Boost Your Business Card

May 2, 2009

I just read this article about 15 Brilliant & Clever Business Card Designs.

Great examples of how creative one can be to turn this inexpensive piece of paper into an even greater marketing or personal branding tool.

However always be careful that people understand your message and that they are not offended or put off by it (for example the “We love your money” business card).

Also read this previous blog post about the importance of business cards and look at this overview of other networking and referral tools.

Have a great networking day !

Jan


How do you store the business cards of the people of your network?

December 22, 2007

When I ask the question “How do you store the business cards of the people of your network?” these are the top 4 answers:

1) I don’t store them
2) I store them in a box or drawer
3) I store them in a binder for business cards
4) I store them electronically (e-mail program, database, spreadsheet, CRM (Customer Relationship Management programma)

I advise you to go for number 4.

These are the reasons:
- You need the contact details of people. The power is in the network, but you have to be able to call or e-mail them.
- You need to have fast access. If you have the business cards of 1000 people in a box, it will take long before you find them. If you store them in a binder, there is only one way you can retrieve the data: if you keep them in alphabetical order on company name and you remember the name of a person, but not the company anymore you won’t find this person.
- You need back up. Your network is your most powerful ànd free aid in life. If you lose the business cards, you lose your most important resource.

By the way, fast access is not only important if you want to contact someone for yourself, but also if you want to connect two other people. This is one of the best networking actions you can take, but if you have to look in boxes to find the business cards you simply won’t do it.

Have a great networking day !

Jan


Great business cards

May 28, 2007

Last week I received an e-mail from Dorothy Oger about some great business cards.

There are indeed some great ideas on this website. Get some inspiration for your own business cards at the Creative Bits website.

Have a great networking day !

Jan


The importance of business cards

February 10, 2007

After my post about the second business card a few weeks ago I got some reactions from people saying they work for a large organisation, but don’t have business cards. So I thought it might be good to share a part out of my networking book “Let’s Connect!” (for a free light version of the book, visit www.letsconnect.be)

I still can’t believe that many organisations only have business cards for their “external profiles” like sales people, managing directors, project leaders or marketing managers.

What managers who cut costs by saving on business cards apparently don’t understand is that the power of networking works for every co-worker in their department or organisation. Even more important is the fact that if you don’t have a business card, you have an extra obstacle to overcome.

For many people this does not only entail a practical disadvantage, but also a psychological one. The thought “I’m not important enough to have a business card” can prohibit people from establishing contact with others. Most often the people who don’t get business cards are back-office employees. And they tend to be more introvert than others, which gives them the feeling of having a disadvantage to more extravert people (which is in fact not the case). The result is that when they meet other people in a meeting, on a reception or another networking event, inside or outside the organisation, they don’t even tend to network.

What beautiful opportunities are missed in this way! And besides, how vain or disrespectful to label people as “less important”. You never know who they know! Maybe their neighbour is the customer your sales representatives have been after for months. Or they might have a brother that would be the perfect software programmer for your next big project. Or their son plays in the same soccer team as the president of a potential business partner.

Also within the organisation this could be important: they might be very well connected with people from other departments or local offices. Many Social (or Organisational) Network Analyses have disclosed that the organisational chart is almost NEVER the way people work together, exchange information or influence each other. A very good book in this field is “The hidden power of social organisations” by Rob Cross and Andrew Parker. It is very practical, with many case studies and examples from real business life.

Giving your co-workers business cards encourages them to represent your organisation to the outside world. Once I got the answer: “That’s exactly the reason why we don’t give business cards to our cleaning staff. We don’t want people to identify them with our company. They are not loyal and sometimes speak ill of our organisation.”

When I heard this, I seriously wondered about how important people were in this organisation. Business is still done between people, not between machines. Many large contracts are signed, not because the offer was the best, but because of the human aspect of the relationship between customer and supplier. When I hear someone say they don’t believe in their own people, then I seriously doubt ever becoming a customer of this company. How will they treat me? A good beginning for this man could just be to give business cards to his cleaning staff. They might feel more respected and start behaving differently, more positively.

Have a great networking day !

Jan


Second business card

January 27, 2007

I mentioned in a previous post that sharing your “50 words” with other people on the back of your business card might give you the opportunity to connect with them on another level. (I first saw the 50 word concept on the online business network Ecademy)

This is also something I tell in my networking training courses. But especially when it’s a training course for a large company (but also in open courses) participants respond that this is a very nice idea, but that this won’t work for them. The reason is that there are very strict rules regarding company image.

If you are in that situation, you might consider having a second business card that only mentions your 50 words (or whatever you want to share with people).
And this doesn’t have to cost you any money. The website www.vistaprint.com offers free business cards !

“What’s the catch?” you might ask. “Nothing is for free in this world”. And you are right. On the back of the free business cards you find the text “For free business cards go to www.Vistaprint.com” So don’t use this as your official and only business card. This is not good for your image. For a small extra fee you can have your own text on the back of the card.

Another reason for Vistaprint to do this is to get more visibility for their company and their other products that you have to pay for (which is in my opinion a nice idea, think about how you can do something similar for your organisation).

So don’t use a free business card as your official business card, but for your 50 words such a free business card is a nice solution !

To your networking success !

Jan


50 words

November 11, 2005

One of the things we try to do when we meet new people is to find common ground.

This is not always easy. Especially if the person you are talking to is not so at ease with talking to strangers.

One of the things you could do is turn things around: offer them some topics where you are interested in and have them choose what to talk about.

This sounds a little artificial and unusual, but it works!

An example of this concept are the 50 words in the profiles of the members of the online networking website Ecademy. You can browse through some profiles to see what I mean. You can start for example with mine and then look at the profiles of the people from my network.

This concept can also be applied to your business card. Just write your 50 words (or 30 in my case) on the back. You will experience that you have more things in common with strangers than you originally thought or at least have something to talk about!

Have a great networking day!

Jan


Business card exchange tip

October 29, 2005

When you have met someone and you both think it’s a good idea to exchange business cards, you can do something that will keep you remembered for a long while.

What is it?

Ask for 2 business cards of the other person. One for yourself and one to pass on to someone of your network.

Definitely try this. You will be surprised of the positive reactions of your contacts !

Success !

Jan


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