What does your business card say about your business?

"Do you have a card?"  How many times have you asked that question when you meet someone new in a business setting?

Business cards are a traditional part of doing business. They have been around for hundreds of years, and it's easy to take them for granted. This is particularly true in light of all the popular social media platforms today that in many respects could easily replace the old faithful business card. Yet, the business card remains a fixture in the business world.

Is your business card sending the right message? Is it time for a business card make-over?

Tips for a 'Business Card Makeover'

Diana Ratliff, the author of Business Card Breakthroughs and owner of an online business card design firm, Business Card Design.com, believes cards are still one of the best ways to consolidate all your contact information in one place.
"It's smart to put your website address on your card and give people a reason to visit," Ratliff says. "There are ways to 'marry' the older technology of business cards with the newer technology of the Internet." 

For example, Ratliff does this by putting a quick response or QR code on her own business cards, leading recipients to her business websites. Ratliff advises your business card should be viewed as a "tiny marketing billboard".

She also offers these important must-have tips for most business cards:

  • Describe "Who you are, what you do, especially if it's not obvious from your company name, and the primary way to reach you."
  • "A photo is smart if you're in a relationship business; but it's got to be recent and really look like you for a business card."
  • "A logo may or may not be a good choice for your card; if it's part of your branding, fine but if it's some generic clip-art leave it off!"
  • "Put something like a testimonial or map to your store or business certifications or customer testimonials on there instead."

With so many business cards getting passed around, how do you make yours stand out?  Your business cards should be unique and reflect your business brand. When designing of your business card, ask if you could easily drop in a competitor's name and it would fit their brand too. If that's the case, the design isn't right for your business.

A word of caution, however: You may want to think twice before getting too unusual with your card design. Ratliff says while unusual business cards attract attention, they are often hard to keep or store:

"Being clever is a waste of money if they do not fulfill the primary purpose of giving someone an easy ways to reach you."

The next time you start to hand out your business card stop and think about its power. Is it delivering the right message?

By Susan Wilson Solovic of All Business.com

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