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Say Goodbye To The Business Card

by Ilya Pozin -

Your post-networking event business card collection may feel noteworthy, but when they get pushed to the back of your desk drawer, they may not be as valuable as you once thought. Be honest: How often do the business cards you receive get put to use?

Take my mentor Tom Antion, for example. He doesn’t use any business cards. Why not? If people need to reach him and it’s that important, they will find a way. As for me, I haven’t had business cards for many years either. Instead, I make a point to ask my new connection to email me. (When I respond, I include my full contact information.)

It’s become normal to see people at networking events in L.A. using their phones to collect contact information right there on the spot. Fast-forward a few years, and it won’t be surprising to find Google Glass-wearing techies exchanging contact information by looking at each other.

Skip the formal and mindless business card exchange if you really want to develop a professional relationship with a new contact. Consider these business-card alternatives:

Use Your Inbox

There’s nothing worse than having to scour your inbox for the contact information of someone you need to call quickly. But with the help from WriteThat.Name, I’ve remedied this annoying task. This helpful tool acts as a personal email assistant to keep all of your contacts automatically updated.

WriteThat.Name scans the signatures of the people you’re emailing, extracts their information, and merges it with contacts on your email and phone. Easy, right? The best part of this tool is that your contacts aren’t just on your phone–they’re also kept safely in the cloud.

At your next meetup, keep things simple by asking new contacts to shoot you an email prior to saying goodbye. This method can be easily implemented with WriteThat.Name and is also a great way to ensure you never miss a chance to follow-up with someone you’ve met.

Let Your Smartphone Do The Work

If you prefer a software solution rather than a business card, Bump might be the app for you. Available for iPhone and Android, this app takes the work out of networking by transmitting information from your phone to your computer. It might be a challenge if you’re looking to Bump contact information from someone who doesn’t have it downloaded–but with 125 million Bump downloads so far, the odds are relatively good you’ll find someone with the same app.

If you’re not quite ready to go completely cardless, try LinkedIn’s CardMunch app. It turns physical business cards into virtual contacts. By snapping a picture of a business card you’ve collected, the picture is immediately converted to a contact. The magic part of this app: It also links contact information directly to your new connection’s LinkedIn profile.

Business cards may not have completely disappeared, but they’re definitely on the way out.

These are just a few alternatives –what do you use?

Image courtesy of Tricia Wang; Flickr

About Ilya Pozin:

Founder of Open Me and Ciplex. Columnist for Inc, Forbes & LinkedIn. Gadget lover, investor, mentor, husband, father, and ’30 Under 30′ entrepreneur. Follow Ilya below to stay up-to-date with his articles and updates!

 

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How To Make The Most Out Of Networking Events

Networking is really important for any businessperson or freelancer. It is a great way to build relationships and even meet potential customers. But unless you know how to make the most out of these networking events they can end up wasting your time. Thus it is important to ensure you know some of the best ways to help you make the most out of participating in these events.

Go With A Clear Focus Of Achieving Something

Before the networking event takes place it is essential you understand the purpose of the event and set yourself a few simple goals. This will ensure you don’t just attend the event and treat it like a social gathering but you will benefit your business by attending the event.

Make sure you also have enough details and stories in your head to tell to other people about your work and your history. This will help you remember the key points to mention. Don’t rehearse the points as a set of answers or phrases as this might come off a bit too planned. Instead, just have the key points in mind so you always have something attractive to offer to people you talk with.

Mingle With A Lot People

It is also important you talk to as many people as possible during the night. But don’t just rush around the event, introducing yourself to everyone and then moving on to the next target. As The Undercover Recruiter points out it is important you engage in meaningful discussion with people and show them you are interested in their ideas instead of just handing out your business card to everyone.

If possible you can think about the people that might be attending beforehand and try meeting people that can really help you out with your business. Don’t spend too much time talking with people you are already in close contact with but focus your energy into meeting new people.

Make Sure You Share Your Information

You also need to keep handing out your business and contact information to new people you meet. Thus make sure you have a proper business card to give out. It is really important you focus on creating a professional looking business card. Make sure it is a simple design that includes all the key information.

It is also a great idea to join the major social media networks like Twitter. You should also join Enthuse to add a professional profile to your business card. The site is a great way to build your portfolio and have an effective online profile.

Stay In Touch

You also need to do a few things after the networking event to ensure you make the most out of it. Go through all the business cards you collected and get in touch with the people you feel could really benefit your business. Send them an e-mail or even give a call in a few days time and ensure you can build a great business relationship.

With these simple tips you can make the most out of networking events and really ensure they give you an extra boost to your business.

Featured images:

Fiona is a skiing-enthusiast who loves to help out new freelancers break their way into the competitive world of freelancing. When she isn’t typing away on her computer or daydreaming about the upcoming winter she can be found at the local library reading about Egyptian history.

 

 

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The Pros And Cons Of Business Cards For Small Businesses

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The traditional business card harkens from an era where a firm handshake and a “call me tomorrow to discuss” paved the way to a signed contract. Despite today’s proliferation of digital communications, for some businesses a traditional card still makes sense. Weighing whether to go digital to stick with the paper? Here are some pros and cons for leaving an impression with a printed business card.

 

The Pros

For many small business owners, marketing doesn’t come naturally. A business card is a simple and established way to network and get your small business known in the community. Here are some other advantages:

  • Deliver Important Information: A business card is meant to provide vital information about your business, including phone number, address and website. These details can help prospective customers find your business easily.
  • Create a Positive First Impression: Delivering a very practical and convenient marketing tool, the business card can help you make a great and lasting first impression.
  • Save Time: Handing over a business card takes less time than writing down your phone number, address and website.
  • It’s Inexpensive: Ordered in large quantities, business cards deliver some of the most inexpensive marketing tools you can find today. A business promotion expense, the printing and design fees can be written off on your taxes and paid for using your company’s business prepaid debit card.
  • It’s Effective: Although digital business cards are becoming more popular, many business owners prefer having something physical to hand out to potential customers they face to face. Business cards are especially effective if you’re in an offline or creative industry. Graphic design firms, arts and crafts companies, and painting services can showcase their unique talent and service in the design of a printed business card.

 

A Few Cons

You’ve worked hard to start your own business and are no doubt excited to promote it any way you can. It’s important to consider the appropriate channels to promote your business, and business cards may not always be the best solution.

 

  • Cost: It’s true that business cards are inexpensive, especially when ordered in large quantities. However, small businesses typically don’t need thousands of business cards at one time. Ordering business cards in small quantities can make them quite expensive. Additionally, there are situations when business information changes. This implies additional costs because you have to replace your old business cards with new ones. Business cards that stay in boxes whether because of excessive quantity or outdated information are simply a wasted expense.
  • Accessibility: Another essential drawback consists of the fact that you may forget to take your business cards with you. In this case, the only thing you can do is to write your telephone number and address on a piece of paper, which is quite unprofessional.
  • Organization: Consider your card recipient’s preferred way of networking. As people adopt digital forms of saving contact information, the business card may become a cumbersome requirement of time and file organization.

Being aware of the disadvantages related to business cards, more and more business owners opt for digital business cards, which deliver a fantastic way to showcase products and services. However, experts advise businesspeople to use these alternatives only to complement the paper business card, which remains the most valuable tactile reminder of a company.

Marilyn Smith specializes in covering the latest news of interest to small business owners, including business prepaid debit cards.

 

 

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What is a Business Postcard and Does Your Business Need One?

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Every business owner knows that marketing is crucial to the success of your business. However, like most business owners in today’s tight economy, marketing budgets are smaller than desired, and what you do purchase must have a real impact on the potential client. Selecting marketing material that will set your business, service or product apart is what will give you an advantage over your competitors. It must be something memorable, it must be something colorful, and it must be something affordable.

The 4×6 Inch Card

One of the most effective and affordable marketing tools available are 4×6-sized cards. These postcards, created in full color and printed on a very high quality stock, can be used to pass out to potential clients in place of a business card, mailed out to potential clients, or used as a insert in local newsletters and publications.

The larger format cards can be designed to include pictures of your business, your product or the effects of your service. Offering so much more space and creative potential than a business card, they have multiple uses.

The Possibilities Are Endless

Every kind of business can benefit from these marketing tools. Photographers and art galleries can create beautiful postal sized cards to showcase works of art that are available or important gallery openings. Real estate companies can use them to promote their office or their sales reps. Retail centers can create beautiful 4×6 cards to distribute to promote special sales or new inventory.

The Results Are Fabulous

Standard business cards are a great reminder for people that want to use you for business in the future. However, postal-sized cards give the potential client a visual of what to expect from your company and it stimulates all of their senses. When their senses are stimulated, as any good marketing professional knows, people are more likely to react positively with a purchase because they want to fill the desire they have created within themselves for the product or service.

Better Marketing Budgets

From the financial aspect of marketing, mailing cards create a way for businesses to reach a large amount of people with a very limited cost. All businesses need to watch their advertising budgets, and using 4×6 cards can help these businesses meet these goals.

Postal cards can be printed in any quantity, with large amounts receiving better prices. Because they are easy to design and simple to produce, they can also be changed often to continue to meet the needs of the business. Once you have created a card, you are not “stuck” with that design. You are free to change it as often as necessary so that you always have the highest results from your efforts.

All businesses from every industry can and will benefit from using 4×6 cards to market their business. In fact, once you see the incredible results you receive from this marketing tool, you may wonder how you were ever successful without them.

Using postcards to help advertise her own art business, Ann Bailey relays these marketing tips for other small business owners. The online ordering company, Signazon(dot)com, offers easy set-up and design templates for quick card design, and takes care of all production so your company’s professional 4×6 advertising cards come ready to mail.

 

Photo Credit: http://www.flickr.com/photos/familymwr/5548053540/

 

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What Your Business Cards Says About You

What Your Business Cards Says About You

Business CardsLike many things in life, all business cards are not created equally. For this reason, it is essential that you truly think about what you want your business card to say about your business when you are creating it with an online printer. After all, your business card is much like a good hand shake. In fact, it is a business card that usually allows someone to form their first opinions about you and more importantly your business. Keep reading below to avoid making business card mistakes that can allow people to develop a poor opinion of your business.

Create High-Quality Business Cards Online

The best way to impress your customers, potential customers, and those you are going to network with is to make sure you wow them with a high-quality business card the very first time you meet them. In order to be considered high-quality, a business card should not look like it was hastily put together. For this reason, you must take the time to proofread and edit your business card template. A quality online publisher will take care of using quality products and centering the information, but it is the business owner‘s responsibility to make sure everything is spelled correctly, and that all phone numbers and contact information is correct.

Negative Effects of  Poor Business Cards

Consequently, if your business card contains noticeable errors, your customers and contacts will notice, which will give them a negative reaction to your business. In fact, customers and networks may think that you rush through your work and can’t be bothered with details if you pass out a business card with erroneous information. Also, if you try to create the business cards yourself on a home printer, they will likely look cheap, and unprofessional, which will reflect poorly on your business.

For the reasons listed above, it is incredibly important that you take the time to proof your business card template, and order from a high-quality online business card publisher.

Positive Effects of Stellar Business Cards

On the other hand, if your business card immediately wows customers, potential customers, and network contacts, you will make a great first impression on these people. A great first impression means that when the need arises, people are likely to contact you first.

Don’t miss out on an opportunity to grow your business by passing out less than stellar business cards. Instead, make sure you deal with a quality online printer who will ensure that your business cards are professional and useful.

Once you have created the perfect business card for your business, make sure to choose an online printer who will save your information for you. This way you don’t have to recreate your information every single time you need a fresh batch of cards.

Featured images:
  •  License: Image author owned

Guest post by David Dobson – Using my 30 years of experance in the printing industry to pass on information on business card printing

 

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How To Make Your Business Card Stand Out

Empty business card with diary and penNetworking remains one of the best ways to get your name out into the professional world. Even with social media, personal contact and meetups with new consumers, clients, or business partners is essential. Having a business card in hand can provide these potential contacts with all your personal information. However, for each contact you make, the ore your name is competing with other potential customers or clients. Here are tips to make your business cards stand out from others.

Visual Stimulation
A simple business card with your name and contacts does not stipulate people enough to remember you in a large stack of business cards. Try to add style to your card with graphics, a picture of yourself, or a picture that can start a conversation. In addition, the business card could show examples of your brand, the goods you sell, or the services you provide so a contact can associate you and your card with your specific niche. Using bold colors and having a good finish and feel to the material of the card will also help.

List all Pertinent Contacts
Do not bombard the contact with a business card that has dozens of ways to contact you. Do not list your cell phone, several e-mail addresses, your website, your social media accounts, your blog and your fax number. Instead, only list all the platforms you use the most for communications. Also, try to list contacts that might get potential clients or consumers interested in your brand. Your blog or video channel might be more interesting to put on the card since these websites can help the client see what your brand or business is all about.

Social Media Connections
A good business card should list the pertinent social media accounts you are on. Since social media is becoming a prominent vehicle for business, showing any contact that you have a social media presence shows that you are maintaining unique business communications with consumers. Examples may include a Facebook page address for your brand or business, a Twitter account for your tweets, a YouTube channel for your videos, a Pinterest board for all your media, etc. Try not to list too many social media connections on the card since there is not enough space. In addition, only list business social media accounts, especially if you want to keep your personal profiles private.

Craft Cards for Events
Instead of having a pile of business cards to provide at any encounter, you should have a set of cards you provide for specific events. More casual, networking events can include more relaxed cards that are graphics rich. More professional events may require cards with staple attributes, like a business logo, professional fonts, and strong logos.

Create Unique Cards
Sometimes a plain old business card does not cut it. To really stand out from others, many professionals craft unique packages with contact information. You can create little brochures or tiny notebooks that explain yourself and your brand. In addition, you can provide clients office goods that have your brand and contact on them, like a notepad or post-it-notes with your brand name and contact information.

Featured images:

John Lucas, is an aspiring business entrepreneur. For his social events, he relies on http://www.eprintfast.com/ for affordable online printing service.

 

 

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