Business cards are a waste of time

Radhika Sivadi

3 min read ·


No Business Card

Wasting time is a disaster in business and business cards are an example of the distractions that keep you from success.

By Ramit Sethi.

I was working with a young woman, "Nicole," to help her grow her business. Even though she was working 10+ hours every day, she wasn't seeing the results in her bank account. "I'm doing all this work," Nicole told me, "and it just feels like I'm spinning my wheels. I just don't know if any of it is actually working."

The blunt truth: Many business people are wasting their time doing things they think they "should" do, which will never result in real results.

Today's message: Stop playing at business. Eliminate time-wasters. Focus on what drives real results.

Time-Waster #1: Social media

"Get on social media!"

"That's where the conversation is!"

This is the advice you hear from expert after expert.

Ironically, these experts recommend social media without ever explaining how it will lead to a business solution. "Get people to 'Like' your Facebook page!" But ask them how that will lead to results, and they'll give you a blank stare: "It's not about results, it's about engagement."

I have 35,000+ Twitter followers. Would it surprise you to know that Twitter is one of the least-effective channels for business? (The #1? Email, by far.)

Think about it: When you're on Facebook or Twitter, are you looking to buy? Of course not. So why would other people want to buy your products or services when they're trying to talk to their friends?

Time-Waster #2: Business cards

The simple question to ask before getting business cards: Will this help me get new clients or make new contacts?


The last time you went to an event and handed out your business card, how many people actually followed up? I tested it myself and got less than 1 response out of 100.

It would make more sense to find the people you want to talk to and email them directly. Don't count on someone reaching out to you — that's just lazy.

And when someone asks you, "Do you have a business card?" Just say, "No, I didn't bring mine, but can I get your contact information? I'll email you." Then do it.

Time-Waster #3: Blogs

How many small businesses or entrepreneurs do you know that spend thousands of dollars and months launching a blog…only to get no audience and no customers?

I know this story. My students have wasted hundreds of hours starting blogs. Months later, they've written four times, and it eventually dies.

If you're a small-business owner, a blog is one of the last things you probably need. And I say this as a guy who has over 300,000 monthly readers on my blog,!

For most of us, we need paying clients and customers, not blogs. Even if you really need a website (which many businesses do not), keep it simple: Explain who you are, why you're different, and what you can do for your target market. Ignore the fancy bells and whistles.

For example, when I started my site,, in 2004, I had a terribly ugly site for years — until I finally got enough traffic to justify spending more time and money on it. It was good enough.

And ask yourself: Do you really need a blog at all? Why? How will it grow your business? If your answer is "awareness," come back to it in six months — when you have a better answer.

What SHOULD you spend your time on?

It's simple: Do whatever it takes to get your first three paying customers. Your first might be your sister, the second your aunt, but three clients tells you you're on the right track.

Once you have those three clients, you have lots of options:

• Ask for referrals

• Ask what additional services they want (then offer them, they will happily pay)

• Test pricing changes for future clients

Most of all, avoid time-wasters that allow you to "play business," but don't really affect your bottom line. Use this free Time Clinic to save 1 hour/day.

When you do — and when you eliminate these useless tasks that drive no real business value — you'll have more time to focus on the areas that matter: deeply understanding your customers, finding more of them, and serving them so well that they'll be delighted to pay.

Ramit Sethi is the author of the New York Times bestseller, I Will Teach You To Be Rich. Get his free techniques and word-for-word scripts at

Radhika Sivadi