Going from Simple Contact Info to a Company Resource: Get the Most from your Business Cards

Sansan blog - long history of business cards

The long history of business cards

The custom of exchanging business cards at a first business meeting is not new, but something that has been continued for a long time. It is in fact said that business cards began in China. There are many different stories about business cards, but here are a couple of theories about them.

The 2000 year ago theory

In this theory, the first emperor of the Han, Gaozu, was the first to use them. When he wanted to find a wife, he would set up a meeting with her father. When he passed his business cards through intermediaries, they contained a message about political donations.

The 7th to 10th century (Tang Dynasty) theory

At this time, business cards were mentioned in books and poems. In the society of Chinese officials, when you were to meet someone in a high position, you would first send them a business card through an intermediary. Also, when you were unable to attend some kind of function, you would send along a business card through a servant as a type of greeting.

Business cards changing the world; from the blog of Sansan managing director Kei Tomioka

From this, I learned that business cards have been around for a long time. And even though they have been around for this long, people still struggle with how to manage them. You would think that with such a long history, it would not be strange for someone to have found a good way to manage them. It remains a mystery.

Rethinking the value of business cards that tend to get buried in the back of desk drawers

Business cards are said to be a tool for exchanging contact information, but how many people realize that they are also proof that you met a given person? From these meetings, value can be created. If you think this way, business cards start to seem to be a mountain full of treasure. If you think that a mountain of treasure is buried in your desk drawers, you start to realize what a waste it is.

For those people who think that managing business cards is a pain, I recommend starting with just trying to organize them. If you can only organize them, then management will not be that far away. Don’t pile them up on your desk or in your drawers; start getting into the habit of organizing and managing them, and after that, it will be smooth sailing.

The old but continuing problem of business card management, if reframed into considering the value that business cards have and then managed as something with value, can help your business to be something better than it was before.