As I was preparing for our family Christmas celebrations I was collecting a number of business cards from stores, suppliers and people I met along the way. I was going to wrap a rubber band around them and throw them in my desk draw until the New Year and then thought better of it – I may have need to to contact one of these people leading up to the holidays, and if I don’t organise the cards immediately, I could have lost one in the pre-Christmas chaos!
My own system for organising business cards of people who are not clients is a spreadsheet. Yes, I could keep them in a folder specifically for business cards, and when it becomes full buy another one, however I find my system easier to manage and sort.
A spreadsheet allows you to add additional information, categorise cards and sort based of regions or categories. I set my spreadsheet up as follows:
Company | Name | Position | Phone | Email | Details | Category
‘Company’ is entered first, as it is generally the company that you are wishing to maintain contact with. The ‘Name’ of the contact is entered second, followed by their ‘Position’. Their ‘Phone’ whether it be mobile or office phone – the quickest way of getting into contact with them – followed by the ‘Email’ address. You may like to add additional columns for additional email addresses, or other Phone details, or any other information you see fit.
The ‘Details’ column is most important. You should record any notes you’ve made on the business card, or any particular details about the person that you don’t want to forget. You can record ANYTHING here – partner’s names, holiday dates, specialties etc. The ‘Category’ column allows you to add information that groups people and suppliers.
And like any records, you need to make sure you keep your spreadsheet up to date. Add your new contacts on a daily basis. Don’t leave new business cards sitting in a rubber band waiting for review.
My personal method of organising business cards can be applied to your business, particularly for your suppliers. If you do wish to have a system for your clients, I would highly recommend a Customer Relationship Management system (CRM) however if you’re keeping things simple, you could use a spreadsheet.
For your potential clients list and your client list, you can have a Details section which is also used as an actionable list – once a month, set some time aside to see if there is anything that needs to be completed or acted on. You could even add an additional column or two for extra information reminding you of previous discussions. This can be extremely helpful for building a relationship.
Once you’ve entered your business cards into a system, you no longer need to keep them. This whole process saves you on money (no longer need to buy folders for your business cards), space (no longer need to file your folders) and time (time searching for the right business card within your folders).
Within a few clicks you will be able to open a spreadsheet, sort your contacts and find the person you are looking for. Organising my business cards instantly made me feel less disorganised during the busy silly season.
I hope you and your family had a wonderful festive holiday!
If you’re overwhelmed, struggling to get things done, or recognise you need some assistance, organise a call with me to discuss your business support needs.