I’m doing a crazy little balancing act. Between the baby, the business, the charity, and the blog my days are jam-packed. It’s a wonder sometimes that I leave the house with any clothes on. But, forget my business cards? Never!
Until last night….
How did that happen?
I am a stationery designer. My office contains approximately 180 drawers of paper. Paper and ink are very important to me and my profession. Communicating things on paper are very important. So, how is it that I didn’t have the proper business cards to pass out last night? I’ll never know.
But, it got me to thinking about the importance of business cards. They seem so simple, but so often businesses get them wrong. Here are my two cents on business cards.
Your name MUST be on the business card. How else will we know who we just met with? I’ll be digging through cards from xyz mingle night and I’ll see your business card, and god help me to remember your name. Your employees should have cards with their names if they are meeting with clients also.
Your company logo should appear on the business card. When starting out it may be hard to make the investment in a graphic designer to do this. Find a designer that you can barter a service with (take their family photos and they’ll do your logo.) Or, find a talented college student who is trying to pad their portfolio. Get a logo that represents you and your business. A logo can make or break you. Invest wisely.
- Phone Number
You must have a phone number where people can reach you at, and preferably not the same one you use for personal calls. (You will have clients calling you at all hours of the night – and I don’t recommend that for your sanity.) If you have a home-based business, you can add a second cell phone line for ~$10/month or you can get a Vonage account for ~$15/month.
People want to do their research. They want to learn more about you. Include your website.
You must give people an email address to contact you. I think its better when email addresses reflect the person on the card (michelle@sageweddingpros vs info@sageweddingpros). It’s more personal. And, steer clear of the free emails (yahoo, hotmail, gmail). It isn’t professional.
My next generation of business cards will also have my twitter and facebook information. To me, these are valuable places in which I do business. If you have a brick and mortar, or an office space, you might include your business address. I have an office but only meet people by appointment. You may want to let people know that, or leave it off your card.
- Don’t make it busy
Don’t get crazy with too many wacky font combinations. Don’t get crazy with text layout over all sides of the 2×3.5 card. Don’t get crazy with too many colors. Don’t put too much info. The purpose is not to create a Picasso. It is to communicate information about you and your business to others. It must be legible.
- Don’t add extraneous stuff
Sometimes I get business cards from people in the wedding industry that aren’t really a reflection of their business. They add something “wedding-y” because they think this is part of being in the industry, but it makes their business card sorta corny. Stick to your branding.
- Don’t get crazy with shape and size
I struggle with this last point because I do love unique cards. I love a square or circle card… they are so different! But, when I can’t put a business card in a wallet (or even a business card holder) it’s hard for me to keep your business card. Make sure if you change up the shape that it can fit into a business card holder.
Lastly… and maybe I’m biased… but I have to talk to you about what I think is most important in a business card…
The quality of the paper is VERY important. I know it is unrealistic for most new businesses to have letterpressed or engraved business cards. But, you can have nice impressive business cards for less than $1000. They may cost you more than $20 at Kinkos. But, think of it this way: You are purchasing 500-1000 first impressions. A business card says EVERYTHING about you and your business. It speaks to people long after you are done meeting with them.
So… do as I say… and, not as I did… put business cards in each and everyone one of your wallets and purses… don’t leave home without’m!