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Blog: Working From Home
7 Reasons to Get Rid of Business Card Clutter and Organize Them into a Database You Can Use!

Helping clients get better organized isn't just about making their offices look better. It's about making them work better. What follows is a situation I see with almost every client I work with.

Most of us have stacks of business cards we've collected over time that are cluttering up desk drawers. We enjoy making business contacts but a stack of cards in the drawer isn't doing anyone any good. The reason to collect business cards is to do business! How many cards do you have right now that you've never done anything with? Do you even remember all those people? Think of what you're missing in terms of services you could use and referrals you could exchange!

Go through your stacks and toss the cards with names or companies you no longer recognize. Organize those that are worth keeping. If you want to keep the physical cards, there are all sorts of ways you can organize them so that they're no longer clutter: plastic notebook pages, rotary files, card wallets, or miniature file cabinets. However, if you want to be able to work with the information, to make use of it, convert those cards into a database.

You can do this by entering the information manually into Outlook or some similar application, or you can do it more quickly and easily using a card scanner. These clever devices read business cards and automatically distribute the information on them into the proper fields in their software. They also capture the image of the card for visual reference. There are so many advantages to converting your card collection into a database; you really ought to consider doing it.
  1. you no longer need the physical cards, so you can get rid of the clutter
  2. you can add personal notes to the records about your contacts or your conversation to jog your memory in the future
  3. you can search for a contact if you remember anything at all about them name OR company OR location OR type of business OR where you met them OR what you talked about
  4. you can export the data to your phone or PDA so that you always have it with you, to use or pass on to a colleague
  5. you can export the data to your email contact list to make it easier to stay in touch
  6. the records will be easy to update when a phone number or address changes, or when you want to add information
  7. no wasting time wading through dozens of cards hoping to spot the one you're looking for 
If you don't have the time to do this yourself, it's the perfect task for a virtual assistant or college student. They can type the information or zip the cards through a card scanner. A virtual assistant may even have a card scanner already. If you decide to buy a scanner, they're not terribly expensive and can be a great investment you'll use for years. Or take a look on ebay. There are always people upgrading to the latest version and selling their old one that still works perfectly.
There, you've made your office look better, work better, AND you've made it easier to do business! I love being able to suggest something like this to my clients!

posted on: 3/7/2010 9:00:00 AM by Elaine Quinn, Author & Speaker
category: Business

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Working From Home

by Elaine Quinn, Author & Speaker

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About Elaine:

Elaine Quinn is an internationally recognized expert on organizing, time management and productivity for the work-from-home solo professional. She is the author of "There's No Place Like Working From Home," filled with tips for solopreneurs who want to get organized, stay motivated and get things done. Learn more at www.NoPlaceLikeWorkingFromHome.com.

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Favorite Books and Products

  • Google Desktop Search
    This free application finds documents on your own computer's hard drive just like a search engine finds information on the web.
  • Collectorz
    Intuitive, inexpensive and easy-to-use database programs that create catalogues of your personal collection of books, reference manuals, audiovisual media or digital photo files.
  • Roboform
    Log into your password-protected websites automatically with this inexpensive and secure software that memorizes your login IDs and passwords. It also fills in online forms with just one click.
  • "There's No Place Like Working From Home"
    As the author, naturally this book is one of my favorites!

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