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Staffing Industry Franchise Company Sales Alliance

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					                           ALLIANCE
                          B                   A                 R T                                   E                 R
                                25 Years
                             in the Making
                                              By Marcia Layton Turner




S
                    t e p h e n E . W e b s t e r,        He accomplished this by                            steadily through the years,” Webster
                    president and CEO                  taking an active role in industry                     noted, “but the increase we’ve seen
                    of RTE, Corporate                  associations, encouraging his staff                   in new clients during the past year
                    Barter Group, is a well-           to invest in their own professional                   has driven us to update how we do
                    re c o g n i z e d n a m e i n     development, such as earning                          business. One of those updates has
                    the barter industry. An            C e r t i f i e d Tra d e B ro k e r ( C T B )        been the name change.”
I RTA Ha l l o f F a m e i n d u c t e e , h e         status, and forming long-term                            Consequently on July 15, 2002,
h a s h e l d n u m e ro u s l e a d e r s h i p       relationships with clients.                           RT E o f f i c i a l l y b e c a m e A l l i a n c e
p o s i t i o n s w i t h i n t h e i n d u s t r y,      As his company began an                            Barter, Inc. Along with the name
i n c l u d i n g p re s i d e n t o f b o t h t h e   aggressive international expansion                    change came the establishment
In t e r n a t i o n a l Re c i p ro c a l Tra d e     plan earlier this year, he felt it was                of a new Canadian office in
A s s o c i a t i o n ( I RTA ) a n d t h e            time for a corporate name change.                     To ro n t o a n d a n e x p a n d e d s a l e s
Na t i o n a l A s s o c i a t i o n o f Tra d e       RTE had outgrown its roots and no                     s t a f f c h a r g e d w i t h g row i n g t h e
Exchanges (NATE).                                      l o n g e r re f l e c t e d t h e c o m p a n y ’s   client base in Upstate New York.
   For nearly 25 years, Webster has                    future direction.                                     A l l i a n c e i s h e a d q u a r t e re d i n
d e m o n s t ra t e d h i s ow n p e r s o n a l         I t w a s t h e c o m p a n y ’s n e w             Rochester and has offices in
commitment to the industr y, his                       direction that prompted the name                      Buffalo and Syracuse, with plans
employees, and his clients.                            change. “Our company has grown                        for future expansion.


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                                                            A     L    L   I    A    N     C    E       B A R T E R



                           From Barter Pioneer
                                  To
      BARTER POWERHOUSE
                                                         formation of the International Reciprocal   numerous trade exchanges had been

S
      tephen Webster’s foray into barter
      began in 1978 when he became one                   Trade Association (IRTA), and a             acquired.
      of the first members of International              founding member of the National               For various reasons the effort fell short.
Trade Exchange (ITE), a franchise                        Association of Trade Exchanges (NATE).      Those involved, along with RTE, were
operating in Rochester. “In fact,” he                      In 1991 the company name was              forced to turn their focus back to staying
disclosed, “the entire barter industry                   transitioned to RTE, Corporate Barter       on track. Webster was unwilling to walk
started as a franchise opportunity.”                                                                 away from the failed venture without
   The following year, after acquiring ITE,                Stephen Webster                           making some kind of change.
Webster changed the name to Rochester                                                                  “I initially became involved in the
Trade Exchange and began operating as                      was an early                              consolidation venture as a way to
an independent. He subsequently became                     participant in the                        encourage change industrywide—change
president and sole stockholder. By 1991,                                                             that I saw as necessary and beneficial for
after solidifying the Rochester customer                   formation of IRTA                         all the participants,” Webster recalled.
base, the company had expanded to                          and a founding                            “But if industrywide change was stalled,
Syracuse, Buffalo and the New York                                                                   we were at least going to rejuvenate our
Southern Tier.                                             member of NATE.                           own company.”
   As the firm continued to grow
under Webster’s leadership, he took an                   Group...both for simplicity and to
ever-increasing role within the industry,                de-emphasize its Rochester connection
                                                                                                       “I initially became
forming partnerships and alliances with                  which represented a smaller percentage        involved in the
national barter companies, regional                      of the company’s total sales each year.
exchanges and corporate clients.
                                                                                                       consolidation
   He also was an early participant in the                         A Turning Point                     venture as a way to
                                                           A pivotal year for RTE was 1999 as          encourage change
                                                         that was when the company became a
                                                         participant in an industry roll-up. More
                                                                                                       industrywide.”
                                                         than $150 million was raised by venture
                                                                                                        RTE management carefully analyzed its
                                                         capitalists to consolidate the barter
                                                                                                     own situation and crafted a new business
                                                         industry with the goal of moving online.
                                                                                                     plan. As a result, three major decisions
                                                           That multi-million dollar investment
                                                                                                     were made: change the company’s name,
                                                         was used to develop proprietary software
                                                                                                     expand geographic coverage, and
                                                         and technology to enable an online
                                                                                                     redirect marketing efforts toward mid-
                                                         barter network, along with building the
                                                                                                     sized and larger corporations.
                                                         infrastructure for a major consolidation.
                                                           As the dot-com craze was in full swing,
                                                                                                         The Reinvention Process
                                                         RTE along with nearly half of the barter
                                                         industry were targeted for the roll-up        By leveraging its nearly 25-year
                                                         effort. An initial public offering (IPO)    association within the small business
                                                         was anticipated for 2001, once the          community, RTE’s aim was to capture a
 S t e p h e n We b s t e r, C E O o f A l l i a n c e   infrastructure was in place and the         piece of the growing amount of barter
Barter.

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                                                   A    L    L    I   A     N     C    E       B A R T E R


                                                                                            growth potential for the company.
    “We’re forming alliances with other                                                       As vice president of operations, Meranto
    companies, enabling us to create and                                                    helps ensure that the business functions
                                                                                            smoothly by overseeing the internal
    service major accounts.”                                                                workings. During his more than 16 years
                                                                                            with Alliance, Meranto has worked in most
conducted with larger corporations.            history, alliances have made our growth      operational areas of the company from
   But in order to service existing and        possible and we believe they will be the     marketing and information technology
larger clients, RTE needed to have a direct    key to our future success as well.”          to sales and planning.
or indirect presence in the cities where                                                      He was most recently involved in
the corporations were operating.                       Secrets Of Success                   upgrading the firm’s technology
   Webster elaborated, “We’re forming                                                       infrastructure, expanding staffing, and
                                                 One of the reasons Webster believes his    developing the business’ strategic plan.
alliances with other companies, enabling
                                               trade exchange has been so successful        Despite the rapid new client growth,
us to create and service major
                                               through the years is the longevity of the    Meranto has expertly handled the
accounts...many of which are located
                                               staff. Many of the senior brokers have       transaction processing and resource
in major cities.”
                                               been with him for more than 15 years; the    management so that operations run
   Although regional history and locations
                                               of head of the Syracuse branch, Trade        seamlessly.
were a strong base for its existing small to
                                               Director Sandy Giannuzzi, has achieved         Robin Maini, newly appointed vice
mid-sized business clientele, pursuing
                                               the milestone of 25 years in the industry.   president of business development, has
larger corporate business would require
                                                 “We have brokers who have represented      taken on the responsibility of cultivating
additional locations and increased staff.
                                               us for years, developing long-term           corporate business, as well as continuing
   As a result, RTE made the commitment
                                               relationships with our clients. Those        to expand the company’s retail base in
to hire the experienced sales and
                                               relationships help generate more business    Canada and the United States.
marketing staff necessary to succeed in
                                               for our clients because we really get to       A Canadian citizen, Maini operated one
the targeted corporate market as well as
                                               know them over the course of several         of the largest exchanges in Canada and
to expand geographically. Hence, the new
                                               years,” declared Webster.                    most recently held executive positions
Canadian operations were formed from
                                                 Webster has recently handed over the       with a European-based barter company.
which international trading can be
                                               responsibility for day-to-day operations       During his 15 years in the barter
managed and encouraged.
                                               and new business development to industry     industry his expertise was honed in
                                               veterans Ralph Meranto and Robin             training and business development. One
 Many of the senior                            Maini. By relying on the expertise and       of his responsibilities at Alliance will
 brokers have been                             knowledge these managers bring to the        include acquiring mid-sized clients,
                                               table, Webster anticipates tremendous        internationally.
 with the company
 for more than 15
 years.

        The Name Change
   “As we considered what name would be
right for the next phase of our company’s
development, the word alliance seemed
to keep coming up,” Webster reflected.
“We felt it was an accurate description of
how we do business on a daily basis, and
how we want to work in the future.
   “We want to create alliances with
our clients, other barter companies,
corporations, real estate ventures, and
financial institutions. Throughout our            Webster often deals with the press on behalf of Alliance Barter.


w w w . BarterNews . com                                         36                                                      Fall Issue 59
                                                      A     L    L    I   A     N     C     E       B A R T E R




                                   L-R: Ralph Meranto, Robin Maini, and Stephen Webster.


               The Future                        transforming Alliance, just as it is           involve real estate, stock, corporate
                                                 transforming the barter industry as a          assets of all types, as well as future
  Alliance Barter currently has 1,500            whole. Increased computing power and           rights. Moving beyond pure product and
clients and expects that number to               information flow is making trading             service trades is opening-up entirely new
quickly grow to 2,000 by the first quarter       quicker and easier.                            avenues of growth for the company.
of 2003. Management is evaluating
acquisition candidates in mid-sized               “Our latest expansion plan is really a
and larger markets to enhance and
complement its growth strategy.                   testament to the power of alliances.
  Target companies that benefit most              Whether they’re with employees, clients,
from joining a trade exchange include
those with under-utilized capacity, such          associates or suppliers. This is where our
as printers, restaurants and airlines;            future lies.”
those with excess inventory, such as
manufacturers and distributors; or those           It is also heightening interest in the use     “Our latest expansion plan is really a
with new product or service introductions.       of secondary capital...which includes          testament to the power of alliances,”
  “Our growth in 2002 will also be               non-traditional forms of money such as         affirmed Webster, “whether they’re
propelled by a major investment in new           stocks, scrip, and notes.                      with employees, clients, associates or
technology,” reported Webster. “We’re              While the economic doldrums                  suppliers. This is where our future lies.”
                                                 continue, companies will be forced to                                                BN
“Our growth this year                            explore new sources of revenue, with
                                                 barter being one very viable option.
will also be propelled                             Webster sees this as a prime                    Corporate name:
by a major investment                            opportunity for clients of the barter                   Alliance Barter, Inc.
                                                 industry. “Wherever you see capital
in new technology.”                              constraints, excess inventory, or a need
                                                                                                   Year established: 1978
                                                 for market penetration, barter can be a           Number of clients: 1,500
currently evaluating new software to             valuable solution.”                               Number of employees: 25
better link our offices and clients as             Alliance is positioning itself to               Web site: www.alliancebarter.com
well as facilitate larger transactions.”         facilitate those transactions and is
  I n f o r m a t i o n t e c h n o l o g y is   actively pursuing corporate deals that



w w w . BarterNews . com                                             37                                                      Fall Issue 59

				
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