Thursday, January 03, 2008

Bartering Helps Small Business

How can a Barter Network and a trade exchange help small business achieve success? Bartering has been around for a long time, and a Barter Network such as ITEX with thousands of Barter Items and a Trade Exchange community can help any small business by Increasing sales and increasing cash flow. How? Read on, as you already know we have been talking about Barter and online marketplaces such as ITEX barter network for a couple of weeks. We want to hear from you about your small business success stories, if you have tried Barter or not. Or if you ever belonged to a business networking group such as Business Networking Intl. or La tip.

What are you doing ot increase your small business sales and to reduce your small business marketing costs? We also want to hear about any other ideas for your online marketplace ideas any barter items that you would like to see more of or anything else you have in mind as a small business owner. Barter Network for business community photo blog from

Here is a press release from ITEX CEO Steve White about the value his trade exchange provides small businesses. I am going to add my comments in italics and reinforce some main points.

Press Release Source: ITEX Corporation

A Message From the Chairman of ITEX Corporation
Thursday December 6, 9:00 am ET

BELLEVUE, Wash., Dec. 6 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ — ITEX Corporation (OTC Bulletin Board: ITEX - News), The Membership Trading Community(SM), a leading marketplace for cashless business transactions in North America, today released a letter from Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Steven White to shareholders reporting on 2007 achievements and looking ahead to the Company’s future.


December 6, 2007


I am pleased to report that ITEX has continued to maintain its solid record of performance. Today, I will summarize our fiscal 2007 achievements, our strengths and challenges, and the steps we are taking to move the company forward.

What we do

For 25 years we have helped our members attract new & small business through our trading business community. Our identity is encapsulated in our slogan: “ITEX, The Membership Trading business Community(SM) is a leading marketplace for cashless business transactions across North America.” We generate revenue by charging members percentage-based transaction fees and subscription fees. These two revenue streams generated 99% of our $14 million in revenue last year.


Every day, we work to grow our business and maintain a profitable marketplace that assists businesses in becoming more successful. As our members succeed, they are motivated to transact more business and refer new members to our trading community.

This past year we endeavored to more clearly refine what we do, improve our processing methods, and attract more business. Surveys and focus groups provided valuable insight into the needs, wants and expectations of the small business owner: our core customer. We sharpened our message to existing and potential members. We analyzed our value proposition and determined we could offer more. New revenue streams were explored and the groundwork laid to start testing our ideas.

As a result of our efforts this year, our messaging to existing and potential members is more concise, our marketing material and website has been redesigned, and we introduced the Executive Privileges Program. I wonder if there will be any initiatives to help grow small businesses, by building a more powerful online business community.

We seek to expand our presence in the small business services sector and accelerate the velocity of transactions in our trading online business community. In a challenging national economy, we are convinced small businesses can benefit even more from the valuable services we provide. We believe a credible and effective online marketplace for small business is still one of the most needed, it certainly an area deficient within the small business marketing segment.


ITEX has three primary strengths — our 24,000 member business base, our proprietary payment processing and trading platform (”Trading Platform”) and our ability to manage our capital and the operations of our business efficiently and profitably.

Our Trading Community has grown more than 50% in the last 30 months. We believe the relationship with our member base is underused and undervalued, but is a significant asset with tremendous potential. To enhance this asset, additional partnerships and services are being explored. Hello, does an online marketplace, and an online business community, of benefit to any one in small business marketing?

Our Trading Platform provides excellent tools for our members, our best franchises network and our corporate staff, and benefits from a steady stream of enhancements and support. This platform can be expanded to attract many payment processing or private currency systems. In the future we may license our Trading Platform to other businesses to manage their private, closed-loop business models. We do not anticipate licensing the Platform to competitive barter exchanges, rather to the growing business opportunity of cashless, private enterprise transactions.

We manage our capital efficiently and continue to generate strong cash flow. Our cash flow in 2007 exceeded $2.5 million. We retired the acquisition debt that originated late in fiscal 2005, funded a new acquisition we completed August 1, 2007, and repurchased and retired shares of common stock. Both acquisitions increased our member base and our revenues, and are expected to contribute to net income. In the near term, we plan to use our capital to either pay off the recent acquisition, buy back more shares at an opportunistic price or fund new acquisitions.

In addition to our cash revenue streams, we generated more than $4 million ITEX dollars in fiscal 2007 and expect to generate more than $5 million in fiscal 2008. The ITEX dollars were primarily used as revenue share and sales incentives with franchisees, and for incentives for existing members. This year we will utilize some of ITEX dollars to offset cash expenses and provide opportunities to enhance our trading community.


Our primary objective is to increase member count and generate broader acceptance by the small business sector. Although our revenue has grown 34% and member count by 50% since 2003, this growth has occurred primarily through acquisitions. We are focusing on organic growth, which will help continue our overall successful track record. I am pleased to report we are seeing signs of this growth in the first fiscal quarter of 2008.

    Achievements in the past fiscal year include:
-- Strong profits, allowing us to realize a sizeable tax benefit
-- Introduction of Executive Privilege Program
-- Launch of free online member registration
-- Placement of educational videos on website - useful for members and

A look towards our future

In the almost five years since I began serving as Chairman and CEO, we have overcome several hurdles and mended legacies inherited from the past. I am proud and grateful for the support that has been afforded me by shareholders, our staff and our broker offices. We continue to build a stronger company and find ways to grow and prosper. And, yes a big thanks to all of our small business members in our marketplace and business community!

Many have fore casted onerous economic conditions for the coming year. During times such as these, our Trading Community can flourish as businesses utilize services to not only survive, but prosper as we assist them in selling their goods and services. There is a dynamic energy in our Trading Community that keeps commerce rolling, their ITEX dollars working and their calendars full.

It is our mission to put ITEX on the financial map and to see its greatness achieved. Whether by organic growth or further acquisitions, or both, we will strive to become an expanding force that will benefit our trading community members, assist our franchisees and increase value for our shareholders. Being successful in business requires a lot of endurance, tenacity and resolve, not to mention constant care for your clients, in our case small business barter network. We are resolute in continuing our efforts to maintain your trust and confidence.

On behalf of ITEX Barter Trading Community, I would like to thank our diligent employees; the best franchise network (and their staff), whose dedication and drive is a vital component in our success; our small business members, to whom we strive to deliver value and service; and our valued stockholders for your continuing support and interest.

    Sincerely yours,

Steven White
Chairman of the Board
Chief Executive Officer

This press release contains forward-looking statements that involve risks and uncertainties concerning our expected performance (as described without limitation in the quotations from current management in this release) and comments within the safe harbor provisions established under The Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. Actual results may differ materially from the results predicted and reported results should not be considered as an indication of our future performance. We believe that these potential risks and uncertainties include, without limitation: the continuing development of successful marketing strategies for our concepts; our ability to increase revenues and sustain profitability; the availability of adequate working capital; our dependence both on key personnel and our franchise network; and the effect of changes in the overall economy and in technology. Statements in this release should be evaluated in light of these factors. These risk factors and other important factors that could affect our business and financial results are discussed in our periodic reports and filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission, including our Forms 10-KSB and Forms 10-QSB, which are available at, including under the caption, “Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations.” All information set forth in this release is as of December 6, 2007, and ITEX undertakes no duty to update this information.

For more information, please visit

**This News Release was modified with minor comments in “ITALICS” for the purposes of this small business blog!

Tuesday, January 01, 2008

My Life on a couch

My life on a couch, I spent it all day yesterday watching the Travel Channel. I can't say, I didn't love it, that doesn't mean that I don't want to spend the rest of my life on a couch. I would rather travel the world, sit in exotic cafe's watch interesting people. Being a stranger in a strange land, it can be amazing, but for me that is only possible if some people speak English. I don't need them to all be fluent, but it sure helps to not be totally lost.

I wonder when I can get on the road, on the plane, on that train again. Vacations are fine, but traveling for work, now that could be fun! Writing about different places, different cultures, that could be totally awesome, well now days you have to add video and blogcast it too. I hope that the does it, and becomes a huge hit, and I will get paid to write about different vacation homes and rentals software. Maybe these vacation rentals property owners will house my camera man, my producer buddy David M? Why wouldn't they we will promote their property and make them world famous right? Well if we do that, than maybe another camera person or a hot model, now that's the ticket, three people makes a perfect crew.

Dear vacation property owners, check out our amazing vacation rentals property software and check out the online booking software. You might actually be able to increase your revenues, read the following blog.

Maximizing Vacation Rental Revenue

Filed under: Online Booking software | by

Hotels and Airlines have been maximizing revenue for a long time. When you reserve a hotel room or an airline seat, a powerful server crunches out the most optimum price based on the season, availability and a host of other factors. Well, you should be thinking the same way with your Vacation Rentals Software & properties, but until now you didn’t have access to the best vacation rentals software, from

First, we recommend that you determine all the special holidays where you expect to get maximum traffic. These typically include Thanksgiving, Christmas, July 4th weekend, Labor Day weekend and Easter Weekend. Vacation Rental Software photo for blog from sxc.huDuring these peak times, a lot of people travel, and availability is scarce. Consequently, you should set high rates during this time. You should also set policies about the minimum stay required during these high traffic times. Typically, we recommend setting at least a 3 or 7 day minimum. Does your current vacation rentals software management system allow you to have flexible pricing and scheduling? No, well, we have the answers at
Second, we recommend segmenting the calendar year into 2 or 3 seasons; Peak Season , Off Season and optionally a Mid Season segment.

During the Peak Season, you should set higher prices with higher minimum stay requirements. During the Off Season and Mid Seasons, your goal should be to keep your property occupied by offering competitive rates and a low bar for minimum rentals.

Without the best Online Booking software, it is difficult to keep all of this straight in your head, or have your front desk be accurate. RentExpert is a powerful online booking software that incorporates a dynamic pricing engine where you specify your pricing rules. RentExpert automatically crunches the numbers for you and presents the pricing dynamically to potential renters. Why is this important? Simply because it helps the renter make up her mind quickly without lots of back and forth conversations with you.

We are also in the process of creating a vacation spot blog at, are you interested in writing a vacation blog? Why wouldn’t you, you want to spot light your local area and add content to show how amazing your vacation homes or vacation rentals property is, don’t you? So go ahead and write us an email or comment on this blog to be added to promote your vacation spot. Happy New Year again, courtesy of the best vacation rentals software @

Monday, December 31, 2007

2007: Leaving Seattle Real Estate behind?

I wrote this blog, while being on the couch all day watching the Travel channel. Not a bad life, but I was certainly down and out with the Flu. Hopefully you all had a better day. This year is going to be much better than last, so many things were up in the air last year. We certainly know what we are doing now, and have specific goals for 2008, at least for the first 3 months. Little by little, a little train engine that could, will make it up the hill. For those of you trying to achieve a goal, don’t give up, don’t ever give up. Just find a way, no matter what you have to do, keep the goal in sight. I thank my dear friends at the Vacation Rentals Software people and ITEX the Barter Network for their support and help. Ok, I want to thank the Comfortzone Infrared Heaters people and silver jewelry people too, thanks all!

I find my self spending more time analyzing keywords to SEO my blog or one of our friends and clients websites, way more than I ever thought. Is this what my life in 2007 has come to? I do this by visiting on a weekly or daily basis, way too much. How much time will you spend on analyzing keywords to SEO your favorite blog or website? Well, that depends on your intentions and professional goals of being an Internet Marketing person. The world of SEO has changed a lot, Overture for keywords is dead, it died in 2007, their system showed errors for weeks, it had in accurate data going back to Jan. 07 for months at a time. frm

No worries, Google is the key and top search rankings, every one knows that. And if you use any keyword SEO tool, please, please, make sure it uses the Google Adwords keyword API’s (tech speak for Google technology and data). It’s free, but it’s not perfect either, you have to use acronyms, thesauruses, and a dictionary for a comprehensive research. If you want to be a smart SEO, you have to look for differences in key word search volumes, and do your home work. The best way to figure out keyword search volume is to compare those bars. What you don’t know about these Google traffic Bars, have you been to yet, and done a keyword search yet? Do this first, but to get better results you have to actually buy Google ads for top 10-20 keywords. Why do I limit it to top 10 keywords? As a blogging guru and SEO expert, you have to manage things, and after 20 of any thing, it gets very hard. To start out any project, I actually recommend to go with 5 to 10 keywords tops. Focus is the key to achieving success in top rankings and promoting your business, not just in life.

No blog written on Dec. 31st is complete without mention of a New Year coming upon us. Yes, what a year it has been. We started 2007 with SEO‘ing for keywords “Real Estate IDX”, guess who is #1 on those keywords? Yes it’s us, and our success started with a top 10 result for Seattle real estate website back in 2004. That forced me to learn about SEO way back in 2003, because I paid some schmuck $300/month to get my site ranked on search engines, and I couldn’t even find, any where in Google. Forget about finding it under any keywords for “Seattle Real Estate“. This actually started my passion for SEO and back in to technology. from photo blog My passion for marketing and for high rankings on Google drove me to many late nights reading and applying. Finally the day arrived when was ranked in the top 10 on Google for “Seattle Real Estate” and “Seattle Real Estate agents“. This feat, was already achieved with MSN and Yahoo months ago, but Google was the goal, and since those days in 2003, I have been following and learning everything I can about SEO and top rankings. This has led me to start promoting our vacation rentals software and online booking software site and ITEX the Trade Exchange Network and Barter network for small business success.

We actually got out of real estate websites business back in May/June 2007, we were more passionate about blogging and blogcasting (which we called SEO and promoting your brand with Blogs). We are so thank ful, as we had no idea that the Housing bubble was going to pop this big. Thank God we are no longer selling software and services in the Seattle Real Estate or any real estate websites business. We have kept our websites around just for history’s sake, and we never thought we would get in to SEO as a service providers. But now days, we actually have SEO Clients, they are mostly friends who have businesses, we never wanted SEO clients. We have just been trying to promote our own properties, for blogging, Free Blogs, for Infrared heaters, and for our Cross Jewelry. Now I am an SEO for hire I guess, anything to continue our passion for blogging and to create community blogs.

That is why as a serious SEO, I check and recheck keywords, because I have a lot riding on this. Our clients are not just clients, they are our friends and our own small business blogs. I think any internet marketing 2.0 person today, checks and constantly analyzes his/her keywords quite often. Will you do it enough? You should, especially as you get ranked in the top 10 of your choice keywords to grow your business.

As always we thank our friends at ITEX Barter and Trade Exchange Network, for Cross Jewelry, and ComfortZone Infrared heaters which are better than any Edenpure Heater. We also have to thank our friends from, they provide Vacation rentals software that has the most comprehensive features of any online booking software. But this is not just our humble opinion, check them out, thanks for supporting this blog and our financial supporters.