business card organizer for a picky boss?
November 8, 2010 5:21 PM   Subscribe

Teach me how you organize the business cards that you collect.

This seems like it should be simple enough, but for some reason, I can't find a good solution.

My boss is an investment advisor. Clients will often ask... "do you know a good accountant* in my area?"
* where accountant in the question could be replaced with lawyer, landscaper, travel agent, realtor, mortgage broker, car salesman etc... basically anybody of any type of profession.

So my boss has collected a number of business cards of people that he recommends out. When he gives the client the recommendation, he gives them the person's business card. So he might have up to 10 copies of the same business card for handing out. I am looking for a way to organize these business cards, that will require minimal maintenance.

He wants the business cards organized by category/industry, then in alphabetical order. Some categories have two people, some categories have a hundred.

I tried a binder with those baseball card sleeves. They will hold a max of three business cards at a time -OR- they're so loose that when I flip a page, the cards fall out. And this wasn't ideal anyway, because if he wanted to add someone to a category, I would have to go and move everyone after that person down one space.

I tried a simple tray with dividers between categories, but he doesn't really like that as if there are 8 copies of someone's card, he has to flip through that card 8 times to get to the next person. And maybe he has 10 copies of the next person's card. more flipping.. etc. If I can't find any other solution, I will just stick with this option, and just tell him to suck it up with the flipping through. So, also looking for nice-looking trays that are not bulky, as it will probably be sitting out on his desk where clients will see it.

Thanks very much guys!
posted by cheemee to Grab Bag (14 answers total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
If he has hundreds of vendors, the only solution I can think of is a tray like that, but with hundreds of dividers instead of just the alphabet or category ones. Otherwise, there will be flipping.
posted by decathecting at 5:28 PM on November 8, 2010

I know you need to please your boss (and he wants stacks of printed cards to hand out), but the best solution is to use a business card scanner/reader, create vcf files in Outlook, and simply email the goddamn things out. It's how the rest of the world does business.
posted by KokuRyu at 5:33 PM on November 8, 2010 [4 favorites]

Yeah, the only way to do this is to have it all digitized. Forget physical business cards.

If a client of your boss says "I need an accountant," your boss, or you, should just email the client the accountant's contact info.

Dealing with hundreds of business cards is absurd in the 21st century.
posted by dfriedman at 5:36 PM on November 8, 2010

Best answer: I am a big fan of dividing with colored paper. Get some brightly colored card stock cut down to business-card sized, and place one between each "set" of business cards. That way it's easy to find the next card in the stack without having to flip through each of the 10 cards. You can also get these.

And I have always been in love with this business card filer, but the like 5 business cards I have to file does not exactly make it a useful purchase in my life. You could re-label the white dividers that come with it into your categories, and use a bunch of sets of the black ones from above for alphabetizing within categories, plus colored cardstock between each card.
posted by brainmouse at 5:36 PM on November 8, 2010

A small accordion folder (each pocket is an industry) with same person's cards paperclipped together?
posted by i_am_a_fiesta at 5:39 PM on November 8, 2010 [1 favorite]

Alphabetize the cards and keep a spreadsheet with name, industry, and contact information. That way you still have a physical card to give out, but can sort through the information on the computer.
posted by miyabo at 5:47 PM on November 8, 2010

Scan it with an iphone or whatever. I'm sure there's an app for it.
posted by Slinga at 5:48 PM on November 8, 2010

I used to use slide storage pages and boxes to store multiple copies of cards.
I was storing internal business cards so I didn't need anything elaborate for indexing but I imagine that you could keep a list in excel of each vendor, their specialty, contact info, etc. so you'll have a better handle of what you have w/out tromping through the cards.

(geeze, call me a geek but that sounds like such a fun project!)
posted by jaimystery at 5:55 PM on November 8, 2010

I use an iPhone app called BC Reader. Using the camera, it auto-populates an address book entry (with about 80% success) and saves an image of the card on the phone.
posted by socratic at 6:07 PM on November 8, 2010

Response by poster: Unfortunately, there's no way I will be able to convince him to go digital with the business cards. I've tried, and it's just not going to happen.

Good suggestions.... brainmouse and stoneweaver's suggestions seem like it would fit him best... but if there's any more please keep 'em coming guys.

posted by cheemee at 7:10 PM on November 8, 2010

If you can't convince him to go digital with the cards could you convince him to go digital with the organization? Put the cards in A-Z order and put the information about what they do in a digital address book. This has the additional benefit of letting you put people under two categories - plowing and landscaping, or painting and windows, whatever.
posted by mskyle at 4:21 AM on November 9, 2010

Keep the simple tray that you have, and use a mini binder clip to clamp together multiple copies of an individual's card.
posted by evilmomlady at 5:30 AM on November 9, 2010

I know you've said you can't go digital, but still ... when I get back from a trade-show, I take the stack of business cards I collected and I connect to each and every person on LinkedIn. It's the searchable rolodex-in-the-cloud. Then I throw the business cards in the trash.

LinkedIn is always up-to-date. Business cards are not.
posted by jbickers at 8:01 AM on November 9, 2010

Response by poster: Thanks for all the answers guys... I will be trying out a few of these an see which ones he likes.
posted by cheemee at 2:08 PM on November 9, 2010

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