I read a very interesting article last week about whether or not the business card can be retired. Afterall, isn’t that the way we keep in touch with the other entrepreneurs we meet? Well, if you’re an iPhone user, you might do away with the business card altogether. Yep, you guessed it, there’s an app for that and it’s called “Bump.” Basically, you “bump” your iPhones together and, presto! – you each get the other’s contact information.
Other benefits: you’ll save a bunch of trees and get rid of all that business card clutter on your desk (say goodbye to buying rolodexes and biz card binders). Sounds great, right? Well, at least one other professional organizer and I say yes. Here’s how we weighed in on the article, Can’t We Retire the Business Card, by Jennifer Walzer…
November 3, 2009 2:30 pm
Here are some tools for capturing b-card info: Using Evernote Mobile, you can take a picture of the card and the text becomes searchable. You could certainly take a picture of the person and add it to the same note.
And Bump technologies makes an iPhone app that allows you to transfer contact information by literally bumping iPhones.
Oh, and let go of the old business cards and make room for new opportunities!
— Lauren Halagarda
November 4, 2009 8:50 am
I’m with Lauren on this one. There are other options out there to explore. Evernote and Bump (I use both) are great at capturing the information you need.
If you make it a point of calling/e-mailing those people that you meet at networking events soon after meeting them, the problem of remembering that you have their contact info in your phone (or other gadget) will be a non-issue. Actually contacting the people that you meet seems to be a core networking principle, yes?
— Deb Lee
It turns out that Lauren and I were in the minority…
November 3, 2009 1:49 pm
I agree with many of the other commentators. Business cards help you to look established and they are a great way to have everything on one simple sheet that you can just pass over. In some industries I could almost see people going digital with them – especially tech industries – but for your average retail store owner or general business person I think they’ll stick around for a while yet.
First of all, not all of your customers are going to have smart phones or an easy way to copy the information – and giving your info to them then requires THEM to do something. One of the major rules of marketing is to make it as easy to understand/follow through on as possible. People aren’t as likely to do something complicated or that requires work on their part.
Business cards are a create chance to give someone something that makes a statement not just about you but about your company. I think that a physical reminder is much better than a digital file for networking/marketing and branding purposes.
— Melissa Breau
November 3, 2009 8:32 pm
I love the convenience of the digital information swap, but there is something lost in the exchange. The tactile feel of a business card, as well as a sharp design, can elicit a small Wow factor. It will make people recognize you more.
…and what does being “green” have to do with it anyway?
November 3, 2009 2:10 pm
Green Solution? Come on! I’m with Bill P. I’m weary of hearing about “green solutions” to everything, especially non-existent problems of the politically correct crowd. Business cards are an essential and simple tool. Its the first thing I hand a prospect and I ask for theirs. It only takes a few minutes at my computer after the meeting to enter the data in the CRM along with the details of our discussions. It is polite, respectful, and does not require anyone to beam signals, or enter data interfering with the few relationship building moments you are looking for in the networking process.
— Steve N
November 3, 2009 2:43 pm
I have to say that I am partial to business cards, because that is a large part of what my business does. It can express your business in an instant if done right.
For people who are worried about their carbon footprint, try 100% recycled paper w/ soy inks. Make sure your printer is FSC Certified. You don’t lose print or paper quality anymore with recycled papers.
Also, only order the quantity that you need. Most of us change our information frequently enough that we end up throwing piles of our business cards away. Ordering smaller quantities really reduces waste.
Other people just find it too cumbersome (if you’re a non-iPhone user) to type in the name, phone, number, address, etc. in their smart phones. Here’s a chat I had with Scott Gentzen (@scottgentzen) on Twitter…
Scott: I don’t think it’s possible til there’s an electronic alternative that’s as easy to use and universal (sorry iPhone Bump’ers)
Deb: Is it too time intensive to manually input contact info in non-iPhones? Perhaps limit it to just name and web address?
Scott: iPhone or not, that’s a lot of time spent spelling and typing that one could spend interacting in more meaningful ways. it just seems a clunky awkward way to exchange contact info to me.
Deb: Hmmm…we trade info after mtg, yes? …after the meaningful interaction is over? …on the walk back to the car…
Scott: I would tend to exchange info at the beginning but that’s just me. I’m not a biz guy though, or much of a networker. To me, fiddling with gadgets is a big issue. I don’t tweet during tweetups either.
Deb: Good point to make, i.e., networking style…hadn’t thought of giving card at the start of convo…
Now this exchange led to a whole other conversation about about stereotypes about men, women, and gadgets (more on that later). So, what do you think? Who wins? Paper or Technology? Should we just accept the paper clutter generated by business cards and/or find a work around? …or should we start exploring tech options? If you use both, leave a comment with the paper (diary, notebook, etc.) and tech (Outlook, smartphone, etc.) that you use.