4 Lessons in Business Card Basics
When I first started networking, I used to measure my 'success' at each event, by counting the number ofbusiness cards I'd excitedly handed out.
This was my first mistake. Because giving your card to 23 people in dapper suits, does not mean that you are going to receive 23 call backs.
My second mistake was putting a large chunk of the English alphabet next to my name: Neely Khan- Cambs. MA/ BA, EFL Qual (what does that even mean?).
When it comes to business cards, it's easy to get distracted by complementary colours and 'matt lamination'. But there are a few basics we ought to understand, before making that all-important, first impression.
Don't fall into the trap of making the same mistakes as myself; my 4 lessons in business card basics will help you produce cards that are the perfect representation of yourself, and your company.
Lesson 1: Your Job Title
A seemingly obvious suggestion, but ensure that your business card explains what you actually do.
Although the title of 'CEO' and 'Founder' might make you seem very important, it is not always helpful for your future associates. This is even more paramount if you are the owner of an SME; you're likely to wear many professional hats, but outlining your main function in the business is vital.
For clarity and accreditation, try something like: Mark Smith, Photographer and Co-Founder
Lesson 2: White Space
Standard business cards are wallet-sized for a reason. They are not designed to be crammed with text or act as 'part 1' of your CV.
Think about your potential contact's valuable time, and their frustration when they're having to scour through the other two dozen cards they've received. Not only will white space help make your business card visually appealing, it will give you room to make brief notes for the person you are networking with. This will jog their memory when they return to it later, and encourage them to give you a call.
Lesson 3: Design & Creativity
We all want our business cards to stand out amongst the rest. Ensure that yours is in line with your branding (include your logo, and the same colour scheme). You may want to have your card in the shape of something associated with your service, such as a delivery van, or 3-tiered birthday cake. However, be mindful of where people will keep your card after you have given it to them; will a card with pointy corners or bumpy edges fit comfortably inside a purse?
It's a good idea to seek advice from an expert. A graphic designer, if you know one, or an external company such as 'moo.com'.
Lesson 4: Contact Information
As well as including your company name and job title, you will need to outline your contact information as well. Phone number and full address is a given, but don't forget the importance (and rise!) of social media, too.
Whilst a company website is given utmost importance, more clients are now becoming interested in a business's online presence, through channels such as Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube. Be sure that all your contact details are presented in a legible font and size; you need to be accessible before potential leads can get in touch with you.
Remember, there's a certain kind of etiquette involved when it comes to presenting business cards to potential clients and associates. Don't forcefully give your card to somebody if they haven't even asked for it; and remember to collect business cards from professionals who you'd like to connect with, as well.