The reading level for this article is Moderate
“I enjoyed our conversation. Have you got a card? Here’s mine. I’ll email you.”
Let me tell you why this phrase can change your life, and why a business card file (or book) can be essential to your new business.
That is the most difficult phrase to remember to say repeatedly when you’re a new entrepreneur. Especially if you’re fairly young and new to the business of, well, business.
Making contacts with people is essential. In fact, it’s how many of your professional partnerships, friendships, and ideas get off the ground. You don’t have to be a social butterfly to get your name out there, but you should get a business card and remember the above phrase.
I’ll break down for you what that phrase means, word by word.
What you’re saying: “I enjoyed our conversation.”
What you’re doing: Showing your appreciation and interest in the other person. I entered a new school when I was 12 years old. Of everything that happened there, I distinctly remember the first day there when my classmate turned to me and said, “Kim, I’m really happy we discussed student council! Do you want to come with me to the interest meeting?” By telling me that she enjoyed what I had to say, and establishing a common interest, I developed a great friendship.
In entrepreneurship, the same theory applies. Show that you have an active interest in what the other person has to say, tell them you enjoyed your conversation or discussion. It sends them the messege that you are interested, paid attention to what they had to say, and that you want to get in contact with them in the future.
What you’re saying: “Have you got a card?”
What you’re doing: Indicating that you are interested in contacting with them in the future. Asking for a card, even though it seems basic, is something that a lot of new, fledgling entrepreneurs don’t do for whatever reason. For a lot of very young upstarts, somehow asking for a card seems intimidating, stuffy even.
A lot of people put lots of time and energy into their business card design. For the most part, people love giving their cards away.
The business card is your source of the other person’s contact information, should you need to get in contact with them in the future.
What you’re saying: “Here’s my card.”
What you’re doing: Giving the other person a way to get into contact with you, reciprocating. You never know who knows who. Get your name out there. Sometimes the most unlikely people have connections or ties to someone you may want to develop relationships with in the future. Or they might not. You never know. Show this person that you want them to contact you and give them your card. Make sure all of your information is current, and that it also includes an email address.
What you’re saying: “I’ll email you.”
What you’re doing: Taking the next step toward building a professional business relationship or friendship. Make sure that you actually email the other person. It
doesn’t have to be an elaborate email at all. Simply include your name, the date and place you met the person, and a quick recap of your conversation.
Here’s a sample email:
“Hi Juilianna! I enjoyed our meeting at the Los Angeles Country Club on Monday, March 14th, 2005. I found your insights on marketing interesting. I’ll keep you updated when my company, ABC Computers, has an upcoming event. From, Kim Grant, ABC Computer”
The Infamous Business Card Book.
Mine is avocado green. I got it at a small stationary store for $3.99. It holds 240 business cards and is at 80% capacity. I refer to it daily. I keep it under the front passenger seat of my car, and I never go to a business meeting without it. My business card book became “Infamous” when my buddy at college noticed that for every single social event I hosted, I would refer to that business card file almost compulsively. For one particular event, the Infamous Business Card Book never left the safety of my handbag for 2 weeks.
- A business card file is essentially a constantly updating reminder for me of who I’ve met, where I’ve met them, and (because it’s roughly divided into Business, Events, and Personal) who can help me when I need them the most.
- It teaches you self-discipline. Pick out a business card book of your own, commit to keeping it somewhere accessible, and every single time you get a card from someone, write down the date and where you met the person then place it in the business card book.
Once a year, I weed through the business card book and update contact information. Then I send people emails, or leave a short voicemail if I think I’ll need to stay in touch.