Do I Need a Business Card?
Is it necessary to have a business card? Everything is online now, do I really need a piece of paper to hand to people who won’t even bother to keep it? This is what many people think when they are starting up their business or professional career. While it sounds true we decided to look deeper and see what business cards really mean to us in 2016. To do that we will go back to the history of business cards and trace it forward to the modern days.
Origin of business cards
Business cards were invented in the 17th century in Europe. They were used by the nobility to announce their arrival. At that time business cards were shaped similar to playing cards. With time they became more and more elaborate, engraved with gold and typed with beautiful intricate scripts. By the 19th century business cards became a must to have for middle-class as well. Visitors were offered a card tray upon opening of the door and had to place their card on the tray as a matter of etiquette. At the same time trade cards were used by professional and craft people. They were handed when the work was done and included maps to get in contact with the person. Originally business cards were produced with wood presses. After 1830 they were created with lithography.
The Industrial Revolution made the business cards essential in exchanging contact information. That’s when business cards became business. At the same time it became almost impolite to hand a business card on the informal occasion.
In the 20th century business cards turned into an everyday attribute of business life. Business cards became simple and cheap, every new employee would automatically get a business card with their name, their title, the company and contact information. Every business person would have a collection of business cards from his colleagues, associates, business partners, prospective clients and organizations he dealt with. As time went by everybody ended up with a bunch of business cards they never needed and never used. So that brings us back to our original question, do business card still matter?
Do business cards still matter in 2016?
The answer is yes and here’s why:
Everyone’s memory is different. Some people can remember faces, others can remember numbers, some people can remember names, and others will remember smells and sounds. Have you had a situation when you got introduced to a person and by the end of the conversation you couldn’t remember their name? That’s when the business card comes in handy. It is not always appropriate or possible to take out your phone and record the person’s information in right away, but if you have their business card you can always do it later when you have the time.
Business cards make it easy to accomplish your business and professional goals. To sell successfully and get more business it is important to develop a beautiful mini presentation that will give an idea to anyone you meet about what you do and how well you do it. Have you ever had a situation when you suddenly noticed someone who could become a potential client or bring you new business in a place out of the usual meeting scene? It’s not always possible to make a person take out their phone and record your information. Make it easy for them and for yourself. Have your business card ready. Instead of looking for a piece of paper to scribble your info on, hand out your business card. It will make you look professional and let your potential client know you are real and legit.
When you hand your business card to somebody you just met it becomes a part of their impression about you and your business. Different people will remember different things about your appearance, your manners, your voice and information you shared with them. Your business card gives you control over their memory. It is a tangible physical object that the person you met will take with them. As everything you give to other people you want your business card to look stunning and to stand out. Different professions will have their business cards set up differently. With modern printing technologies your options are limitless. You can change the shape of your card. Make it thin, square, folded or add rounded corners. You can use different paper stocks for different applications. In addition to a traditional extra sturdy 14pt or 16pt card stock you can select color paper for white ink printing. Play with gloss, matte or soft touch coating options. Use spot gold, spot silver or spot gloss sleeking. It’s inexpensive and fun to create a business card that attracts attention.
After all said there is really no reason not to have a business card. Business cards are cheap, easy to carry around and give away. A well-made business card shows that you care about your business, it demonstrates your professionalism and tells people you know what you’re doing and you’re good at that.
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