If you are self-employed or own your own business, then networking will be one of your most important activities. And just as you would not expect a carpenter to turn up to a job without a full set of chisels, so you will need the tools of your networking craft.
By the way – if you get your business card given to you and cannot influence its design, skip down a bit and enjoy the links to some of the most imaginative business cards you’ll ever see.
A Sharp Business Card
If business cards are to networking what chisels are to carpentry, then what does a sharp business card look like? One way to get a feel for what makes a good or a bad business card is to look at loads. I never throw a business card away, and from time to time, I try to draw some lessons from them.
Five Lessons for Great Business Cards
- Keep it simple
Don’t have more than three zones of content. Each zone is a compact block of text or graphics that works together, for example, a logo, or a logo and strap-line may be one block; your contact details may be another.
- Make sure that the style gives the right message
We all read something from style, so make sure that people read the right thing from the style of your card. Run off a number of mock-ups and give them to friends or colleagues and ask them: ’what does this card say about me?’
- Colour is important
Colour conveys a message about you, so choose it with care and, unless you are using full colour images, keep the number of colours down. While colour conveys a style, don’t rely on it to convey important information, which should be in a strong dark colour for maximum readability.
- Make sure it says what you do
If I take your business card, I will want a prompt to help me remember what you do and why I found you so interesting.
- Use the back
A standard business card has two sides to it. One way to get more content or more creativity onto your card is to use both sides. For the marginal extra cost, you get a lot of extra real estate.
The Sixth Lesson for Great Business Cards
There are no rules to good design, and the best designs follow no rules. Here are five blogs with wonderful business card designs.
Management Pocketbooks you might enjoy
In The Networking Pocketbook, Jon Warner cites the statistic that 90% of us don’t have a calling card. I suspect that’s mostly the 90% who don’t really need one. However, far more worrying are his statistics that, of the remaining 10%, 35% show only name, address, and phone number, and 40% are out of date or have incorrect information and therefore have to be amended by hand every time they are given out. My collection does not quite bear out that statistic, but there are certainly a good handful that have scribbled comments names, numbers or addresses on them. It looks bad.
You may also like:
So here’s the deal
Take a critical look at your business card. Is it time for a refresh?
If no, take a look at some of the cards in the links above and enjoy being awestruck by the creativity.
And, if you have a card you are proud of, or some advice on how to create one, let our readers know by adding a comment below.