The Case of the Disappearing Business Cards

Are business cards disappearing? Well, sort of. I don’t mean your business cards. They better not be disappearing. You need them to network with. But what about all the cards you’ve been collecting when you meet people? What’s happening to them?

Business cards are the most powerful single business tool, dollar for dollar, that you can invest in to help build your business. They are a “marvelous, compact, energy-efficient, low-cost, low-tech instrument–a self-contained device with no gears, springs or batteries that keeps working for its owner hours, weeks, years, even decades after it has left his or her hands.” That’s what I said about them in my book It’s in the Cards a number of years ago. Well, I still believe all of the above except for one thing: I’m not so sure that our actual business cards continue to work for us hours, weeks or especially years after they have left our hands.

More and more I am seeing the business card become a disposable advertisement for people. Don’t get me wrong; I still think that business cards are very important. However, I also recognize that technology is replacing the “card box” and Rolodex I once had on my desktop. It has, for me, been replaced with Outlook. For many years, I had all the business cards I collected in a well-organized and categorized alphabetical card box. In recent years, I (like many other people) get back to my office with a pocket full of cards and have the information entered into my Outlook database. And the cards?  Well, let’s just say they used to disappear. But not any longer. No, today I keep them digitally using a CardScan.

I recently got a CardScan Executive and I love this product. I found it really, really easy to use (this said by someone who only reads instructions if absolutely necessary, and it wasn’t). The palm-sized device makes an image of the card and then automatically strips out the information into all the correct categories (name, company, address, phone, etc.). It then allows you to download all the information directly into your computer database (and did I mention that it was easy?).

Although I must admit that cards I used to receive went to that great big card box in the sky, now I can say they live on forever as a digital image and, more importantly, as a contact in my digital database–which is very important to the operation of my business. I really love the CardScan and I highly recommend it to anyone who is serious about networking. You can get more information about it at

I’d love to hear your feedback on this type of product and how you use it in your networking efforts.

If you’d like to read some other articles that I’ve written about the effective use of business cards, take a look at these two columns here at

Article: Smart Ways to Use Your Business Card

Article: Creating an Effective Business Card

8 thoughts on “The Case of the Disappearing Business Cards

  1. Hello, Ivan:

    I’m a member of City Partners BNI in Palm Beach Gardens, Florida. I believe that next to networking, the CardScan is the most important tool you can have in your arsenal. I purchased one almost a year ago and I already have almost 1000 entries. This has helped me tremendously, as I am able to download into an excel file, upload to I-Contact, and send out regular newsletters to my current and potential clients.

    I used to have so many business cards on my desk that one year that when the temperature dropped low enough to put on the fireplace (not so often here in South Florida), we actually used the business cards that I already had digitally saved to CardScan…. it was a pretty impressive fire, I must say!

    “Why gift NORMAL when EXCEPTIONAL is an option?”

  2. Dear “Business cards”

    Maybe I wasn’t clear on the point of the article. I believe that people should and will continue to exchange business cards. The question is–what do they do with them when they get them now? I would argue that they are disappearing. Very few people keep a business card box of contacts the way they did in the past. Most people now enter the data in a database and toss the card. Those are the cards that are disappearing.

    I believe that handing out cards is here to stay for a long time. It’s what happens to them when exchanged that is changing.

  3. It’s in the cards: the difference between the bin & the referral.

    I just took the chance to revamp my business cards. Well rePLACE the card design altogether. It was 50% logo, 12.5% b&w pic of me and 37.5% contact info. My name was in 7 font.

    The design was that of a calling card :not a friendly item at all.

    I am a loan officer so everything I do is about personal connection and relationship.

    My design of new card is 25% colour picture of me, MY name and employer name are top and bottom of the card, there is a tag line and my mobile phone number. The biggest part is me and my contact details. MUCH better. There are five boxes linked by a common colour. All the legal disclosures and full contact details or printed in black on the back. I used gloss card stock so even the black ink pops out!

    I’ll let you know how I get on – the Publisher proof was well received.

  4. Ivan-

    I think we will see a healthy mix of the virtual and the printed cards, like we see a healthy mix of virtual and in person networking. I’ll be interested to see how much the green movement works towards removing business cards and going to virtual business cards attached to bios and profiles online.

    Andy Greider

  5. If I may….I have a whole new twist on the business card that I came up with a few years ago.

    I came up with an idea that one should configure or Design one’s business card so that it works as a Magnet for attracting Referrals to ones business.

    Would you not agree that a business card AND its main purpose it to get More Business…right?

    Well, the card that I came up with….I actually filed for a patent on this one….but I am happy to share it here for the fist time… the card I came up with looks just like a REGULAR business card EXCEPT for it having a Perforation line going down the middle….CUTTING the Business Card in Half… I named it the RipCard (

    Why the perforation and what does it do…you ask yourself?
    Well, it enables the owner of the RipCard to generate a TON of referrals….that he not only can TRACK …as to whom sent him the referral, but he/ she gets to Customize an incentive to all parties involved for making the Referral Take Place in SPEEDY fashion….

    How do you like that?

    So…my take on business cards….I hope to revolutionize the way we attract more referrals, with the simple use of a business card.

    I welcome any comments and or suggestions and of course questions.

    You can reach me at:
    Founder and inventor

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