10 Tips for Biz Card & Networking Savvy

I dusted off a card scanner to begin scanning biz cards as a form of therapy (a light duty, stress free, painless, easy, no brainer). I began to scan away at about 700 business cards. Many were great and many woefully planned and designed. I also made some awful mistakes when networking. Here are 10 tips I jotted down while scanning away:

1. Do not take a business card that does not have the person’s name on it. Read the card before they get away. Write down their full name.

2. Write the date you met the person and the event on the business card. I had some cards where I put a partial date (forgot the year); put the date and not the event; or put the event and no date.

3. Have a business card that can be scanned. Some of the business cards in my stack were made of thick plastic; the same as a credit card. Some were all black and the text could not be scanned. One card was made of a weird vellum paper and it would not feed into the scanner.

4. Be sure to get the person’s cell phone number. Be sure to put your mobile phone number on your business card.

5. Think of us forty-plus something business people when you choose a font. One of the business cards was in a 4 point font. I could not read it without a magnifier. Luckily, the scanner could scan it. Nevertheless, be sure people can read your card without squinting.

6. If your company name is inserted in your logo, have it typed somewhere else again without the graphic. Company names in graphic logos did not scan.  I put it on the back of the card. Be sure to scan the front and back of business cards you collect.  Make great use of the back for listing your licenses, certifications, tag line, etc.

7. Choose paper that folks can write on. You cannot write on plastic or vellum or slick glossy paper.

8. Save a list of your notes from the business cards you collected into a word document. It will remind you of your marketing journey – all of the events, all of the networking. Study the list and ask yourself which events resulted in work, teaming, or other collaborations.

9. Ask yourself, which events are you drawn to? My firm is 6 years old. I looked back over the past 5 years. I am primarily drawn to small business development events such as trade fairs, match making/ partnering events, and government vendor outreach sessions. Next, over the years I have made my rounds to visit with decision makers in government agencies – procurement staff, program directors, department directors, project managers. Third, I lean toward urban planners, civil engineers, and economic development specialists. So, I have attended their trade meetings (annual conferences, luncheons).

10. Lastly, use this intelligence to develop your marketing plan for 2012. Plan out the entire 12 months. Make your rounds. Attend trade meetings, conferences, etc. What will it cost to participate? Registration fees? Travel transportation and hotels? Budget for it now!
By Clovia Hamilton, President, Lemongrass Consulting, Inc.

Clovia founded Lemongrass Consulting in 2005 with nearly 30 years of government work experience and serves as a procurement counselor in the Georgia Tech Procurement Assistance Center (GTPAC). Lemongrass Consulting provides strategic planning solutions including government contracting strategic marketing plans, intellectual property, social media marketing strategic plans, and other services. Contact Clovia at:
■ Web: http://www.lemongrassplanning.com/
■ Blog: https://cloviahamilton.wordpress.com/
■ LinkedIn: http://www.linkedin.com/in/cloviahamilton
■ Twitter: http://twitter.com/lemongrassplans
■ Email: chamilton@lemongrassplanning.com

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6 Responses to “10 Tips for Biz Card & Networking Savvy”

  1. Brandi Starr (@CassiusBlueCo) Says:

    I think #9 & #10 are the most important of what you listed here. No matter what city you live in there are an abundance of networking opportunities. It is important to evaluate which are most beneficial to you and to spend your time attending those. This is also key information to use when planning your marketing efforts (and budget).

    • cloviahamilton Says:

      Thanks Brandi – you’re right – it’s about what we ultimately do with the contact information we collect. We are going through the process of studying our contacts and honing our marketing strategy with the goal to optimize our budget. That’s especially important during this down economy – moving forward with a VERY tight fist over the purse strings.

  2. Teri Johnson Says:

    Thank YOU for sharing this post on the AW Group page…SO much from a business card can be priceless — LOVE all of your suggestions. I need to pay more attention, I’m one of those who cannot remember who the person was or where I met them…writing a note on the card is SO simple and keeping track of the events that were fruitful — GREAT stuff! Very helpful. =)

    Keeping it Personal,
    Teri Johnson

  3. Rusty LaGrange Says:

    Great advice. I sometimes stick a new card in my pocket and find it a week later with no clue why i have it. I need to start making a better effort to write info on it right away. And I try never to be a “blonde” and leave my biz cards on the kitchen counter before a networking event.

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