With thanks to all who participated, here are the results of my latest weekend poll. Our focus: Do you have your own business cards?
61% of respondents have employer-provided business cards
… and 85% of those who have such business cards find them useful. Another 12.5% don’t use them routinely, but find they come in very handy on occasion.
Why should assistants have business cards? They convey a sense of professionalism, and demonstrate that you are a respected representative of your organisation. They support your capacity to efficiently provide point of contact information to business contacts, and represent brands – yours and your employer’s. Readers suggest that they also give you visibility, legitimacy, and profile as an extension of your executive.
If you’re facing resistance to securing business cards
… you’re in the minority of respondents, as only 8% of respondents found that to be the case. The good news? Readers shared their ideas for making the business case for such cards.
40% of you make use of personal business cards
It’s a treat to meet readers in person, and that’s just what Bianca Constance and I did last summer in New York City.
After enjoying conversation about our respective lives and the admin. world in general, we were about to go our separate ways when we asked a friendly passerby to take this photo of us in Zuccotti Park.
Then, while Bianca returned to her office, I went shopping. Even if the exchange rate was unfavourable for the Canadian dollar, this was, after all, NYC! In addition to the shoes I bought that morning, I also brought home Bianca’s personal business card – which I proudly have to this day.
For, although we already had one another’s general coordinates, Bianca made a point that morning of presenting me with her personal business card. In addition to stating her professional role and IAAP credentials, the card also provides additional contact information I didn’t have to that point. The gesture was both professional and personal.
Whether or not you have employer-provided business cards, think about the potential to create your own business cards. They can be useful for people in your existing networks, at conferences and events and for new contacts.
Note: Information below reflects the percentage of respondents who selected specific responses from multiple choice options, and/or offered comments.
Do you have employer-provided business cards?
- Yes: 61% of respondents
- No: 37% of respondents
- 2% of you selected “Other”. One reader commented, “Only office details. We put personalised label on reverse”.
Do you find it useful to have your own business card to hand out?
- Yes: 85% of respondents
- Occasionally; I don’t use them often, but they come in handy when needed: 12.5% of respondents
- 2.5% of you selected “Other”. One person commented that they have their own business cards.
Were there any hurdles in your being provided business cards by your employer?
- No: 69% of respondents
- Yes: 8% of respondents
- 23% of respondents selected “Other”. Your comments included the following.
- Generally all employees who have role in meeting clients are allowed business cards.
- The cards were ready when I started on my first day.
- Boss encouraged it.
- Not financially viable to provide business cards for all PAs as they come in bulk orders of 100. So we order with just the office details, address, switchboard number in front and then on reverse make our own personalised labels. E.g. I have my Twitter handle on mine as well as direct dial & email.
- (It) took almost a year to see the “value” in the purchase (which was less than $80).
- I had to ask for them. It hadn’t occurred to our business to provide them to PAs.
What are the advantages of having an employer-provided business card?
- Great networking resources
- They provide a more professional image
- Higher importance for my role; good for networking
- It shows the org values their PAs. Good for employer brand. It helps promote the business and enhance your personal branding.
- It looks professional to give my contacts information on a business card.
- It enables you to be a great brand ambassador whilst networking
- For me having (them) is a sign the boss values you and your representation of the company
- Give to clients and reps
- Professionalism and access to contact info
- Representing business wherever you are
- It’s professional, it’s corporate identity; know your clients, who is the POC (point of contact)
- It conveys a positive impression of both you and your employer
- Clear information – ref email, contact numbers etc., and professional
- Easy way to swap details with new contact
- You can be as visible and representative as (your) executives
- I use them often when at trade shows
- Legitimacy of the position. Useful for providing info to others.
- They are appropriately branded.
- Consistent branding
- Useful for networking on behalf of my manger
If you don’t have employer-provided business cards, do you wish you did?
- Yes: 88% of respondents
- No: 6% of respondents
- 6% of those without employer-provided business cards selected “Other”. One person commented, “I think they’re important and therefore my responsibility.”
What kind of business case would you suggest an assistant make in approaching her or his employer with a request for business cards?
- Keep your request clear and concise and (explain) how this will help you in your role
- We are letting people know who we are and what we do
- The Assistant is part of the public face of their leader and the organisation
- Corporate identity to present yourself to clients as an associate of the company
- The role of a PA is as important as the executive, and it is vital for networking
- They are a more professional way to represent the executive
- As noted above. Promotes the organization and legitimacy of the position.
- You never know who an admin will meet
- Professionalism and easy contact info
- Explain the benefits to the company
- That s/he is also a company representative
- This is a profession why should it (this role) not be recognised alongside others
- Just ask
- (The) EA represents the company just like other employees
If you don’t have employer-provided business cards, why not?
- They’re not seen as necessary for my role: 59% of respondents
- Cost: 11% of respondents
- They’re not seen as necessary given other mediums available to share coordinates: 11% of respondents
- I don’t know: 7.5% of respondents
- 11.5% of you selected “Other”. Comments included a statement that not all employees have a role in meeting clients, and that this would be viewed as a useless business expense.
Have you acquired your own personal business cards for use independent of your workplace?
- No%: 51% of respondents
- Yes: 40% of respondents
- No, but now that you mention it, I may look into it: 9% of respondents
- One person commented, “My personal/private (cards) are for contacts with no relation to my employer.”
If you make use of personal business cards (independent of your workplace), what advantages have you found in using them?
- Your create your brand and some people might even contact you for service in the (sic; future?)
- Ability to provide contact details at any time especially when wifi connection (sic; fails?)
- Promoting my own business
- For my extra curricular activities as a food blogger
- I can market myself
- Best way to share contact information
- Used at conferences to expand network
- They are for my own business- separate from employment
- (n/a) The bank does not allow employees to use personal business cards in any form
- Great for networking and possible future role opportunities