I may be a tad old-fashioned but if someone gives me their number or their email address, even in the form of a business card, then I assume they want me to use it.
The Business Card is an amalgam of the Visiting Card and the Trade Card.
Visiting cards included refined engraved ornaments and fantastic coats of arms. The visiting cards served as tangible evidence of the meeting of social obligations. The stack of cards in the card tray in the hall was a handy catalog of exactly who had called and whose calls one should reciprocate. They also provided a streamlined letter of introduction.
With the passage of time, visiting cards became an essential accessory to any 19th-century upper or middle class lady or gentleman. Visiting cards were not generally used among country folk or the working classes.
Trade cards first became popular at the beginning of the 17th century in London. These functioned as advertising and also as maps, directing the public to merchants’ stores, as no formal street address numbering system existed at the time.
When I started out, I was a lot less comfortable with making these lukewarm calls. It’s not the same as a cold call because there’s been some contact but it’s certainly got a chill about it.
If you’re not sure about the call, then attempt another way to remind the contactee. Using services like LinkedIn or FaceBook can be a good way, even if they don’t accept you as a contact or friend. You’ve made contact. Just pipe an email to them through the built-in invitation features and wait and see. The problem with this is that you have to have your LinkedIn or FaceBook presence updated. That’s easy enough on LinkedIn but be aware what “friends” can see. It’s not just that a potential contact may be offended by the photos of you in your gallery bench-pressing barmaids with the tagline “Absolutely shitfaced on the company tab and loving it” which might be career suicide in many cases, but also what people write on your Walls. Remember also that your friends can see your friends which means that a lot of the content produced by the eejits who shared your trip to the Canary Islands will be on show as well. I’m not telling you who to have as friends or to edit out friends who might be embarrassing, but if they are likely to be putting up photos of you dressed as Freddie Mercury with a racoon in your boxer shorts, then you might want to reconsider using FaceBook or any of the non-professional-oriented web sites. There’s always LinkedIn which is a lot more no-nonsense!
The old cliches are true, of course.
- Women can smell desperation, and so can Venture Capitalists and other business operators. It’s not about getting the money or the business, it’s about doing the right thing for your business. Treat it like a child. You want to nurture it, not raise it to literacy and sell it into slavery.
- The one about the chickens and the hatching? Conversations are just words. Just because you start off a conversation with someone, it doesn’t mean that you have to see it through. Business is about taking a few eggs and keeping them warm. Depending on the heat you apply, some of them will hatch. Some of them will burn. And some of them are really nice with toast and a little salt.
- You’ll wait for an age for a bus, then three will come at once. Remember that you don’t have to get on any of them. You can be choosy with your business deals and I’d recommend that if you are sensible you can avoid picking up business partners that will, in the long run, bugger things up.
- Any landing you can walk away from is a good one. So it failed, so it bollocksed up. You’ve still got your health, right? There’s always tomorrow? The rule I live with is that it’s okay to make mistakes, as long as they’re not fatal mistakes.
The point being, don’t be afraid to take the next step. The next person you meet might be the person who changes your life. And maybe it won’t be today, it might be in a years time when you’re in a different place.
But if you don’t make that callback. If you don’t make that first step, then you’ll never know.