Do #1 – Plan, prepare, design, proof, redesign, fall in love with your business card

Your business card is your opportunity to promote yourself to your immediate business community and potential new clients, suppliers and even employers. You need to make sure that your business card is a true reflection of who you are and what you are about. If you want to appear a smooth suave operator then your business card needs to show similar characteristics. Remember that once printed you are stuck for the next few months with your business card so make sure you love them before they are printed.

Do #2 – Pick your mostĀ favourite ten business card designs

Most people have a big box of other people’s business cards in a new drawer near to their desk or workstation. A great pre-design idea is to select the best 10 business cards in your collection and put them around your desk while you decide on your new business card. You’ll find you save time on your project as others will have suffered the same pain as you but will also have solved the key problems with regards to wide range of different designs and those types of content that work and don’t work. Is it plagiarism? Its hardly video piracy but make sure you won’t end up giving someone your business card which is almost identical to their own. That would be a difficult scenario to get out of.

Do #3 – Make your business card as memorable as possible

Imagine someone else in six months time doing exactly what you’ve been doing ie selecting their favorite business cards from their collection of 100+ cards. How are you going to make yours remarkable and memorable. You can think of putting your photograph on your business card or maybe a relevant image like your key product, business headquarters or office pet. Alternatively you could use the reverse side of your business card as a tool for making a real difference. Keep picturing the person sitting at their desk and looking at your business card. What are they thinking? Also consider the various senses (ie sight, sound, smell, touch, etc) which could affect the reader. By the way, a nice rounded corner to your business card goes a long way.

Do #4 – Ensure there is a minimum of three forms of information on your business card

Are fax numbers still relevant? Does anyone actually use their facsimile transfer machine? Do you know anyone who says “I’ll send you a fax”? These are questions you should consider when you’re planning your business card design. You may also want to avoid putting your address on your business card, especially if you work from home. You may also want to avoid receiving annoying postal direct mail from someone who you’ve given your business card to. Research by business professionals suggest you should always include a minimum of three forms of information upon your business card. The minimum amount of information for any business card should be: name, telephone number and email address. Is this enough? This could be a very classy business card if you produced a three-line business card using a beautiful raised font printed on really high grade one-sided card. The other extreme is to ram as much information as you can on both sides of your business card in a tiny font – aaaarrrgh!

Do #5 – Print enough business cards so you’re not too precious about them

There’s an hour left of your key business exhibition. You have two business cards left and you know there are a minimum of three important people you will be seeing. Which two should you give your business cards to? If you’ve genuinely run out because you’ve had a brilliant business event and met loads of great business contacts then that’s okay. However if you forgot to take enough business cards remember next time you re-print your business cards make sure you print double the number you need. You will notice this doesn’t cost double the cost normally only a few pounds more for twice as many.


Don’t #1 – Print your own business cards

Would you cut your own hair? Well you might do it once but then never again. You can always tell those people who have made their own business cards as they are produced on flimsy paper, with faded washed-out colours and are on odd sized paper which is never squarely cut. The other key Don’t within this category is ‘Never bake your own business card’ for obvious reasons.

Don’t #2 – Produce a business card which discourages your potential clients from dealing with you

We all know that first impressions count – your business card falls massively into this category. If you produce a business card which shows you as arrogant, self-obsessed or even unprofessional then the chances of you gaining business from your card are hugely diminished. Unless you are a model, you should avoid putting glamorous photos of yourself. You should also avoid putting small achievements like employee of the month. Other unprofessional conduct would include incorrect spelling, inaccurate information or some embellishment of the truth.

Don’t #3 – Make your business card inappropriate, irrelevant or extremely dull

Controversy can often be very effective in getting yourself noticed (see item Do #3 above). However there is a time and place for everything and having a naked photo of your girlfriend on the back of your business card is probably not quite the right thing to promote your accountancy practice. There are certain issues you should not associate yourself with. Putting your Dora the Explorer fan club number on your business card might also appear a little strange.

Don’t #4 – Keep distributing out-of-date business cards

Have you ever received a business card with hand-written changes on it. If you’ve moved address or switched mobile phone numbers but haven’t changed your business card yet, get to it straight away. You need to understand the value of a new sale against the cost of a business card reprint. Its a no-brainer!

Don’t #5 – Forget to take your business cards at all times

“Yes Sir Alan of course I’d like to work for you. Here’s my… oh sorry I seem to have left them at home.”

If you’ve got them, flaunt them! And possibly invest in a business card holder to ensure they remain in their original pristine condition. This shows you care about your own things and hence would also care about your potential new client. And always have at least five business cards on you at all times, except when swimming!


Jim is a prolific networker, small business mentor and a supporter of anything 'community'. He is an ambassador for Young Enterprise on the South Coast and loves to spend his time encouraging entrepreneurial spirit in everyone he meets.

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