ARRGH! Business cards

As I shared with you last week, I am attending many networking events, trying to connect with potential clients and, just as important, potential referrals.  I attend these events, and depending on the structure, I meet anywhere from 3 to 20 people for the first time.  During these initial conversations, there is the exchange of business cards.  I generally wait until I am asked for mine, rather than work the room by shoving cards in people’s hands.  Even if I have no immediate need for what they are offering, I keep the card.  I believe in paying it forward.  If someone asks me if I know someone that does “x” or “Y,” I hope to be able to retrieve the information and make a referral.

Here is my problem:  I return to the office.  I mark on each card the date and event that I meant the card owner.  Now I have a pile of cards in my desk, literally hundreds and hundreds, that I don’t know what to do with.  I am looking for a scanner that will add them to my address book.  Even with a scanner, I will need to review each scan and make notes on where I met them and something about their goods or services if it is not obvious.  I also know that in about a year, at least 10% will no longer be accurate.

If there is someone that I am really serious about being connected to, I try to connect through social media, preferably Linkedin®.  People tend to keep their business contact information up to date on social media and I can search for specific types of businesses.

Years ago, when PDA’s (personal digital assistants), the precursor to the smart phone, came out, the manufacturers claimed that the business card would be obsolete in the near future.  I bought my Sharp Wizard® in 1992 and my Palm Pilot in 1998.  The business card is still around and the Wizard and Palm Pilot are relics.  We just love the ritual of exchanging these little paper scraps.  We love looking at the designs and looking at the information that is being shared.  Looks like we have not solved the problem of the mounds of cards that accumulate in our desk drawers.

Welcome comments and suggestions.