QR Codes – A Green Approach to Business Cards

While a paperless office is becoming more and more possible with today’s technology, we still depend on printed paper for many of our business needs. Brochures are still enticingly printed on glossy paper and business cards are still essential for networking with potential clients. It doesn’t look like electronic versions will take over from their paper ancestors any time soon, human nature being more impressed by something tangible and 3D, than by a 2D screen version.

However the good news is that there are ways that you can make brochures and business cards connect more easily with the electronic world. Top of the list is the QR code, the latest in scannable technology to hit the US and South Africa in the last year.

A QR code is like a bar code but can contain a vast amount more data – think website URLs, contact details and more. Savvy business people have them printed on their business cards. New contacts and clients can then just scan the data into their Smartphone with just one click of the camera button. They do of course need an app to read the data but, as QR codes catch on, more and more people are using them. It’s getting to the point where if you don’t have a QR code on your business card that people will grumble about having to manually enter your data into their phone!

So how do QR codes make business cards greener?
For a start you may be able to give out fewer cards. Once someone has scanned in the details, they may not hang on to the actual card. Of course many people are still in the habit of collecting cards to write notes and reminders on, so don’t expect that you can get away with just one card at a networking event! QR codes can also allow you to simplify the design on your business cards.

Instead of cramming a whole raft of contact details, URLs and other info into a small space you can include it all in the QR code leaving space for a cleaner and more appealing design on the rest of the card. However don’t forget that your business card still needs to function for those you don’t have a Smartphone app, so do include enough information in the old-fashioned written format!

Another green way of using a QR code on your business card: use the code to link directly to your electronic brochure, services web page or other advertising material. This can save you giving out any number of brochures and fliers at networking events. Your QR coded business card is all you need to give out. It can link to a web page that you update regularly with all special offers, new services etc, so you don’t need to keep getting new fliers of leaflets printed, every time you update your services.

Look out for printers experienced in designing QR codes when planning your new business cards, so they can help you make the most of the new technology and come up with a cutting edge look for your code.

Business Valuations Facilitate An Earlier and Wealthier Retirement

Obtaining a business valuation (B.V.) today for your company facilitates an earlier and wealthier retirement. A Gallup poll evaluating small-business owners and retirement reveals some critical findings. According to the findings, 47% of company owners plan to retire only when forced to due to health reasons. The Gallup poll offers another staggering statistic. Nearly 33% of business owners are relying on their perceived value of their company when it comes time to sell as a significant portion of their retirement income.

What these results indicate is multifaceted. First, an overwhelming number of small-business owners will be retiring later in life, worrying they will not have enough retirement income to sustain their retirement. They also worry about the future value of their organization in order to fund their retirement. Companies offer enough challenges in short-term and long-term sustainability to need to worry over the future value of your company. Obtaining a (B.V.) today can successfully offer a business owner clarity and accuracy in the value of their business now, so that internal operations and strategies can be evaluated for the future benefit of the company.

Completing a (B.V.) today offers immediate piece of mind and a concrete objective tool to properly prepare to retire, retire earlier on your timing, and to make the necessary changes now to prepare for a more lucrative ultimate sale of your business. A (B.V.) places the business owner in a power position rather than being at the mercy of health concerns or other potentially damaging factors dictating the time and price of sale. Because the average business sale takes 12 to 18 months, this is of particular importance for small-business owners.

Co-founder and partner in Synergy Business Services, Barbara Taylor, offers advice to small-businesses in The New York Times business blog titled “You’re the Boss.” Ms. Taylor outlines simple yet effective actions and steps small-business owners must implement now to prepare for retirement.

The most important recommended action item is to obtain a (B.V.) on your company immediately. She states the valuation is an invaluable tool to increase the value of your business early, thus attracting more prospective buyers when the business is ultimately for sale.

Another recommendation in preparing for retirement and the ultimate sale of your business is to start reducing the role the business owner plays in daily operations. A (B.V.) will accurately highlight the strengths and weaknesses of the company, allowing the owner to begin acquiring the right management team to transition operations and management for the overall success and profitability of the company.

Lastly, understand the different exit options for your business, including a merger, sale, or transition of the business to a family member. Your (B.V.) will assist in evaluating the best exit strategy for your company. Obtaining a business valuation today will facilitate an earlier and more successful retirement.