How to Organize Business Cards

3 Jul


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Contact information is fundamental to networking and business communications. When you receive a business card, take the time to make sure it ends up somewhere that you can find the information again when you need it. Whether you own your own business or just network a lot, by organizing your business cards, you’ll be able to find people quicker, which can lead to more sales and more money in your pocket. Here are some ideas on how to organize your business cards.

Steps

  • Look at the business card as soon as you receive it. Reading the business card is a good way to remember someone’s name and connect it with their face. The person’s title is usually printed on a business card, too, meaning that you have one more clue about who they are and what they do.
  • Have a place to put business cards that you receive. If you carry a notebook or bag with you to meetings, set aside a place in it for business cards. Or, use the second pocket on your own business card carrier to collect cards you receive. Whatever you do, don’t stick them in your notes willy-nilly or stuff them in a pocket where they’ll go missing or go through the wash.
  • Organize contact information on your computer. When you return from a business lunch, trade show or meeting, immediately put the business cards you received in a safe place, such a desk drawer or something out of the reach of other people is ideal. When you have time, grab all the business cards that have piled up in your desk drawer, and type all of the information into Outlook, Excel, Access or even Word.
  • Use a “Notes” field or column that goes with each business card’s electronic file. Note down any information that wasn’t on the card: what they do, what information or prospects they offered, when you met them, and so on.
  • Create a rating system for great business contacts, so-so or potential business contacts and those that you’ll probably never talk to again. You could use a numbering system: all 1s are great, 2s are so-so and 3s you’ll never talk to, or you could use a creen, yellow and red stoplight system respectively. Use a system you won’t forget so that you can categorize your contacts.
  • Arrange the contacts the way you need them. You could alphabetize by last name, or you can also categorize by alphabetical order of name or company; city where you met the person if you travel often; or by category of industry. This way you can just type in the info you know into a Search box and come up with a list of contacts qualified for your search.
  • Many computer contact organization systems can sort contacts any way you need them and make them searchable, in case you can only remember some part of what’s there. If you can use one of these systems, you can save yourself a lot of manual filing.
  • Organize business cards the old-fashioned way. Keep the cards in a Rolodex or business card holder. You can find business card holders in office supply stores.
    • The old-fashioned way, even if it consists of a rubber band in your desk drawer, can be a good backup for the computerized information.
    • You’ll have to decide how you want to organize your business cards: by name, company, city, etc.
  • Whenever you get a new business card, write down the name of the place where you met the person on the back of the business card within a few days of meeting. This way, you won’t forget. Also jot a brief note on the back about what you talked about. Then when you contact the person later, you can remind him where you met and ask how his kids are doing, or whatever you talked about.

Tips

  • Don’t let unprocessed business cards pile up. Type them in or file them at least once per week, before you forget who you met and why.
  • Follow up promptly if you promised something or if someone sounded interested.
  • If you get a lot of business cards, look into software to help manage them. Business card scanners exist, as does software that will actually read a paper business card and pick out the information on it. These could save you a lot of manual data entry.
  • If you need to know more about your business contacts than just their names and phone numbers, look into software packages designed for contact or customer information management.

Warnings

  • If you keep your contacts on your computer, back up the file(s) regularly, so that you don’t lose them in case your computer or hard drive fails. Automate this backup, if possible.

Article provided by wikiHow, a wiki how-to manual. Please edit this article and find author credits at the original wikiHow article on How to Organize Business Cards. All content on wikiHow can be shared under a Creative Commons license.

6 Responses to “How to Organize Business Cards”

  1. Gwyneth August 6, 2011 at 9:16 am #

    How you organize the cards will be whatever works best for you. Maybe organizing them alphabetically will help you the most while others might like to organize things based on different industries and so on.

  2. Kate Wilson August 13, 2011 at 11:47 pm #

    Another great tips. I have my own collections of business cards too.

  3. Tifanny Fane November 6, 2011 at 2:12 am #

    I organize business cards so that I can easily find my contacts.

  4. Terry Ryan November 12, 2011 at 9:46 pm #

    I am looking for a good software in where I can encode my business card contacts.

    • Brian Richmond November 20, 2011 at 5:21 am #

      Me too. Currently I am encoding them using excel worksheet.

  5. Henry Fisher December 4, 2011 at 3:41 am #

    Hi! Thank you for sharing us this useful tips about organizing business cards.

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