it be nice to go to a spa once in a while, enjoy a romantic weekend with your significant other, or do those renovations you?ve been thinking about? Barter dollars can be used for many of your routine expenses, too, including auto repairs, dining out and haircuts.
  4. Think about your staff and customers.
    Think about your staff and customers. You wouldn?t have a business without them. Smaller companies without benefits packages often use barter dollars to pay for dentistry, massage and other staff perks. Sales managers purchase prizes for sales contests using barter dollars. What about using barter dollars for customer appreciation? Thank your good customers with a gift certificate or a box of chocolates. Maybe you?d like to have a referral contest where the winner receives a weekend away or a night out in a limo, which you can purchase using your barter dollars.
  5. Pay attention to newsletters and emails.
    Most barter exchanges advertise new members and special offers in emails or newsletters. It?s worth spending a few minutes to read them. If you don?t, you may end up paying cash for something that you could have gotten on barter, or missing out on a great deal. Some items are in short supply so it pays to pay attention.

Want to become a Superstar Trader? Call your barter broker and schedule a meeting or phone call where you can discuss more ideas and learn about the newest offerings available on your exchange. When it comes to spending barter dollars, get creative! ... And Happy Trading!

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February 19th, 2015

6 Things You Should Know about Barter and Taxes

Barter and Tax

People often ask me if doing business in barter means they don?t need to worry about paying or collecting taxes. Some are just curious, while others are hoping they have found a new tax loophole.

Well, I?m sorry to disappoint any prospective tax-dodgers, but if you are looking for a way to avoid paying taxes, this isn?t it. Fortunately, modern barter is so much more. It provides a legitimate, above-board business tool used by companies large and small, all around the world.

So, how does tax and modern barter really work? Here are 6 things you should know:

  1. When your business earns barter dollars, it is considered income, the same as if you had earned cash.
  2. When you use barter dollars to pay for business expenses (such as printing, accounting, web design, etc.) it can be written off, the same as if you were spending cash.
  3. If you are using barter dollars for personal, non-company expenses, it is considered personal income and should be declared as such.
  4. You can use barter dollars to pay employees and sub-contractors. The barter dollars they earn are considered income.
  5. There are a number of registered charities that issue tax receipts for barter dollar donations, so you can keep more of your hard earned cash.
  6. Barter exchanges provide detailed statements documenting your sales and purchases, which can be given to your accountant or bookkeeper.

Barter is a great way to earn extra income and reduce some of your cash expenses. Just remember to treat barter dollars the same as cash when in it comes to taxes.

First Canadian Barter Exchange is a CRA designated barter exchange network.

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January 30th, 2015

We?d like to thank everyone for making 2014
a year to remember. Here are a few of the year?s highlights:

Miss World Canada 2014

Successful Events:

Throughout the year, we were pleased to host a number of events.

The Miss World Canada Meet & Greet, held at Secret Resto Lounge, was a fun-filled night where members were able to connect with one another and meet the contestants vying for the title of Miss World Canada.

Pacific West Perennials helped members beautify their gardens with their Annual Plant Sale where members were able to browse their 40 acre nursery and purchase a variety of plants and herbs.

Dinner Cruise 2014

The Dinner Cruise aboard Accent Cruises? Burrard Queen was yet again one of our most popular events. The sold-out cruise of Vancouver?s harbour had members enjoying a delicious buffet and dancing into the night.

Flying Fashions held a barter sale for the first time this year, selling thousands of dollars worth of fabrics and clothing to a variety of barter members.

Trade Show 2014

With approximately 200 people in attendance, this year?s Trade Show was one of our best to date. A great selection of products for sale, a delicious buffet dinner and lots of networking made it a fantastic night and a great way to wrap up the year.

New Members & Referrals:

We are very pleased to have added many new members in 2014, including restaurants, spas, animal hospitals, auto repair shops, web design companies, flooring companies, plumbers and more. We appreciate your many referrals. For each successful referral, you will receive $50 barter plus a $50 gift certificate for gas, The Keg or Cineplex.

Plant Sale 2014

Barter Transactions:

We saw many interesting barter transactions this year. Advertising and marketing continued to be popular places to spend barter dollars, along with accounting, printing, web design, and renovations. Members also used barter dollars for accommodations in areas such as Alberta, Victoria and Kelowna.

We thank you again for making 2014 a success and look forward to an exciting 2015!

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January 7th, 2015

Start with WHY ? and make 2015 Your Best Year Yet

Make 2015 Your Best Year Yet

As the new year begins, many of us are getting ready to embark on a plethora of sales and marketing activities, poised to make 2015 our best year yet. Before getting caught up in website content, marketing campaigns, and even old fashioned face-to-face meetings, I challenge you to go back to the basics, and start with WHY.

There are two big WHYS at the core of any business:

  1. The external WHY: Why do customers do business with you?
    Who are your customers? Why do they choose to do business with you over your competition? What is it about your services, products and company itself that attracts customers to you and keeps them loyal? Take a few minutes to look at your best customers and see things from their point of view. Find out what is important to them. It may not always be what you think. The better you understand your customers, the more effective your marketing will be. Consider doing a short survey or simply contact your top customers by phone. Sit down with your best customers for lunch or coffee: It not only strengthens your relationship, but allows you to get to know them better and may even generate additional referral business.
  2. The internal WHY: Why do you do what you do?
    Of course we all work to make a living, but why did you choose your specific profession? What are you most passionate about? What excites you and makes you feel alive? Take the time to think about why you started the business and how you are making a difference in the lives of others. Connect with your WHY, and you will not only be able to connect more meaningfully with others, you?ll ignite a spark within yourself that will help you to make 2015 your best year yet.

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December 10th, 2014

Barter & the Holidays
Your Invitation for Dec 18th & 22nd, and Trade Show Recap

Trade Show Blog

Today I?d like to thank everyone who contributed to our annual Trade Show & Holiday Celebration on November 26th. What a night! It was one of our best trade shows yet with nearly 200 members in attendance. It was held at Royal Palace Hall in Burnaby and included approximately 40 display tables, a buffet dinner and lots of opportunities for networking.

It was so much fun to see members connecting and the energy was fantastic. Having the opportunity to connect, build relationships and do business at events like this is one of the things that makes our barter community so special, and I?m truly grateful for the support of so many wonderful members.

Products for sale at the trade show included internet tablets, Canucks clothing, gift baskets, food, beauty products, jackets, pottery, jewellery, pet supplies, and a lot more. In addition to giving members the opportunity to promote their core Trade Show Blog businesses, the trade show also gave some members the opportunity to do something different. For example, one of our members, who owns a talent agency, makes gift baskets every year to sell at the trade show. It isn?t her core business, but it?s a great way for her to generate barter dollars that she can spend throughout the year. The trade show also helps members sell excess inventory at regular retail prices.

Throughout the evening, Smooth Grooves kept shoppers entertained with lively tunes and Chadra Bodalia took photos. Here are some great pictures.

If you missed the event, don?t worry; you still have a chance to pick up some great gifts on barter!

We have an open house coming up at our Surrey office on December 18th and 22nd, from 5 to 8pm each day. Come out and celebrate the season with us, enjoy some refreshments, and pick up some last minute gifts. We?ll have glassware, decor, gift baskets, Canucks jerseys and gift certificates from over 40 different companies for sale on barter, just to name a few things. Come join us!

FCBE Open House
Thursday, Dec. 18th and Monday, Dec. 22nd
5pm to 8pm each day
#225 -13711 72 Ave, Surrey
(entrance on 137th)

Please RSVP: 604.759.3223 /

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November 14th, 2014

10 Ways to Celebrate a Birthday with Barter

Brittany Birthday Blog

This week one of our teammates celebrated her birthday. As we wished Brittany a happy birthday, I thought, why not share some ways barter can add to any celebration. Here are 10 ways barter dollars can be used to celebrate a birthday, or any special occasion.

  1. Restaurant Certificates. We treated Brittany and her husband to dinner at a local restaurant. A certificate for a dinner out is a great gift for any occasion.
  2. Limousine Service. Is your son or daughter celebrating a special birthday? Give them a gift they won?t forget.
  3. Romantic Getaway. Anniversary coming up? Just need some time away? Use barter to escape to the Okanagan, Vancouver Island or enjoy a local B&B.
  4. 4. Paintball or Airsoft Party. This is a favourite amongst teens and great for team building.
  5. Indoor Beach Party. Miss those days at the beach? You don?t have to! Richmond has an indoor beach facility ? a surprise oasis filled with fun games like beach volleyball.
  6. Photographers & DJs. Pump up your party with a professional DJ and capture the moments with photography services on barter.
  7. Spa & Salon Services. Give the gift of pampering or book an in-home spa party.
  8. Dinner Cruise. Whether you have a party of 2 or 20, enjoy a scenic cruise of Vancouver?s harbour and a delicious buffet dinner.
  9. Comedy Club. Book your party at a comedy club or send someone a gift certificate for a fun night out.
  10. Barter Gift Certificate. Don?t know what to get? Let them choose their own gift by giving them barter dollars to spend or ask us for a full list of available gift certificates.

Whether you have a special occasion coming up, or want to purchase a gift for someone, think Barter First, and call us for more barter ideas.

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November 4th, 2014

5 Tips for a Successful Trade Show Booth

Trade Show Blog

Last week we had the pleasure of sponsoring the SOHO SME Business Expo. Having a trade booth at the event inspired this week?s blog post, 5 Tips for a Successful Trade Show Booth.

  1. 1. Consider Your Audience. What demographic will be attending the event? The more you can target your message to your specific audience, the more successful you?ll be. Prepare a short ?elevator pitch? that will appeal to attendees and staff your booth with positive and welcoming staff members. Have appropriate hand-outs that appeal to this market.
  2. Have Eye-Catching Signage. Keep your signage clear and to the point. Unless you are a well-known brand, communicating a benefit is more important than emphasizing your company?s name. Attract attention using bright colours and creative messaging.
  3. Connect with Other Exhibitors. Depending on the event, other exhibitors can be a great source of new business. Arrive early so you can see the other exhibits and connect with other exhibitors before the show. Have two or more people working the show so you are able to connect with people at your booth and on the floor.
  4. Location, Location, Location. See if you are able to choose the location of your booth. You want to be somewhere where you are seen, but not somewhere that is overcrowded to the point that people want to move through the area quickly in order to get to a more comfortable space. Giving away something, in our case Halloween candy, is also a good way to draw people to your booth.
  5. Follow Up is Key. Unless you are selling products at the show itself, this is the most important element. Engage with people at the event, establish a rapport, generate interest, and then follow up in a timely manner. Having a prize draw is also a great way to collect business cards from attendees.

All in all: Be prepared, have fun, make connections and don?t neglect the follow up! Do you have any Trade Show Tips, email me at

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October 20th, 2014

Yes! Our Barter Blog is Online

After a few months of planning, I?m excited to be launching our Barter Blog! Here you can enjoy reading interesting stories about barter, get tips from business experts, and learn how you can use barter to grow your business. We encourage you to share your ideas and look forward to keeping you in the loop with the latest barter news.

Here is our first barter story, about how Flying Fashions is turning excess inventory into barter dollars that will be used to market their new store.

Flying Scissors and Happy Barter Customers

Fashion Sale

Her scissors barely had a minutes rest, as Harjit from Flying Fashions cut sections of material for a crowd of barter customers. As she and her husband Sarb prepared to move their Indian fashion and fabric store from its Scott Road location, they decided to hold a one-day barter sale.

The sale ran from 3 to 9pm on Sept 9th and included a variety of Indian clothing, fabrics and costume jewellery. The big hit of the night was the fabric. It was purchased by customers of all ethnicities, many of whom had never been to the store before and didn?t realize they offered more than just Indian attire.

Harjit and Sarb were happy to clear out a lot of inventory, plus add a good amount of barter dollars to their account. Some of those barter dollars have already been put to good use, paying for moving services. They also plan to use barter dollars to pay for web design services, signage and advertising when they open their new store next year.

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