Most businesses will offer their contact information to other businesses or customers. However, managing these contacts can be a handful after collecting so many.
So whether you have someone’s business card, a connection on Linkedin, or their work information, it’s important to organize all and any of the information for a quick follow-up or potential business opportunities in the future.
Whether you prefer a digital or a physical organization solution, we have tips and methods for everyone. Here are 8 different options for you to find the best way to organize business contacts.
Before you get started, collect all your business contacts in one location
To manage contacts effectively, gathering all your contact data information in one centralized location is important.
Contacts can be anywhere from your phone contact list, cards, someone’s Linkedin profile, and their contact details such as work phone number, e-mail, etc.
If you have multiple contact details for one person, you should temporarily combine their contact information in one place. For example, you can use a piece of paper or a post-it note to jot down their business’s social media.
Use this temporary centralized place as a starting point.
4 methods for physical business contact organization
A Rolodex is perfect if you have most of your business contacts on business cards.
There are many kinds of Rolodexes out there. Some will have you tape your business cards onto card pages, and others will have a plastic sleeve for you to slide your business cards into. Most of the time, they will have alphabet tabs so that you can sort your card alphabetically by the person’s name or company.
With a Rolodex, you can quickly access your business contacts because of the rotation mechanism.
2. The card file
The card file is similar to the Rolodex. Instead of searching through the spinning axis, the card file will have you search through a slim box—almost like a mini filing system.
Since a card file is like a small filing system, you can quickly scan through all your business cards. Additionally, most card filing systems can fit standard-size index cards, so you can easily attach other business contact information and notes together.
This organization system is a great option when you have business cards as well as other business contact information.
Another simple alternative is an index card holder. Similar to a card file, you can also get index tab separators to organize your business contact information easily. Since business cards are smaller than index cards, you can attach the business card to the index card and write additional information on the backside.
A cheap way to effectively manage contacts is to use a notebook.
Using a notebook to organize contacts can be simple. Because of the size of the notebook, a standard business card fits perfectly within the notebook, and you can easily add notes for follow-up communication.
4. Business card notebook
The business card notebook takes organizing any business contact to the next level. Instead of a small compact organizer, you use a notebook.
There are two types of business card notebooks. One version is where you have a notebook that has just business cards. This option is great when you prefer to avoid compactly viewing items.
Another great option is when the notebook has space below or above the card slot for you to write additional notes along with a small checklist of things to do.
4 methods for digital business contacts organization
Using a document scanner or a scanning app can help you digitize physical business cards. Scanning business cards with a document scanner will get you high-quality images that you can digitally organize along with any extra notes.
5. Phone contacts
If you have a separate work phone or prefer making phone calls for business communication, then your phone can be a great contact management software.
Any phone has the potential to add to its contacts. So why not your business contacts? For your business contacts, you can type their name, title, work email, phone numbers, company name, additional notes, and even their social media link. You can download Google Contacts or other similar apps to help you manage your contacts.
Even though most phones won’t let you add their business card photo as notes, you can set each contact’s business card as their profile picture. But, if you have already inputted all their information into your phone contacts, you won’t need the business card anymore.
A spreadsheet is another great tool to organize your business contact information. For example, Google spreadsheets or Microsoft excel, but other spreadsheet software will also work.
Include in the first row first and last name, e-mail address, company name, job title, website, Linkedin, phone number, and other relevant information.
After that first row, insert all your business contact information. You can leave the spreadsheet cell blank for any information you don’t have.
If you want to add their business cards to the sheets, that’s no problem. You can manually insert an image of the business card or drag the photo file into the cell you want the image to be in.
A major benefit to a spreadsheet is that you can easily insert new contacts and search for a specific contact or business.
7. E-mail contacts
If your main point of contact is through email, then using your e-mail system as a contact management system is a good solution.
Managing contacts through an e-mail system is easier than you think.
Most e-mail contacts, such as Microsoft Outlook and Google Contacts, allow you to easily import contacts into their email system. Additionally, you can add notes and clickable links for quick access to their website or Linkedin.
8. Use a business card management app
If you have a lot of business cards you want to digitize, then a business card scanner like Shoeboxed can help.
With the Shoeboxed mobile app, you can scan business cards with a click of a button. Having a paid plan will allow you to automatically extract data from the card. Additionally, you can add notes in the provided space. For those on the DIY plan, you can still use the business card organizer by inputting the business card contacts yourself. Shoeboxed is a great option when you need to share or export all or specific business contacts with others through your phone, Google Contacts, Linkedin, or as a CSV to upload to other platforms.
There are plenty of other contact management tools that allow you to store and track your contacts. Additionally, they can be shared, so your business team can remotely access the information.
While organizing all your business contacts and keeping notes is not the most exciting part of running a business, contact management is an important part of business networking and nurturing your potential partnerships.
Organizing your business contacts will allow you to quickly search and find the one business contact you are looking for and not lose track of your important contacts.If none of these options match your style, then a mix of methods is the best way to organize business contacts. For example, if you travel for work but also work from home, it may be best to have a hybrid system so that when you travel, you will have a digital copy of your contacts.
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