Cash may be the lifeblood of a business, but bartering is an underused resource–particularly among startups.

In the formative days and weeks of your business, everything will take twice as long as you think with twice the amount of effort. Believe me. I still have the scars.

At Rand McNally circa 1999, in the throes of what would become the height of the Internet bubble and about 15 months before it popped, we shelled out multiple hundreds of thousands of dollars for a personalized e-commerce platform. In hindsight, the move ended up costing us big, as we could have done without buying the platform for about two years. It wasn’t a current need and, likely, took away about four to six months of additional runway for my Internet subsidiary.

To preserve as much cash as possible, consider bartering. At the Startup Factory where my partner and I invest in and mentor 26 portfolio companies, I have become the “barter king.” You’re never too big or too rich to strike a cashless deal.

In this article I wrote recently for, I outline three resources to barter for in order to preserve cash.