Tag Archives: business

Are Business Cards Still Necessary?

custom business card design and printing Lansing area connection GraphicsSomeone asked this in a forum recently. Maybe they were just looking for attention, I don’t know. Business cards have a long history of service in many forms and are still the the cheapest form of advertising.

What is the history of business cards?

Visiting cards – used in 15th century China these cards communicated the desire for meeting another person.

Calling Cards – Very popular in 17th century Europe these cards were used by the upper classes as personal advertisement as a formal request of an introduction

Trading Cards – Late in the 17th century tradesmen began using these cards to inform customers of their services and shop address

Business Cards – 18th – 19th century less formality was practiced and the trading card and visiting card merged.These cards were used in formal and informal settings as personal advertisements and trade promotion.

Business cards have been the go to item for businesses to get and give contact information into this century. Beside a short stint of the late 1940s’ invention, the rolodex. The rolodex was very popular with businesses in the 80s’ and 90s’. Companies even included pre-printed contact information on rolodex cards in direct mail pieces. As much as recruiters sought out candidates with the most complete rolodexes in the 90s they were quickly replaced by the emergence of the desktop computer. Databases and synchronized address books are now stored on smart phones a third of the size of  the smallest rolodex.

Will business cards go the way of the Rolodex?

Rolodex cards were nearly twice the size of a standard business card size (3.5 x 2) plus they had an odd die cut that didn’t exactly travel well. Business cards are lightweight an easily tuck into purses, billfolds, and standardized sleeves found in many office products.

Admittedly not everyone holds onto business cards they receive these days. Computer scanners with OCR readers and software such as Neat allow direct feed into computer databases that even store the graphics and corporate logo on the cards. Business cards can be disposed of at this point since all of the information can be accessed on a future date. Yet, all of this content still begins with a printed business card.

How are business cards used now?

Like every good invention there are abusers amongst us. Watch out for those business cards grabbers at  networking events who return to their offices, scan each business card they receive, import the contacts to multiple mailing lists and the spamming begins.

Of course not everyone has embraced this latest business card scanning software. Business card holders are still overflowing or stuffed in piles on desks, in purses and cars — even if there are Neat scanners waiting to receive them in the office. Let’s be honest, some of these business cards may never see the light of day. Some people are guilty of taking business cards out of courtesy and politeness with no intention of ever looking at them again. It’s that one person who takes it and uses it that we all seek — and the handful of cards that are taken out of courtesy are pennies on the dollar.

Of course haters gonna hate and many claim they can Google the information they want or search on a corporate website for the contact information they need. But how do you search for the person you met at the networking event last week who sold the exact service you are Googling right now? What was that company name again? What was that smart account representatives name? Only a business card is going to help you recall all of this information.

Business cards are here to stay

  • A business card is a basic tool for start up companies trying to get their brand in front of people at a low cost.
  • Usually the first touch a prospect will have of your brand messaging.
  • A business card is an instant connector and leave behind piece for casual or impromptu meetings.
  • A business card is small and fits standardized office tools
  • Sales training 101 promotes carrying businesses with you at all times
  • It’s no wonder business cards are essential to business. The cost to reproduce them are usually less then a few cents a piece. When printing business cards choosing a professional design and printer is critical to show professionalism and details are important to you. A smeared, bent card doe not a good impression make.

Are business cards necessary these days? I say yes. However, I also confess I am somewhat stingy with my cards in networking events. I have experienced those marketing firms and over zealous small business owners who believe since I gave them my card it was permission for them to add me to all of their email campaigns, direct mail campaigns plus phone me way too much.  I’ve gotten picky who I give my card to -especially at networking events. Consider this the next time a business owner offers you a card – they may not give them to just anyone – but they chose to give it to you.

Business cards are this month’s special. Business cards are discounted 20% through December 30, 2014.

Please connect with us today if you need a new business card design or if you need reprints of  an existing business card design Connection Graphics has created for you in the past.

 

 

WHAT WOULD BUSINESS ROBOT DO?

If you plan to set time aside for a year end review, personally or professionally, visit our blog. In the most recent entry you can find some specific questions to get you started. Below enjoy another tip by another of our favorite coaches, Michael Neill – www.geniuscatalyst.com

Emma was struggling to keep her home-based business alive after about a year of very hard work and very limited profits. When she hired me to help her turn things around (or help her make peace with letting the business go), the first thing I did was introduce her to a thinking tool I use with many of my clients:

Imagine a robot who has been programmed with all the best business skills and business wisdom, but has no emotional circuitry whatsoever. No matter what is going on in your business, “Business Robot” will always make the decisions and take the actions that are most likely to lead to success both short and long-term.

Now imagine that Business Robot has been hired to run your company or take over your job for awhile – what would Business Robot do?

When I asked Emma, her first response was “he’d quit!” (Not sure why most people seem to make Business Robot a “boy-bot”, but they do!) After further questioning, she realized that in fact, the business was mostly on track – what had been troubling her was the pressure she’d been putting on herself to “make” it succeed more quickly.

A series of insights followed, including:

* Business Robot would institute a strict ABC priority policy and stick with it, not letting himself get caught up in other people’s sense of urgency

* Business Robot would work less hours, recognizing the value of focusing on work when at work and renewing energy and resources outside of working hours

* Business Robot would go through and do an 80/20 evaluation of which clients were bringing in the most money for the least effort and vice-versa – and then would use that information as a basis for prioritizing certain clients and “firing” others

Perhaps the biggest breakthrough she got from the exploration was when she realized that far from working harder or longer, Business Robot would hire an assistant to take care of the majority of the tasks she herself found so tiresome, leaving her free and energized to do the work that she loved and excelled at.

Today’s Experiment:

1. Imagine that Business Robot has been brought in to run your company, take over your job, or manage your career – what would Business Robot do in the first week? What goals or targets would he set for the next month? Next quarter? Next year?



2. What longer-term vision would Business Robot create for you business or career?

3. Think of the biggest problem or sticking point you are facing in your work right now – what would Business Robot do in that situation?

The key to making this “thought-experiment” work for you is to realize that as Aristotle said, “a virtue is the mean between two vices”. Your goal is not to become more robotic – just to bring the wisdom of a mentally disciplined approach into balance with the wisdom of your very human heart.

Have fun, learn heaps, and happy exploring!

Micheal Neill

http://www.geniuscatalyst.com
Copyright © 2008 Michael Neil. All Rights Reserved