A business card is one of the most time-tested tools you have for communicating information about you and your company to potential customers and clients. Business cards are so common that sometimes entrepreneurs take them for granted. But taking your business card for granted is a mistake. With a little thought and planning, your business card can pay big dividends.
(article continues below)
Here are some things to keep in mind when designing and using business cards:
(1) Your business card is a representation of you
Like it or not, your business card says a lot about you. A smart, attractive business card tells the world that you know what you're talking about. On the other hand, a poorly-designed business card tells the world something else entirely.
Take some time to browse through the business cards you've received from other business people. Which ones leave a good impression about the people they represent? Which ones leave a negative impression?
Make a list of the elements the "good impression" cards have in common, and use that list to begin to create your own business card.
(2) Be creative, but not too creative
A certain amount of creativity is a good thing when you are designing a business card. But too much of a good thing is no longer a good thing. In other words, the amount of creativity you should apply toward designing your business card does have limits.
The best advice is to stick with what works. Colors and pictures can be helpful if they are used artfully. But don't mess with the size of your business card – keep it the standard 2" x 3.5". Resist the urge to change the weight of the paper, too. Heavy card stock is the standard for business cards. Lighter weight papers don't say creative, they say cheap.
(3) Be concise, but complete
Don't lose sight of the big picture when you design your business card. The purpose is to communicate information about you and your company. At a minimum your card should list your name, your company's name, your contact information, and something that gives the recipient an idea what your company does.
(4) Use business card etiquette
Believe it or not, there is a right and wrong way to distribute and receive business cards. It is acceptable to request a business card from someone, but only as long as you have offered your card to them first. If the person outranks you, then you should wait for them to offer you their card first.
Also, only give each person one card. By giving them a handful of cards you are insinuating that you expect them to act as a recruiter on your behalf. Unless they have explicitly agreed to do so, multiple card distribution is bad form.
When you receive someone else's card, take a moment to look at it before stowing it away in your notebook. No matter what you do, never stuff a business card into your back pocket, especially in front of the giver!