It’s a sad truth. Many business owners have Networkingitis. It affects your your desk and desk drawers. Sometimes it impacts your bookcases, too. These areas become extremely inflamed and are marked by the tell tale sign of business cards oozing from just about every crevice and corner. Fortunately, this disorder is curable and in fact, there are several treatment options for every learning style and preference.
Ok, so this article is a bit tongue in cheek, but it’s not unusual to have your office overrun with business cards that you’ve received from people you’ve met at networking events or conferences. In fact, I will have to deal with this when I go to the NAPO Annual Conference next year.
So, what are you supposed to do with them once you have them? Here are a few tips to help you figure this out.
1. Jog Your Memory. One of the first things I do when I get a business card is to write on the back (or front) of the card where I met the person and one specific thing that will help me remember who they are. Why do I do this? I don’t know about you, but my memory isn’t what it used to be. After some time passes, I have no clue who the person is or why I wanted to keep in touch. By the way, you may want to send a follow up note to the people you received business cards from letting them know that you enjoyed talking with them. Do this a few days after meeting them and be sure to jog their memory with something specific you talked about.
2. Put Them Away. This is usually the hard part. You get home with a bag of cards and you’re tired and you put them in your office and then you walk away. Sound familiar? Try to put your cards away as soon as possible. Put them in a business card book , your Rolodex , or scan them directly to your computer using CardScan or Neat Receipts . You can also go low-tech and put them in business card sheets and store them in a binder. Group cards by event/date, industry, or in alphabetical order.
3. Shoebox Them. You could also let someone else scan them for you. Send your business cards (or receipts) to Shoeboxed.com and they will categorize and store them in an online account for you. They also have other features so check ’em out.
4. Recycle Them. When was the last time you called or e-mailed anyone who’s given you a business card? 6 months ago? A year ago? Think about it, if you called, you would have likely saved the number in your phone or other contact management system – which means you no longer need the card. If you haven’t called, it’s time for you to say goodbye to those cards and put them in your recycling bin. This will free up some room for a number that you really do need.