This article is a follow-up to the Business Card Part 1 – Things to Remember while Designing a Business Card

To build up a network of different people is very helpful for a professional in any field. Especially in the field of design, contacts with different groups of professionals will help you find more and greater opportunities.
Networking helps you to expand your contact list – the people that might help you in your better or your worst. As the designers have a large number of competitors around them, networking helps them to realize what others are doing in the market.
So, either you are looking for a job as an employee or you are seeking clients for your design business; the more diverse the network is, the better it will be at your end. Your networking cuts across the geographical boundaries and opens brand new doors for you.
There are many tools involved in networking, depending on the industry you belong to and your target market. For the designers, the best tool for effective networking is the business card.
A business card is a mini portfolio, a micro CV and the best reminder of your meeting with someone. So, when you are looking for a designer’s job or running a design business, giving out business cards is crucial to marketing your skills and services. Market yourself through your business card with a mindset of” YOU Inc.”, i.e. sell yourself.
Basically, your business card tells a lot about who you are, what you offer and how committed you are to your work. In other words, your business card is like a bell that keeps ringing and letting people know that you are available for business.
Let’s go over a few tips that should help you in professional networking – provided you effectively use your business card:

Always Keep It with You

Keep business card with you

Keeping your business cards with you every time you go out is as important as keeping your wallet, keys or driver’s license. You can go out for shopping, leave for work, go to a friend’s place or just have a stroll out in the open. In all cases, remember to keep your business cards with you.
Get yourself a comfortable and sleek card box so that it does not create a mess in your pocket. Make it a habit to always carry your business card with you, because you never know which morning a quick trip to the local store may turn into a networking opportunity that brings you a good business.

Follow Business Card Etiquette

Business card Etiquittes

There are certain etiquettes of professional life and business card etiquettes are one of them. Take into consideration the short list below next time you try to network through your business card:
•    Whenever you give a business card, ask for other person’s business card as well.
•    When someone gives you his/her business card, read it thoroughly for a few seconds and don’t just take it and place it in your pocket. This will make the other person feel important.
•    If you read the other person’s card, you might see something that could be a topic of discussion which can add warmth to your meeting.
•    Try to write comments on the card such as date, location and common points of interest as these comments will prove valuable when following up with that person. This also demonstrates a sincere interest in the other person. This lets them know they reside in a special place with you.

Note: Make people feel important, if you want to make yourself important to them.

Business Card – Anywhere, Everywhere

business card anywhere and everywhere

Business card is a kind of networking tool that you can comfortably use anywhere. A business card is not a television commercial that constantly hammers your mind; neither is it a newspaper ad that has a limited audience.
You never know when you might meet someone who can help you (i.e. in family or friends or any other social event) and your business card is the only sophisticated thing to be given out as your reference anywhere and everywhere. Don’t underestimate the importance of such events for a chance to network and turn opportunities into cash.

Business Card Generosity

business card generosity

There is no need to be careful and scrooge while giving out business cards to people. As we’ve already mentioned earlier, you can easily give your business card to anyone. This includes your family, friends, ex-colleagues, old-school fellows etc. Don’t let your vanity or stinginess get in the way of you and your networking.

Sending Business Card with Invoice

sending business card with invoice

Your business invoice can be a good source of distributing your business card. You can advertise your skills or services by inserting a business card with your bill payments. You may think that a person in some far flung area who receives your invoice with your business card attached won’t be able to help you out in some way or refer you to other people.
The truth is, we all know someone, who knows someone, who knows someone etc. Developing this powerful networking attitude will be a fundamental source of continued success.

Ask for Referrals

business card referals

The purpose of a business card is not just giving out a piece of card to people having your name and other particulars on it. When you are giving a business card to anyone, feel free to ask them about referrals, i.e. ‘I would appreciate a referral, if you know anyone that could use my services’.
People naturally like to do favors for others in the need and asking favors in a gentle manner always places you in a better position and gets you more chances of success.

A Frisky Follow up

business card follow up

Have you ever noticed that when you give your card at a social or a business meeting or at an interview, nobody calls you back and you never get a chance to hear from them? Don’t blame other s for this, as this can be your own fault.
The process of networking does not stop at giving out business cards only. A comfortable follow up is very important to remind people of you and your business. In today’s world, people are very busy and it may happen that your business card or the purpose of your business card may skip their mind.
A gentle feedback is always advised. The feedback practice should also be light and frisky and should not involve you being harsh to others. If you get no response of your feedback, try again, but be patient, as persistence pays off well.

Sloganize Yourself

Business card with slogan

A slogan is vitally important to market yourself or your business. It is advised to put a slogan in your business. A catchy phrase or a slogan ensures that people associate a company name with their product or services.
Putting a slogan on your business card makes people remember you even after they have put back your card – this is called personal branding. Companies all over the world pay big bucks to advertising agencies to come up with these catchy and lasting slogans. Consider doing the exact same thing on your business card. A slogan makes all the difference between getting hired or not, because people will remember you long after a meeting.

The Finale

As a designer, there are hundreds of things on your desk other than networking. However, no matter how busy you are, you should pay attention to networking. It is important to create a lasting first impression on people you meet.
The impression you create will bring you greater business opportunities. You should always try to keep in touch with the contacts you have developed. To increase your chances of getting a job or creating a business opportunity, networking through your business card can only benefit you.

This article is a follow-up to the Business Card Part 1 – Things to Remember while Designing a Business Card

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