More business people are realizing that one of the great benefits of a smartphone like a Droid or iPhone is the ability to scan business cards.
I make it a practice to scan in any business cards I obtain at events or in meetings within 24 hours of receipt. Using my iPhone, I scan the cards, enter them into my iPhone address book, send an introductory note and even seek to connect to these people on LinkedIn.
I use an iPhone app called ScanBizCards, which helps simplify all of the functions I listed above. It’s available for the iPhone and Droid at this link. While a free version is available, I paid $7 for the full version, which includes the option of having a person transcribe the card (never needed it). I reason that the cost of the app is much less than the cost of a scanner, especially since its functionality far exceeds that of a desktop card scanner.
Another cool app for scanning business cards is CardMunch, a free iPhone only app available here. CardMunch not only scans the data, but it even sends it off to a person to verify the accuracy. It also allows for easy LinkedIn connection requests.
On those LinkedIn requests, I find that the quicker and more easily I can do it, the greater the chance that I will. Increasing my network through LinkedIn might be one of the most valuable reasons to collect business cards in the first place.
With each of these apps, it’s as easy as sitting with a handful or box full of business cards, scanning them one by one, verifying the information pulled from the cards is accurate, then clicking save. It’s the perfect activity for when you are watching TV or don’t feel like doing something more mentally taxing.
I also should mention Bump, a real cool app that when installed on an iPhone or Droid phone allows people to bump their phones and share contact information in real time. It’s quite amazing and great for using at conventions, trade shows and other events where you meet a lot of potential clients or contacts.
Smartphones make scanning business cards as easy as 1-2-3. Don’t let your business cards sit for months or years on your desk or in a drawer. Put them to good use now. Isn’t that what they are for in the first place?