business cards roseanna sunley

I hate to be given a business card.

I hate to be asked for a business card.

…I just hate business cards.

They are no longer needed in today’s technology era and yet people think they need a business card in order to do business. 

You don’t need a business card – you need a customer!

Usually, when someone starts up in business for the first time and takes the entrepreneurial leap to go solo, one of the first things that they think they need are business cards.

They’ll waste a whole day designing them, making them look as pretty as possible, changing their minds over portrait or landscape, one-sided or two-sided.

They’ll scour the internet trying to find the right printer, and then waste about $50 on pieces of card that they believe makes them ‘professional’.

…all of this before they even have the foggiest idea about how they are going to acquire a customer!

For those of you who have handed out hundreds of business cards, how many people then proceeded to get in contact with you? I guess very few if not zero.

I know this because I’ve been there. Even when I have been very selective and only given cards to those who asked for them, hardly anyone put my business card to good use.

Reason #1 – Having a business card doesn’t make you ‘more professional’, it makes you like everyone else. Thus making you forgettable and boring.

Getting asked, ‘have you got a card?’

You’re at a networking event, you’re chatting with some random person, and they ask ‘have you got a card?’

Think to yourself, are they genuinely interested in contacting you? Or, are they just being polite and trying to seem interested in what you do? Usually, it’s the latter.

They’ll take your card and use it as a polite way to round up the conversation and move onto their next prospect.

You have a computer in your hand

If someone genuinely wants to contact me to do business, me not having a business card will not lose me that opportunity.

Instead, I can put my telephone number and email address directly into their smartphone. Heck, I can even take a selfie for them so they remember what I look like.

Do you see what just happened there?

Reason #2 – When doing business, you want to make the customer journey as easy as possible. By putting my telephone number straight into my prospect’s phone, I am cutting out a few steps of that journey. Therefore, increasing my chances that they will call me.

The possibility of them losing or misplacing my card is no longer a risk. I have gotten rid of that completely. They can call or email me at the touch of a button – they don’t even have to type anything in.

This is especially great for email addresses (especially if you have a difficult to spell name, like mine) as it removes the risk of them typing it incorrectly and sending your email off into cyber-space, never to be seen again.

Do you have a Rolodex?

For those of you lucky enough to be under the age of 20, you may not even know what a Rolodex is.

Basically, it’s a rotational filing system for business or index cards. The idea being that when you are given a business card you add it to your Rolodex in alphabetical order so you can go back to reference it again should you need to.

I’m going out on a limb here, but I am guessing that very few people nowadays have a Rolodex. I know that it wasn’t part of my Christmas list last year.

Therefore, what do you do when you are given a business card?

Reason #3 – Business cards get binned!

Most business cards that get handed out go straight into the bin. Or, the person may leave it on their desk for a while, throw it into the back of a draw, find it a few months later, and then bin it.

I’ve been given hundreds of business cards from numerous events that I have attended, and I have no idea what happened to them all. (I hope I recycled them, wasting all this paper is not good for our planet.) 

A website is your ultimate business card

If you want to find a telephone number for a company or get a quote for a service, where do you go? That’s right, good old Google and the world-wide-web. Regardless of how many business cards you have stuffed down the back of your draw, you still turn to the internet first.

Reason #4 – If you are starting a business and you’re more worried about making sure that you have business cards than a website, you need to have a serious re-think. The internet is your new Yellow Pages and you can get on it for free!

On your business card, you can include your name, position, telephone number, email, address, company name, and logo. If you’re lucky, you can also include a strapline and a small bit of information telling people how you can help them. But that’s pretty much it.

On a website, you can include all the above, plus so much more! Testimonials, case studies, photographs of completed work – basically anything and everything that can prove you are the right person for the job and they’re in the right place.

…and the best part is, with a website you’re already floating around in everyone’s pockets!

Example: Let’s say I’m looking for an accountant. I’ve lost track of how many business cards I have got from accountants but I immediately turn to the internet. I peruse a few websites trying to find an accountant that I believe will best suit me and what I’m after. I go to their contact page, click their telephone number and my phone automatically dials it – I don’t even have to type it.

The prize draw

This is the only positive point that I can think of about having a business card.

When going to various events and networking, there is usually a prize draw. Throw your business card into a bowl and one will be picked out at random kind of thing.

It’s the one thing that I miss out on due to not having a card and I can hardly chuck my iPhone in there. But I do sometimes manage to scribble my contact details on an index card and throw that in instead – although I am yet to win.

These competitions are usually run so that the host can collect everyone’s data. By giving them your business card they can collate a customer list of people who have paid to attend their events. They can use that data to stay in contact with customers and market new events to them. But to this day, no one has ever used my business card to re-market to me – funny that!

Obsolete

Business cards are no longer needed. You can find all the information you need online if it’s not already on your phone’s contact list. I genuinely think that business cards are just an outdated custom.

Most people use them to feel more important, more professional, or to help give them a greater status when they reach inside their jacket and say, ‘here, take my card’ in their best James Bond voice – get over yourself, it’s a piece of paper with your name on it.

If you meet someone that you would like to do business with and they ask for your card, just get them to put your number straight into their phone!

Throwing business cards around aimlessly at people is like throwing shit to a fan and hoping some of it will stick.

Roseanna x 

What are your thoughts on business cards? Do you think they are still needed in the modern business world?

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Roseanna
Currently winging my way through life and putting most of it on the internet. This is my personal website where I share my business book reviews, my adventure tips and stories, and my general musings on life as a solo entrepreneur.

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1 Comment

  1. Hi Roseanna,

    Totally agree with each and every one of your points about why business cards should be binned, as you express it. It’s true that 88% of business cards are trashed within one week of being exchanged. Yes, talk about a waste of natural resources! Our planet does indeed suffer, which of course effects us all.
    One great alternative to combat these detrimental effects of business cards is to go with paperless business cards. A startup company called Squiqr (squiqr.com) is working to not only save trees, but to also plant a tree for every traditional paper business card switched to Squiqr Pro. Based on all of your points above, I think you and your readers may be really into this option. Here is some more info about it: https://squiqr.com/go-paperless-with-squiqr-pro-the-new-digital-business-card/
    Thanks so much for sharing!

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