With paperless being all the rage, it’s still important to invest in professional business cards for your accounting firm staff.
AmEx Open Forum recently published an article that asked if it was time to ditch our paper business cards. It’s a valid question when so many other things are going paperless, including CPA firms. I haven’t quite ditched taking notes on paper, but I have started using my iPad for this purpose too. So why not?
I think we are still a long way from totally eliminating business cards. In every networking event I’ve attended, and the list is quite long, everyone is still expected to have business cards to distribute. When we do share cards, there is that split second of judgment based on the weight of the paper and quality of design. Don’t deny it, you do it too. I’m picky about this, and my company’s cards are on some seriously heavy stock. But you know what? People notice. Probably half of the time I give my card away the person comments on how sturdy my cards feel. I’m glad you noticed, because I certainly paid extra for that! But is it money well spent? I believe it is. By association, people think bbr marketing is a strong company, not a fly-by-night establishment.
The problem with most business cards is they wind up in a pile on your desk, so having them is completely useless. Entering them into your database, connecting to them on LinkedIn, and reaching out to these folks to set up a follow-up meeting are vitally important if you are going to make the most of your networking time investment. So how do you get those cards from your pocket into your database where they are actually useful? There are quite a few options beyond those I’ll mention here.
Business Card Reader also takes a photo of a business card and enters the data into the appropriate fields on your iPhone address book. If your address book links to your computer database, there’s nothing more you need to do.
Physical business card readers that integrate with Outlook have been around for a while, so they have come down in price too. One such scanner, the Penpower SWOCR0037 claims to be the smallest business card scanner around at $74. While this may work well for some, it’s hard to justify the expenditure when so many scanning apps are free, eh?
While I love beautiful business cards, I must admit that at some point they may fade into the sunset like phone books and MySpace. So if you want to be an early adopter, here are a few options to consider
- Cardcloud allows you to create as many cards as you like on your phone and share them easily without the need for the recipient to have an app. The cool thing is that these cards are intelligent and remember whom you met, when, where and how. I may just have to try this one out since I’m notoriously bad at remembering where I met someone.
- Bump allows you to pull up a contact and simply “bump” phones with another person to transfer it from one to the other. It works pretty well, but each phone has to have the app for it to work.
- SnapDat allows you to maintain the look and design of a real business card, just in a digital format. It also remembers where you received or sent the card and allows you to add personal notes to the contact too.
This is just scratching the very deep surface, but it does give us all a place to start. What do you think? Do you have any apps that you have found to work well? Any suggestions for our readers? We would love your input!