To Business Card or not To Business Card...
What you see above is the last business card I've owned. The website and address are old, only the phone number is still current! Even my title has changed. Why am I showing you this? Because I'm of the philosophy that you don't really need a business card in order to have a thriving business. And of course, there's a story behind this:
Recently I was with a friend and was introduced to someone (let's call her Jane) who was in need of some bodywork (back pain and neck pain). We talked for a bit and Jane said she was interested in booking with me but wanted my business card. I told her I haven't had a business card in over a decade but I will gladly get her phone number instead and contact her. Jane looked surprised but gave me her cell phone number.
What followed was me sending Jane a few tips on what to look out for (how bad her back pain might be, what it could mean) and letting her know how I would go about assessing her condition and working with her. From there, Jane booked right away.
This is a short example on why I'm not the biggest fan of business cards for our type of business. You see, I've been able to grow a thriving business because I understand that our business is a business of relationships. People want to know and trust us and a business card is not be enough to fully convey what we are all about.
Handing out a business card to someone and hoping they will call you and book with you is only going through one step of a multi-step process when forming a business relationship. If you were dating, you wouldn't go to a party, find the person of your dreams, give them your number, then walk right out would you?!
Instead, you'd talk to them, ask them questions, maybe give them your number but also take down their contact information. Why would you not follow the same dynamics in a business relationship?
Don't get me wrong, I think creating a business card is an interesting exercise to go through. Massage schools spend many hours taking their students through the task of creating a business card. I think it's a way for a new student to solidify what they're about and what they have to offer a prospective client. It may also help the student get a sense of their aesthetic which may be useful for future branding work.
I do find it unfortunate however that hardly any time is spent on learning how to create and establish a proper business relationship. As a practitioner of any service, you want to be able to properly communicate to your prospective client what your work is about AND you want to be able to let your prospective client know how you could solve their problem. And you won't know how to do that unless you ask the proper questions and be ready for answers. A business card doesn't do any of that and I feel many people in our industry rely too heavily on business cards and give them a power they do not possess.
So, the next time a prospective client asks for your business card, give it to them (if you must) but also get their information. Send them a quick note to thank them for their interest and ask a question or two to initiate a conversation. You'll see the difference!
If you are interested in more business tips on how to improve your business practices, check out our online course, the Healthcare Ultrapreneur Project!