I don’t understand how anyone can survive in the business world anymore without having an email address and a website.

In my job, I deal with a lot of sales people everyday, and the amount of folks who still rely on a fax machine for the majority of their correspondence just boggles my mind.  Recently, I’ve met with different reps from different companies, all trying to secure my business.  Each one had their little catalogs and fliers, some had the SAME catalogs and fliers just with a different sticker on it, and each left me a business card so I could contact them later.

I also recently went through a tradeshow where I had a lot of contact with professionals from my industry and collected a large amount of business cards.  Going through them, a few things stuck out in my mind and bothered me.

First off, a couple of people who want to be vendors of mine, don’t have email addresses.  None.  Zip.  They have a -fax- number and a phone number.  Also, there’s no website listed for either company and a quick Google search came up empty.  How on earth can you be in business today and not have some sort of website?!  Even a crappy Front Page website would be better than nothing at all.  Okay, you’re right – a crappy Front Page website would not be better than nothing.  But at least it would be something.

Reminds me of years ago when I was working in Chattanooga.  I was doing all the advertising for a manufacturer there and I didn’t like sending out native files to print shops – I always sent PDF’s.  PDF’s made more sense because the print shop didn’t have to have the program I used to create the file.  This meant they didn’t have to spend the money to purchase expensive software suites, which meant their costs were lower and so were my prices.  Plus, if there were anything at all wrong with the file or if something needed to be tweaked, I didn’t get stuck with a charge for them to do it.

PDF’s became a standard for a lot of places – heck, they prefer PDF’s now.  But back then, I ran into some real geniuses who told me they could take a PDF for press work, and then promptly tried to open the PDF in PageMaker so they could make tweaks to it.  They -liked- the native file model of business and were damned sure not gonna give up on it just yet.  So I just moved to a different print shop.

Email has become a standard as well.  How often are you talking with someone and you say, "Hey – can you shoot me an email on that?"  It’s just easier and, to my mind, makes more sense.

Second, the quality of business cards ranges from very nice to utter crap and all things in between.  I had one person hand me a slip of paper that they had used a rubber stamp with their contact info on.  Um, excuse me?  You are telling me that you are so cheap you won’t even TRY to get a real business card?!  Another handed me a card that he’d scratched off all the info except the phone and fax numbers, telling me that he’d switched companies but still had a thousand cards to go through.


Good quality business cards are SO CHEAP!  Why on earth would anyone hold onto a thousand cards with outdated info, including an old company logo on them, just to save a buck?!  Recycle them and get some new ones for godsake!!

Back on target though: I have to admit – the folks who listed a fax number and no email were on the older side of the scale.  I know there are lots of statistics out there talking about how the older you are, the less likely you are to embrace new technologies – but come on!  Email has been here for a long time and has been the contact method of choice for at least ten years.  Plus, it’s so much easier to deal with!  If I have to send a fax, I have to go find someone who can point me in the direction of a fax machine because in all honesty, I have absolutely no idea where one might be in the building I work in.