Fortune Cookie Friday: A Card in the Hand
Hello, readers! I’m going to do something a little different today. We’re going to play a little game. It’s a simple game, and you’re probably already a winner. Let’s get started.
Do you currently have a mobile phone or digital device within reach?
Most likely you do, mainly because you are probably reading this post on one right now. If you were savvy enough to print this out before reading it somewhere else, then thanks. You must like what I write enough to put it onto paper.
Right now, wherever you’re sitting or standing, do you have a pen?
No cheating, now. If you have a pen, great. I almost always have a pen within reach, because I never know when an idea will pop into my head, and I will need to write it down. There is a limited amount easily accessible space in my brain these days. If you don’t have a pen nearby, consider keeping one within reach for similar circumstances.
Do you carry business cards to give out to prospective customers, clients, or even for networking?
Again, if you do, that’s great. If you don’t, let me explain how a simple 3.5-inch x 2-inch piece of stock paper with your information on it can be a handy thing to hand out.
A Little History
Business cards have been around for a long time in some form or another. The earliest examples were called “Visiting Cards,” that first appeared in the 15th century in China. These self-promotional cards were sent out to request a meeting, and usually, describe how fabulous a person was. They were also sent to elicit an invitation from elite establishments.Later, in the 17th century, European elites reveled in using similar cards. They used their ornately decorated cards for various social interactions, such as business dealings and even dates. Soon merchants took to using similar cards called, “Trade Cards” as miniature advertisements for their businesses. Many had promotional information on one side and a map to the location of the company on the other side.
Today, you’d be hard pressed to find anyone serious in their trade without a business card. Business cards are one of the least expensive forms of advertising a person can buy. They can also give us great results.
As a business owner and independent contractor, I usually carry a couple of cards around with me. There have been many times when I wasn’t expecting to network but was glad I had a little stash of cards in my bag.
With the advent of social sites and apps, Some people are ditching paper business cards for electronic versions in their smartphones, but that’s just data.
I could quickly send someone to my Facebook page or website on their device, but giving them a card is much more personable. The tangibility of the card can renew the memory of someone we met, as opposed to searching them out on the internet or scrolling through a list of names on our devices.
A card is also something that people will usually look at more than once. We inspect them when we first receive them and again when we decide to take them out of our wallets. That second glance could lead to a great opportunity for a business.
Now, a business card doesn’t have to be the standard rectangle. Some businesses use unique shapes and sizes. Round and oval cards might fit into our wallets, but they are great at standing out in a stack of boxy ones.
Some cards have multiple uses. Many authors and illustrators use bookmarks as unique business cards to advertise their latest work, and themselves. Photographers create similar cards with their photographs. If you have a knack for art or design, a business card with your work printed on it can be informative and beautiful.
Sometimes we have more information than we can fit on a card. It is nice to have the contact information, but we can also put a QR code on the business card. Scanning this two-dimensional barcode with a smartphone will take the reader straight to the business website.
Having a business card can be handy for future relations since we never know whom we will run into. Our business cards are like mini billboards. With a little bit of creativity, we can advertise ourselves and our businesses to anyone that passes by.
***If you happened to have all the items from the three rounds, you win 50 Purple Pony Points! They don’t have any value; it’s just fun to say.