Business cards are a very valuable tool in your toolbox. There's a lot of potential packed into that little 2×3 paper rectangle. I've put this compilation together based on the questions I receive most from start-up entrepreneurs.
What information should I include on my business card?
At the very least, you should have your company name, your name, business telephone number, email address and your picture.
- Use a professional email address. You@YourWebsite.com is much more credible than You@Yahoo.com, You@Gmail.com or other 3rd party email services.
- Remember to have a professional voice mail message on the phone number you provide. “Hey, it's the Clevelands AND the offices of The Entrepreneur's Toolbox” is a credibility buster.
- Sometimes money can be tight in the beginning. Your picture does not have to be done by a professional but it does have to depict you as a professional. A great shot of you cut out of a group photo or with a friend at some get together does not showcase your professionalism. The same goes for that awesome shot of you holding a glass of wine. There are so many great cameras available on phones now, have someone snap a nice shot of you with a favorable background.
If you have decided on your title or position, i.e. Business Development Strategist, Graphic Artist, Yoga Instructor, include that as well.
I work from a home office, do I have to include my address?
With the growth of start-up businesses, solo-preneurs, home-based businesses and internet businesses it has become more acceptable not to include an address. Even though I have a P.O. Box for those who still want to communicate via snail mail have that option, I don't include it on my card. Quick Tip: I do use the P.O. Box for my email marketing service because they require a physical address.
Should I put my logo on my business card?
Your logo helps people identify your company and strengthens brand recognition across multiple platforms. Your business card is one of those platforms.
What if I don't have a logo yet?
Many start-up business owners haven't yet had a logo designed in the beginning stages. Either they haven't decided on one or they don't yet have the funds to have one created. Don't let that deter you from ordering your business cards. You can always order new cards once you have a logo designed.
Should I do one sided or two sided business cards?
If you can afford to print something on the back side of your business card, by all means do it. Remember to leave a bit of room at the top or bottom of the card so that people can make a note about you after meeting you. It helps them remember you when they get back to their office.
You can put a small blurb about your free offer and a link to where they can sign up to receive it. If you don't yet have a free offer, you could include your company's mission statement, company slogan or a quote that is meaningful to your audience.
Can I add a QR code to my card?
You could. I personally do not. Here are some things to consider.
- QR codes are not as popular as they once were. I believe part of the reason is because mobile devices have never come equipped with a QR code reader and most people won't download one. Just curious-Do you have a reader on your phone?
- QR codes take up a considerable amount of room. You don't want your card to be cluttered. Do you really want to give up valuable real estate on your card for this particular item?
- Is your website mobile friendly? This is a common mistake with QR codes in general. If I scan your QR code and can't view your site or it is clunky and difficult to navigate on a mobile device, your credibility takes a hit. Visitors may wonder if you're not up to date on this, where else are you missing the mark?
Should I add my Social Media links?
Sure. Be intentional though. Only include the ones that are relevant to your audience. Do your clients and prospects need to see your favorite cat pics on Pinterest or your wedding dress ideas on Instagram?
I have 2 businesses, should I include both of them on my business card?
There are a couple of quotes that come to mind. “No one can serve two masters.” and “Jack of all trades, master of none.”
People looking at your business card may feel confused and surmise that you are not an expert at either business. Remember also that we all like to feel special. We want to feel like the experts we turn to understand us and what we specifically need. Listing two businesses doesn't support that.
My advice is to create 2 different business cards, one for each business. When you are out networking, know your audience and only pass out the relevant card. I was at a networking event and had someone give me 2 different cards and say they might be able to help me one way or the other. It felt like she wanted me to do her job and figure out which one was the best fit. You can probably figure out where I filed both of those cards.
Which is better, a local printer or an online service like VistaPrint?
I don't know that one is essentially “better” than the other. There could be a variety of deciding factors to consider.
In my experience, local printers cost more. If you are starting out and haven't yet nailed down your logo, colors, etc I would suggest going with an online service like VistaPrint. They have templates you can choose from and simply fill in the blanks with your information. As you become more grounded with your logo, etc, you don't have as much invested and can more easily justify the added expense of having new cards made.
I didn't use a local printer until I was confident in my business image and information and wanted some personalization like rounded corners. Keep in mind that there are also online companies who can customize as well. One of the benefits I found in using a local printer was that they came to know more about my business and were apt to refer other businesses my way.
I use VistaPrint to create business cards specifically for my opt in campaigns and events from time to time. It is a low-cost way to invite people to register when I am out and about.