The Importance of Business Cards

The other day, I was headed to our local dog park with my wife and our puppy. We were already in the car and actually backing out of the driveway when I realized that I had forgotten my business cards. I stopped the car and told my wife that I was headed back into the house to get my cards. She was a bit surprised and said, “Really? Do you think you need them for the dog park?” I laughed and said, “I never want to be anywhere without my cards because I never know when or where I might meet a potential client.”

The more prepared we are when opportunity presents itself, the greater the likelihood that we will be able to take advantage of opportunity. I realize that most of the people who go to our dog park are retired because we usually go in the middle of the day when my potential clients are at work. Nevertheless, just because potential clients won’t be at the dog park, does not mean that every time I go there I won’t find opportunity.

That particular day, there was a man playing with his miniature pinscher. We struck up a conversation and I learned that (i) he hails from Boston, where I grew up, (ii) he loves dogs, and (iii) he owns two businesses that would benefit from my services. If I had to assess the potential that a prospect will turn into a client, I would say that the fellow with the miniature pinscher has great potential. Fortunately, I had my cards with me and was able to give him one. Only time will tell whether he will call me, but he could not have called me if I had not been able to give him a card.

Business cards are hugely valuable in developing a clientele. A tiny piece of paper with your name, address, phone number, e-mail address and website is more valuable than any other marketing materials that you can carry. Business cards fit in wallets. They are inexpensive. They are hugely useful. Yet I have encountered many business people of late who do not carry cards. Indeed, I have asked three people in particular for their cards while I have been out and about over the past week only to learn that they do not carry cards. At least two of those people lost sales because I was not able to recall their names or contact information when I thought to call them.

In addition, business cards – or calling cards – are important even if you do not have a business. A century ago, no one would call at someone’s home without presenting a calling card. If you are looking for work, you should have your own calling cards that you can leave with anyone and everyone after speaking with them. Just as with business owners, job seekers want their contact information to be readily available when opportunity presents itself. Without a calling card, it is much less likely that the contacts that you develop will put your information into their organizers and thus much less likely to call you when they need your services.

Do you carry business cards? Do you use them? How have they helped you to find clients?

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9 Responses to The Importance of Business Cards

  1. Even though I don’t consider myself to be in any particular business at the moment (that I could gain clients on the street), I’ve been meaning to get some cards made up just in case. A few years ago, I saw a guy I graduated high school with at the pet store. We chatted a bit, and he offered me a sales position (which sounded highly commission based). He gave me his card, and asked for mine. Feeling a fool, I told him I didn’t have them on me at the moment.

    Because, you know, 2 years out of high school everyone should have business cards, right?

  2. Grace says:

    You make a good point, David. You never know where you are going to meet a potential client or a potential employer so it’s important to carry around business cards with you everywhere.

    I like to keep other people’s business cards just in case I need to contact them to pass on information from people I know, or just to keep in touch with them. Eventually, if you’re in a position to hire a new employee for your company, or if you’re looking for a job, business cards are very helpful :)

  3. Grizz says:

    I agree, almost everyone should carry business cards. And there’s really no excuse any more for not having one! Online digital printers such have good looking cards that are almost free…Like under $10 for 100 cards including shipping!

  4. Matt says:

    Personally, I prefer a service like ConTXT, that allows me to send my business card via text message. You ask the person to text a specified word or phrase to a specified number, and they’ll be returned your contact information a personalized message via text message.

    Of couse, my business prints cards for me, but I think these show a little bit of flair, a little tech-savvy and make it a more memorable, interactive experience that induces more conversation.

    And it’s kind of fun too!

  5. brian says:

    I agree that business cards are important and useful. My problem is that they are hard for me to carry around without getting dirty or beat up. I house them in my wallet currently and this is not working. Any suggestions?

  6. Mark aka Jem says:


    Sound advice my friend… I have added this task to my to do list, and look forward to reaping its benefits when the opportunity presents itself. It shows professionalism and a touch of class… which in my book goes along way. Thank you for providing this priceless information and I look forward to following your blog in the future!

    all the best,


  7. Saving Advice Fan says:

    I notice that some of the quaint, “Mom & Pop” type restaurants that I sometimes visit have bulletin boards located in a popular and busy area of the restaurant where patrons can tack up their personal business cards. There are plumbers, contractors, hair stylists, healthcare givers, babysitters, pet sitters, real estate agents, and so on.
    I always read every one of them before I leave or while I am waiting for my table or for my guest(s) to arrive.
    Also, my barber has the same type of bulletin board centered in his shop with business cards.
    The ones that really catch my eye are those that state a 10% – 20% discount for mentioning the business card and location of where it was seen!

    Another great article with sensible advice! Thank you David! Keep up the great articles

  8. Ann says:

    I carry my business cards in a small leather business card holder, Brian. Do a search and you can find places that carry them and they can be as inexpensive or expensive as you want them to be.

    I carry mine constantly — mainly because people ask about my cane, which gives me a terrific opportunity to hand them a card. The latest instance was at my opthamologist’s. One of the nurses liked my cane, went on the site and ended up buying a carving… and was disappointed when another carving wasn’t available. LOL

    You never know when you’ll run into an opportunity. :-)

  9. Breton Wench says:

    Brian, my husband is a tree surgeon, and he gets fairly messy in his job, with all the oil and tree sap etc. But in the front of the car is an immaculate A4 folder with plastic sleeves that carries all his qualifications, insurance details and some cards tucked in the inside sleeve. That way he can hand this to the client without dirtying the docs and find an unsullied business card when he needs it.

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