We’ve been in the digital renaissance for what seems like 20 years. Why are we still handing out business cards?
It’s 2019. Glaciers are melting faster than ever, polar bears are struggling to find food and China is no longer taking our recycling. And that’s only the tip of the iceberg, am I right?
Did you know that Americans use, on average, 680 lbs of paper per year? Now, I am a paper person. I love using an actual, tangible notebook to tackle my To Do list. Admittedly, I print out more things during my workday than are necessary. Sometimes I just find it easier to read a document or edit something if it is printed out right in front of me. But, as a paper junkie, even I have cut down over the years. My desk used to be full of file folders labeled neatly in black sharpie with contents to each particular project I’m working on contained inside. I still have cabinets with files that I, no doubt, will never look at again. I have made an effort to gradually decrease the amount of paper I use in the office and slowly over the years, those folders filled with paper have started to disappear.
So, why on this precious earth, are business cards still a thing? I can count on one hand the number of times I’ve handed out my business card in the past year. I have received probably 20 or so in the past year. Let it be known that I’m definitely not anywhere close to a networking machine. I’m not regularly in attendance at industry events meeting with new people so, I’m not a business card magnet. In my role, however, I do often times meet with companies that are trying to acquire business from my company. I always leave my business card behind at my desk and then when they pull out theirs and hand them out, I feel obligated to dust them off and hand one over. Now, in most of these meetings, I already have their contact information. Most of these meetings are arranged via emails that contain their signatures and therefore their contact information. If I want to follow up and get in touch with you post-meeting, I certainly know how to do so without referring back to your business card that I inadvertently already lost or put in the recycling bin.
Not only is this unnecessary piece of waste piling up, but business cards are also a costly company expense. New employees start all of the time. People get married. People get promoted. Businesses rebrand. All of these situations require additional business cards and make old, already printed cards obsolete. And obsolete equals more waste.
I think we’re all capable of thinking up a solution that works best for us given the moment you need to capture a business contact’s info. There are plenty of apps out there to replace the business card if you are into that sort of thing.
So, ditch ‘em! Just try it. I’m going to. It may be easier said than done and I may no longer win a free footlong at Subway, but to me, it’s worth it. We owe it to everyone to do our part even if it’s one small, rectangular piece of paper at a time.