Super-charge Your Business Card

A recent post on the HBR blog, The Business Card Is Dead, Long Live the Business Card, got me to thinking. Too much thinking often leads one down paths better not taken. However, against my better judgement, I will share this particular dark and scary path.  Brace yourself.

Double doogie drat is what I said (well not what I exactly what I said) when I read the post and the comments.  Someone else did what I thought was so ingenious — put a QR code on my business card.  Now that the big secret is out, I will let GradBaruchian readers in on this stroke of dizzying brilliance.

Here’s the jist.  There are plenty of propeller heads out there (those on the bleeding edge of technology — aka early adopters) and there are plenty of geezers who like the tried and true (aka Luddites).  My personal opinion is to appeal to both types.  When I meet people and want to exchange information, I want a method that will appeal to BOTH propeller heads AND Luddites.  No sputnik or moonbeams here — the classic business card is still the medium.  I just add one dash of spice — a QR code.  Cool huh?!

Here’s how without going broke printing new crazy-expensive cards.

a) Get your business cards — duh.

1) Know QR codes — if you don’t know what these are, crawl out from under your rock and look around.  Check out wikipedia for a crash course.

2) Get your own QR Code — There are lots of generators out there.  Check out a google search.  Try one that works for you.  You can encode any text, e-mail or hyperlink to a web page or better yet, your LinkedIn profile.

Yeah so what.  Okay, okay, stick with me here.  I come from Scot-German stock that are so tight, we squeak as we walk.  Or as my father says, we are so cheap that when we squeeze a nickel the buffalo shits – or one may kindly say, we are frugal. Whatever you call it, my mishigas, is your benefit.  Read on.

3) Print your own QR code — Now armed with your very own QR code (download the image), all you need to do is print them on to Avery 5160 labels.  Use the mail merge option in word to create a whole sheet of labels.  Be careful to align it well.  QR codes need a bit of white space around them to work.

4) Cut the QR code — Be careful.  Take the cleanly trimmed label and precisely affix to your card.  On the front or back, whatever your want.  Be careful here.  Look closely at the image above. You will note that it’s crooked.  Learn from my boo boo and make yours look good.  You don’t get a second chance to make a first impression.

5) Tear up the networking session — Whip these bad boys out.  You WILL impress people.  You’ve got the propeller heads covered.  With an i-phone or droid, your info can be quickly scanned and imported on the spot.  Geezers will appreciate the tactile and marvel at the doodad on the back.

Let me now how you made out.  Or better yet, what improvements  you have.

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Comments
2 Responses to “Super-charge Your Business Card”
  1. QR-Codes on business cards can be incredibly tacky and only possibly useful in a narrow set of networking events. The whole point of these codes is to access information on the go. That is why these codes appear on fixed structures. Having it on a business card is unintuitive and unnecessary because the point of a business card is to give them out. There is no added benefit to someone who takes your card. What would be more impressive is to host a personal website on your own domain that works as a landing page for your linkedin profile, email, resume, blog, etc.

    - Sal

    • Thanks for your input. You make a good point. It confirms the universal rule you have to know your audience. Often just a QR-code would completely miss the mark. However, I’ve been at events where few had conventional business cards. Exchanges were made using smartphones, QR-Codes or modified thumb drives.

      I disagree with your aesthetic sense. A QR code puts your business card into the tools of today. A card with a code not only gives your new acquaintance the classic information, but also can instantly take this person to a LinkedIn page (or as you suggest, a personal website). For those with a unique high-profile name, that may not be such a bonus. For those with a common or hard to spell name, a direct and quick avenue would, IMHO, be a benefit.

      Thanks for commenting.

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