Imagine the scene – you meet someone in a restaurant or randomly in a cafe and realise there are commonalities and potential business opportunities. You exchange details and proudly present each other with your business cards. This is not a scenario from the 80s or 90s but 2016. In an era where we carry connected phones and can add people to our social networks in a heartbeat, we’re still swapping cards.
The why is of course something we will address in the article. But in short (and it pains me to say it), any new startup needs business cards and make good, distinct cards. Don’t go with something boring!
The lack of a business card was something I noticed quite early on in having a negative impact. After speaking to a person, I’d initially go straight to my phone to add via LinkedIn but the hassle of it seemed totally not worth the effort. The norm was to swap cards, move on and do that adding bit later. Thankfully I received cards so contacts weren’t a total loss. But there was a sort of lack of respect in not having a card. Is the idea of not having business cards a reflection on the seriousness of your venture or even you?
Those would be some serious accusations but we come back to ideas of vanity and image and can deduce that this perception is very much the case. And this is so prevalent that there is no option but to join the horde.
A business card is essentially the first impression you are giving to the person you are conversing with. We say not to judge a book by it’s cover, but the stylistic choices you make are key in determining if you stand out and are remembered. This is more so if the contact you’ve had is brief.
It also reflects the type of company you are. If you are a consultant you are probably needing something that shows that. Perhaps as an engineer working as a lone wolf that choice is perceived not so important? Another slightly bizarre observation I had was the idea that a card means you actually have a business and are open for work….
The saddest part of it all? I am falling into that trap myself. At a meetup the other day, I was proudly showing an acquaintance my new card and discussing the design choices made. Totally ridiculous and shallow, yet it happened. I have succumbed!
So yes, business cards are totally pointless in 2016, yet there is a quiet delight in them. Some traditions don’t die so easily!