As a BNI Director and Member I have collected cards from all over the world over the last 25 years. I have seen more kinds of business cards than you can imagine. From thin paper cards, cards pressed into wood, round ones, to multi color and black and white ones.

Business cards are an important reflection of your brand. It is often the very first thing others may see from your business. You hand them out daily to people who ask for them and those who don’t. Business cards are important, even if you are not working; it is a valuable tool to have with you. Every business card should have all of your contact information on it so that others can follow up with you.

I had the opportunity to sit down with a gentleman who was between jobs; he was seeking some feedback from me and wanted to make contacts that might lead him to a new position. We had a great conversation and I was very interested in being able to help him. At the end of our conversation, when it was time to part, I asked for his card so I could follow up and connect him should I meet anyone who needed his expertise. He did not have one. I had no way to follow up with him or to connect others to him. My recommendation, get a card made. Even if you are unemployed, your business card is important.

As I have spent years networking and looking at cards, I can tell you there are good ones and there are bad ones. I have seen some beautiful cards that are 4 colors and stunning, but are completely unreadable. While others have been two-color with a sharp logo and beautiful type that makes it easy to read.

When designing or redesigning your cards consider these 7 tips:

  1. Avoid boring black and white – One of the nicest cards I was given recently was a black and white, but with a surprise of just a splash of beautiful red on it. It was memorable, like the black and white photos with a splash of color in them. It is a great card, simple but it stands out. Black and white cards with nothing more than the name, address and phone number do not represent you and your business well. These are often lost in the stack of slick 4 color cards. Spend a little more and add a little color to your card, even if you are unemployed and looking for work, you want your card to stand out a little.
  1. Keep graphics simple – I have picked up or been given cards that have visually overwhelmed me and just trying to read them has given me a headache. There is so much going on graphically that the information on the card is lost, or there is so much information that it is hard to spot the contact information. Or the cards graphics are beautiful but the font is completely unreadable.
  1. Make the font a readable size – As we age our eyesight begins to get a little worse. Reading becomes more difficult. Business people think they must put so much information on the card that they make the font smaller and smaller. I was recently given a card that had a very large logo on it, but when I tried to read the email address it was so small that I could not see it. Your logo is not more important than your contact information. If you want people to follow up with you, make your contact information look important on the card, not an afterthought.
  1. Update your photo – This most often occurs in the Real Estate market, but certainly there are many others who are guilty of this. The photos have not been updated in several years, yet the businessperson keeps using it. Anyone who puts a photo on the card needs to make sure they keep it updated often.
  1. Odd size and odd shape – I like the cards that are a little different in shape and size as long as I can read the information on them.
  1. Both the front and back of the card is used – I think the front and the back of the card are meant to be used for something. I was at a networking event and met a young lady who had several versions of her business card. On the back of each of her cards was a different clever design. Very simple, from tinker toys with the slogan “Build something big” or another with a dandelion spraying seeds in the air and the slogan was “Spread something big”. They were simple cool cards; I wanted to collect all of them and could not wait to meet the creator of the cards. Does your card do this for you?
  1. Don’t order a website stock card – If you want people to believe you are a successful business, take the time to make your card unique. Spend a little money with a graphic designer to make your card special. I have 6 business cards laying on my desk, all from different people and all identically the same. Each of them came from a stock card design off of an Internet site and each were supposed to be the cards of successful business professionals. Your card should be your brand, not the brand of a website order house.

Your business card is often an item that people will keep around for a long time, they will judge your business by your card, so it is important to make sure it can be read and people want to keep it. It may be the first and last representation of you and your brand, so take a look at your card, what does it say about you and your business?

Happy Networking,

Hazel