I was speaking with a startup the other day.
He was so proud and excited; he showed me his new business cards.
He is a nice guy and is actively trying different things to get his business going.
I get and fully respect that.
When I started my first endeavor, I recall spending hours trying to get the design right and then got 400 odd business cards printed.
My first business card symbolized to me that I’d made it and this “business” thing was real!
In the end, I probably only ever handed out maybe 25 before my contact details needed to be updated!
With my first business, I know now I spent a lot of time on things that didn’t matter so much at the time.
Essentially putting my focus on getting design/branding elements “right”…
If only I knew what I now know, but it’s a lesson that I think every entrepreneur needs to learn!
Sometimes we do focus on the wrong things.
Or we spend too much time on the wrong things that don’t matter.
I’ve done it, and there are probably times in my day, every day that I focus on the wrong things!
But I think I’m spending my time more wisely than when I first started.
Ok, perhaps I got a little distracted, but I do want to go back to my question for this article.
Do you really need business cards?
I actually don’t think anyone does.
Since starting Streamline For Success in 2014, we have never had business cards.
Have we been able to grow our business without them?
Have we lost business because we didn’t have a business card?
I don’t believe so.
The reason why I really don’t feel you need a business card is a lot of time, you go to networking functions, or you meet someone, and you give them your business card.
You leave it up to the other person to follow up….
The person gets home with all their different cards and adds it to their business card collection.
And unfortunately, this is where it stops in most cases.
Think about this…
Of the last 10 people you gave business cards to, how many picked up the phone or sent you an email after you handed over your business card?
But the reality is, no one or hardly anybody actually did!
Unfortunately, a lot of people make a critical mistake here.
They don’t ask for the details of the person they are speaking with.
This is key if you wish to follow up with them directly.
Are business cards a waste of time?
But I highly recommend, make sure you ask for the details of the other person as well if you are going to use business cards.
In my case, I don’t have them at all, so I absolutely need to get the details of the other person.
What if they don’t have a business card either?
Well, it’s pretty easy, get their contact details, add them to your phone and follow up with them after (or if you’re using something like Infusionsoft add them to the mobile app straight away).
If you are going to get business cards, here are my top components that make a great business card:
- Profile Picture – Put your picture on it! This will help trigger to the contact in 6 months time what you look like, and hopefully, they will remember you
- Contact Details – Put your contact details on it – Phone, Email & Website (yes pretty self-explanatory but don’t forget to!), plus what it is that you do!
- Lead Magnet – why not use this as an opportunity to get a lead magnet/call to action on your business card– this can be in the form of a QR Code, website URL for download or SMS optin. Remember you want to pick something that will be around for a few years (Bonus tip – set this up so you can track how much traffic/optins come from your networking activities – specifically your business cards).
- Stand Out – You may also like to think about what can make you stand out in your industry/niche that you offer. There are some fabulous ideas out there. For inspiration, you can check out some cool business card options here.
Using the business card to help trigger their memory (via a profile pic), a way to differentiate yourself, plus potentially add value, means that a business card can become a powerful tool in your networking arsenal.
But please remember, get their details AND follow up with leads from events right away, so you’re maximising your networking efforts 🙂