Thursday, January 28, 2010

The Email Effect

Once you have someone’s business card in your hands, what's next? You have taken the time to get to know about this person professionally and personally, I hope, and now you have been handed your source of power to contact this individual. Time to FU, as Gelie* would say. FU, or follow-up, is where you formally present yourself and your business. This is generally done via email.

Greet the individual by reminding them where you got their business card, add a little anecdote, regurgitating what you bonded about when you met, and always make sure they are having a good day. Have a formalized blurb prepared with information about what it is your company does and how your company can help the individual and their business; copy & paste it into the email after your greeting. End your email with a heart felt statement about how you hope to hear from them; suggest coffee, a meal, or meeting with them at their office so you can talk shop or just continue to get further acquainted.

Email is also where you want to provide links for your social media. This is a great way for people to keep up with what you and your business are doing, provide great information and communicate with different people in a different way. In your signature include links to your Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and your Blog along with your phone number and website.

Following-up is a very delicate and necessary part of networking; there is a limited amount of time in which you can stay fresh in people’s minds and keep them interested in you. I would suggest not waiting longer than 48 hours for fear of getting the “Who are you again?” response to your email. As tedious as it maybe, always stay fresh in people minds.

* Gelie is the founder and CEO of, an essential website for any individual, small or large business owner. Visit for more information.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Everyone wants to seal the deal!

I’ll admit it, I am business cards snob. When I am out networking, meeting new people or having coffee with a client, as soon as they hand me their business card I take my thumb and flick the corners. I feel how thick the paper is, what the texture of the paper is like and see how their design looks. I can always tell when people really put time and effort into their business cards and when they don’t.

I make an instant judgment on how serious they are about their business based on what I am holding in my hands.

A business card is more than just a piece of paper with contact information. It is the commercial, the billboard, the book cover for everything your business is about. Make it beautiful, worthy and presentable. You wouldn’t go on a first date wearing a dirty shirt and messy hair. You would put time, thought and energy in making a great, clean, sophisticated first impression.

When you are grooming your business card, consider the following:

- Use a good quality paper. Card stock is always recommended, but a lot of print companies use Pounds (#) when referring to paper. The higher the pound number, the thicker the paper; I recommend not going below a 110# paper.

- Consider foiling, embossing, and thermography. It adds more sophistication and professionalism to the card. When people feel more on the card, they will be more interested in it, thus more likely to ask you about it and keep it.

- Get a good design. The design is so important. It is the visual that is associated with your business. Every community has graphic designers full of creativity; post an ad on and you will get multiple bids from designers willing to make something just for you. Remember, spend money on your image, and it will pay itself back.

- Don’t clutter your card. Too much information makes your card hard to read; people don’t want to search all over your card to try and figure out who you are. All you need is your name and three forms of contact. Put your number, your email and your mailing address (or PO Box) on your card. If you have a website put that on there as well so people can easily learn about your business. Don’t put your Facebook, MySpace, LinkedIn, company statement and all those other wordy strings of information. That is for the follow up email.

How will people judge your business card? Remember at the end of it all you are aiming for that end of the night kiss; let your business card seal the deal.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Business Card Chronicles : Your Golden Ticket

Has this ever happened to you?

You are sitting at home on a peaceful Sunday afternoon, when the door bell rings. With a heavy sigh, you push past your curious dog and pull the door open just to see a middle aged man in a bad suit ready to sell you something. You kindly say “Hello, can I help you?” thus subjecting yourself to hearing about a useless product and a sad story about how he used his kid's college fund to start up his business.

After listening to him push his product on you over and over and over, you say “No thank you” and close the door. How pushy can you get?

We don’t live in a world anymore where we can go door-to-door selling to people. People don’t want to be sold at, they want their needs met. So how do we meet their needs? With your business card.

Your business card is the golden ticket for your business to meet their needs; giving the impression of what your business is, what you do in your business and how they can reach you to fulfill their needs.

Here is where you will get to tour the chocolate factory: the tips, tricks and stories for using your business card. It will be delightful, entertaining and occasionally full of bad goose eggs.