How your business card can help or hinder you

Business cards are often the only thing someone has to jog their memory once they’ve left your presence. And it’s not for lack of attention, it’s just that business life has become more frenetic and we’re all working in a network and, consequently, we know many companies.

So what does your business card do for the person you presented it to?

You need to tell them your name, your company, your role, your contact details, and better business cards that offer more marketing to you, the business card owner.

Your name on your business card

Your name needs to be printed. Not hastily scribbled. It wasn’t even printed through a business card printing program. Anything that smacked of cheap instantly lowered its value in the eyes of the recipient. After all, what company can’t afford to buy business cards for staff that mingle with other companies? And, obviously, the answer is: “those who are about to go bankrupt or cut corners!”

Lack of contact details

Conventional business cards tend to carry the landline phone number, mobile phone number and, less often, fax number, company address, website and email.

If any of these expected details are missing, the business card is screaming that the owner is a one-man overnight flight operator who won’t be around if the going gets tough or they don’t deliver on their promises.

Business card phone numbers

I have come across a number of cards that still only have a mobile phone number. That tells me you’re running your business from the kitchen table. There is nothing wrong with using the kitchen table. However, no landline makes it less likely that he will choose you over someone else who seems to be set up with a landline as well. It tends to indicate that they intend to be around for a while.

Using the wrong email address

Email addresses that don’t have the same domain name as your website or blog tend to make people wonder if you intend to continue. Also the use of Google/Gmail, Yahoo or Hotmail, while very convenient, screams that you are not a “proper” business and again begs the question of whether you will still be there tomorrow.

Poorly designed websites or parked domains

If your contact sits down with your business card to review your site, will they see a well-designed site? Or will they see a homemade hodgepodge or possibly worse a domain that is parked?

When your site is on your cards, you need to be sure that it continues to support your message when you’re not around.

I speak from my personal experience as I put up a site when I started in business (about 5 years ago) with the intention of designing it better later and then within 3 months I moved on to using my blog as my site. However, I did not redirect my site to my blog. That meant that as time went on, my hastily created site became increasingly dated and out of step with my own business. And it actually cost me business.

No business address says much

It tells your contact that you do not have a business premises. If you’re selling products that might need to be returned, that’s a huge blow to your contacts’ trust in you. If you’ve lost your address while working from home, keep in mind that few people will call on the off chance of seeing it.

I have an office in my house and no one has ever passed me without warning. Just as my insurance does not cover business visitors! Instead, we go to a nearby hotel that has delicious coffee on tap.