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What are business cards really for?

 My new business cards were delivered (courtesy of Moo) today.  It’s the first time I’ve had to design and order my own cards, previous jobs were with employers who got them made for me.  Business cards are essential if you run a business, which is of course simply stating the blindingly obvious. But you imagine talking to someone, explaining what you did, and them asking for a card and your reply: ‘I’m sorry I don’t have any’. They would immediately assume you were either incompetent or not really in business at all, so unthinkable is it not to have a square card in your pocket with your name printed on.

Business cards are persisting well into the Internet era. Twitter, facebook, blogs like this are not killing them off. The simple action of being able to give someone a card to put in their pocket seems resistant to digital incursion. True there are apps for your smartphone which allow you transfer a digital business card onto a prospects phone, but my advice is to ignore these and go with the majority and get some cards printed. After all by the time you’ve fiddled with your app to get it to transfer your data, your contact will have either got bored, or somebody else with have come up to them and trumped you by handing an old school business card straight into their welcoming palm.

There is a final reason for having business cards, one related not to interfacing professionally with people you are looking to do business with, but rather to how you see yourself.  Starting a new business is not easy, and doubts about whether you are doing the right thing, whether it is going to succeed, whether anyone ever will decide that they want to pay you some money for doing something will flit through your head on a regular basis.  Getting a business card is a small step towards combatting these doubts. That small square of card is an inbuilt confidence boost, and rectangular reminder that your business is real, that you are doing the right thing and you are going to make a success of it.

At least that’s how I’m viewing my business cards at the moment.