Everyone who deals in any kind of business is a victim of the dreaded Business Card Overload Syndrome, a huge pile of business cards just begging to be organized. Almost every business you deal with respectfully offers their business card so that you may be able to contact them more easily than scouring telephone books and web pages looking for contact information for hours on end.
Business cards are a great way to promote a business, form new connections, and store information. The problem with this form of record keeping is that it can tend to be a bit messy, unorganized, and not a very good use of valuable desk space. Card indexes and boxes do keep them in one spot and are fairly efficient at keeping them organized, but there are some other options that may be of more interest to the average business owner.
Card Scanner: The most versatile way to store business cards, the card scanner offers a variety of options and abilities and is available for anywhere from $ 60 all the way up to hundreds of dollars. For a basic scanner that is able to read the cards and create a database of information from them, the average cost is around $ 120 – $ 175. Most often, these readers work with both Windows and Mac operating systems and can take care of a lot of the tedious work involved in the organization process for you. Options such as multi-lingual capabilities, portable device compatibility, and synchronization to email programs make this type of organization a time saving, space saving, and sanity saving alternative.
Spreadsheet: Perhaps there are not enough business cards trading hands to justify the purchase of a scanner as mentioned above; this is where a spreadsheet program may come in handy. Setting up the information should be fairly simple with column titles such as “Name,” “Company,” “Phone Number,” etcetera, etcetera. One thing to remember when using this form of storage is that, unless you carry the file on a zip drive to take with you, all your contact information is on the computer. Any crashes, problems, or glitches that occur on the system can affect your ability to retrieve contact information. Make sure to have some sort of back up and continually update it as more information is added.
Card File: The good old-fashioned card file is dependable if you do not need to take the information with you. Available in many shapes and designs from the typical roll style to miniature file cabinets, card files keep the actual cards one place alphabetically or business type among other configurations. The downside to these is that they are not very portable and take up space on the desk.
No matter why type of storage device you choose, there are a couple things you should keep in mind when organizing your information.
Think about how you would best remember where to find the desired information. If you remember individuals better than company names, store them alphabetically by name. If you remember company names more efficiently, store them according to company name. Perhaps you deal with a variety of different fields of businesses and storing them according to type or area of business would be best.
Sometimes putting faces with names is a difficult thing. Jot down information on where and how you met the person and any important information you want to remember from your meetings.
The key is to keep the information in an easily accessible location and keep it updated. Make sure you have a back-up and that your chosen method suits your needs.The author is a contributor and specialist of small business software and solutions such as professional business cards. Please visit http://business-cards.choosewhat.com for more info on creating business cards online.