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Archive for the ‘Trading’ Category

How a Meccano Set Became the Mother of Invention

In Business, Government, Ideas, International Trade, Invention, Social History, Trading, Trevor Baylis on 4 September 2011 at 13:39

“Achievement is more important than qualifications.”

Bob Bluffield meets the inventor Trevor Baylis

The most obscure things can often shape our futures and for Trevor Baylis it was the fortuitous discovery of a deluxe box of Meccano on a rubbish tip while foraging for scrap metal as a young boy in wartime west London. By adding the wide range of pieces to the cherished basic set his father had bought him presented him with the opportunity to extend his creativity. By his own admission, Trevor was not in the least bit academic. He considers that “achievement is more important than qualifications” – a policy he has adhered to throughout his long career without causing himself any undue harm, even though he couldn’t have thought this when he and his mates took every opportunity to bunk off junior school. Instead of class work they preferred to pursue more boyish adventures and during the Blitz there was plenty of opportunity to do just that. They collected shrapnel from the enemy raids of the previous night and bits of scrap that could be sold for smelting to aid the war effort. When they weren’t scavenging, Trevor and his friends were preoccupied with swimming even though this was in the foul smelling effluent water of the nearby Grand Union Canal. After discovering he had a natural ability to float, Trevor became a first class swimmer and by the age of fifteen represented Great Britain, but became disappointed when he missed out on a place in the 1958 Olympics.  When the time came to leave school, Trevor claims he could barely read and write but was offered a job at a soil mechanics laboratory where he had the opportunity to study mechanical and structural engineering on part-time day release.

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The Joys of Barter

In Bartercard, Business, Food & Drink, Hotels, International Trade, Networking, Trading, Uncategorized on 5 February 2011 at 12:41

Bartering has been around ever since man began trading and despite an in-bred scepticism in the UK it can be a much more satisfying way of doing business especially when money is tight. I enjoy bartering and use it extensively to obtain goods and services that I need. It is a particularly useful way of doing business during periods when cash trade is scarce or you have excess capacity or stock that you want to shift. With the advent of the internet, most countries now have an organised barter trading system and mega businesses, even governments are not averse to trading in this way. I once worked for a client in the construction industry who regularly took payment for their projects in Nigeria with tankers of crude oil in place of hard cash, that was later sold on to one of the major oil companies.

Communities have grown using the bartering system with various levels of success on a local level, but by far the most successful bartering organisation is Bartercard, an international trading portal that operates in six countries and has 75,000 trading members. Bartercard simplifies the trading process by matching the requirements of members to appropriate suppliers of products and services that they require. Payment is conducted using Trade pounds, thus when I make a sale the payment for my services will be credited to my account enabling me to spend on anything I need to buy from other member businesses. This means when I want to eat out, stay at a hotel, buy items that I need – even pay for my private dental treatment, I pay using Trade Pounds instead of spending cash. Bartercard makes its money by charging fees on every transaction, but these are tiny compared to the equivalent cash spend you might otherwise make. It is a great way of doing business and it is all ‘above board’ – with members paying tax and collecting VAT on transactions in the normal way. Being a Bartercard member also acts as a social networking forum that forges firm friendships and working relationships with other businesses.

The only downsides are that you cannot buy fuel, or use Bartercard to buy food in the supermarkets, but it is something the major companies should consider. The reserved nature of the Brits still casts a suspicion over anything innovative that can really help their businesses. But it really is time that all businesses woke up to the benefits Bartercard has to offer as an alternative to paying for everything using cash.

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