7 things you shouldn’t do with a business card and 3 you should…… in my opinion!



  1. Use it as an invitation to send hundreds of sales emails, or even worse (and my personal cardinal sin) add someone to a newsletter email list. Treat people’s details with respect. If you hate receiving spam, don’t become a spammer yourself!
  2. Keep them in bundles, wrapped in elastic bands, waiting for work to come to you. There is a wealth of information in those bundles and you’re missing out by just leaving them languishing in the corner
  3. Collect as many as you can at a networking event. In this case it really is quality over quantity. I’d rather collect one card from someone I want to talk to again then collect 20 from people I didn’t get to know. And of course don’t be the person that rushes round the room throwing your card at everyone in the room, whether you’ve spoken to them or not
  4. Leave them in a library book when you return it. This is someone’s personal data you have taken. They didn’t have to give it to you. You need to respect it and not use it as a bookmark. If you want to do that; use your own! So maybe that s an extreme case , but it’s a serious issue. People don’t have to give you their card; so look after it and use the information wisely.
  5. Make it such an odd shape or size that it doesn’t fit in a card holder. While I love cards that are unique, or different,if you want me to be able to access your details, or more importantly be able to pass your details on to others, then make it easy for me.
  6. Use black or very dark cards with light writing. I know they look classy, but use that for the side with an additional message, not your details. Use the dark colour as a highlight, or for the background to the  logo. Make reading the data and accessing your data as easy as possible for people and also for the card readers that are now so often used for adding data to a CRM system
  7. Leave one side blank. Why waste this space? Use it to tell me something more about you and what you do. Something that makes you memorable. Saying that do leave a little space for me to write in the date and event where I met you and also room for me to note any follow up actions I promised when we spoke

And now for the useful stuff (well i hope):


  1. ask for 10-15 cards from the people that you regularly recommend to other people. That way you can pass on a card instead of just a phone number. Makes you look more professional as well as getting their relationship off to a good start
  2. Put what you do on it somewhere. Unless your business name is very very specific, will I be able to remember 3 years later when I’m going through that rubber banded bundle?
  3. Make it useful. Not everyone wants to email you or even call you. If you have a twitter account or a LinkedIn Account why not put your contact details for those accounts on there as well? Make it easy for people to get hold of you in the way THEY choose!


So how do you collect business cards? What do you do with them?  and what’s your pet hate about the way they are treated by other people? I’d love to hear your views

Written by Philippa Bowen

Philippa is an enperienced business owner who has worked in the private , public & charitable sectors and for large & small businesses. Her passion is helping business owners to get the best from their businesses in the most efficient manner & using social media to do that. You can usually find her on twitter at @philippabowen
or you can contact her via:
07885 610228

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