(This is the third post in a series. The first post (from July 8) can be found here, the second (from July 12) here.)
Most people who started new businesses did not start them during a pandemic. Those of us who did had a different experience than older firms. Some things those older firms did weren’t necessary for the COVID firms.
Starting a business during a pandemic
When I started Bredemarket, I wasn’t creating tangible collateral.
When would I use it?
I wasn’t driving to clients’ offices to pitch my services. I was sitting in my home office, communicating with people online, and never visiting them. I had not met any of my clients in-person in years, and some of my clients have never met me in-person at all.
I wasn’t mailing things to clients or potential clients…well, not through the U.S. Postal Service anyway. I’m using email, LinkedIn, and other electronic communication methods to interact with my clients. Bredemarket’s inventory doesn’t even include a single stamp.
And in my case I wasn’t traveling on any real business trips. (I didn’t go to last week’s International Association for Identification conference.) For me, my only “business trips” so far have been to:
- My mailbox.
- My bank.
- Tech on Tap.
My prediction of the death of tangible collateral was premature
You may remember that after going to Tech on Tap, I had to change my mind about tangible collateral. It obviously still existed.
I previously thought that tangible collateral had gone the way of the dodo.
You can’t blame me for thinking that tangible collateral was on the way out, because I was conducting most of my business without physically entering a location. My city business license, my fictitious business name application, and even my business bank account were all applied for online.
Tangible collateral was of far less importance than my QR code.
And now I’m printing tangible collateral
So what changed?
Well, I’m going to an in-person event next week. For my younger readers (i.e. those who developed awareness after 2019), an “in-person event” is something where you are actually in the same room as the people that you are meeting, rather than looking at them in boxes on your computer screen.
After I registered for the in-person event, I realized that I needed to obtain something, preferably before the meeting.
I needed business cards.
And the business cards had to be Bredemarket business cards. I still have some business cards from my former employer, but they’re obviously not going to do me any good.
Now travel back to those long-ago days of 2019 and try to imagine any firm, even a service-based firm, conducting business for almost a year without bothering to print business cards.
Since I haven’t really dealt with business cards in a couple of years, it’s time for me to brush up on business card etiquette:
Cards should not be handed out by the left hand, should never be written on and should always be translated to the language of the specific country they are being handed out in on the rear of the card. They should never be carried loose and presented in the best condition.
(By the way, don’t you think that last sentence needs a comma?)
Anyway, I have finally ordered some business cards, which should arrive before my in-person event next week.
And I’ll also be ready for a SECOND in-person event.
Unless a future Mu or Nu variant of COVID sends us all back home.