The other day I was out for lunch with a friend. When we were finishing our meal, I looked across the restaurant and noticed a familiar face. After a moment's reflection, I realized that the man in question was a former college classmate, and I headed over to say hello. Our conversation was short, but it revealed an opportunity for collaborating on a project.
I dug in my wallet to retrieve a business card, so that we could exchange information, but before I could produce one, he touched my arm. "Here," he said. "This is better."
He reached into a handsome leather case that was meant to hold a stack of business cards. His case just held one. He reached in and pulled it out, turning it over to reveal his name and contact info placed beside a rather eye-catching bar code.
"You can take it. Or you can just scan it with your phone."
I blinked. I reached for my smart phone. I scanned the bar code and instantly, I was taken to his website, which had all of his contact info plus information about his company. We said our goodbyes and went our separate ways. I was pretty sure he was one of the coolest guys I ever met--just because of that business card.
All the way home, I thought about that card. It was just so easy. I didn't have to keep track of where I put that piece of cardstock. I didn't have to worry about what I'd do with it once I added the information into Outlook. He wouldn't have to worry about depleting his business card supply, so he was surely saving money. And on top of it all, he was protecting the planet by reducing paper waste.
By the time I got in front of my computer, my fingers were itching to Google, so I could learn more about the business card and share it with our Paperless Kitchen blog readers. Here's what I learned.
- For those that haven't seen one of these cards before, the bar code is known as a QR code. It's a simple black and white bar code that many smart phones can scan. Codes can link to a website, a social media page or a custom landing page. Alternatively, you can link the code to a VR card that users can download and add to their address books.
- Many companies sell these business cards and offer complete design services. This lets you purchase the QR code and order your cards all in one place. The service I liked best was MOO, which has a 100 percent recycled paper available for printing. This way, if someone opts to take your card instead of just scanning it, you'll still be protecting the environment.
- You can also use a service like GOQR.ME to create your own QR code for free, download it and then take it to your current printer. Many discount business card suppliers will also allow you to upload a QR code for printing.
In the end, I decided to go the all-inclusive route. Now, I'm just patiently waiting to get my new business cards in the mail and get on my way to being a little cooler and a lot more eco-friendly.
Do you have a QR code business card already? Tell us about them in the "Comments" section.