In Praise of Business Cards

I’ll admit I’m old fashioned when it comes to professional and business norms. How old fashioned? Well, I still use business cards and I still keep the ones I’ve entered into our electronic database. Why? Because I like to see and touch and visually remember who I met and when. I’m the person you meet who actually reads and comments on your card. “Nice colors,” “clever title,” and “great photo” are some of the things I’ll say when I meet you. And if it seems as though you might be receptive to some ideas, I’ll offer some to you right there on the spot. I’m not a graphic designer or a business marketing specialist but I do have a good sense of what works visually and let’s face it, I’ve seen a lot of business cards in my time– enough to make me more of an authority than most people.

I think the best cards have 5 key elements (in addition to the standard contact info of course). Once you have these in place, you can add some more personality.

5 things great business cards have in common

  1. Enough blank space that I can jot down some notes. I may want to jot down a note about where we met and what I promised to send you. The best cards are ones you can write on and that don’t have a coating that won’t absorb ink.
  2. Good and sturdy card stock. No flimsy I-printed-it-on-my-computer cards, please. Your card has to go from your hands to mine and from my hands to my pocket or my purse. Sturdy stock means it won’t look like a wrinkled shirt when I pull it out again – and like a first impression, still looks clean and crisp, the way you want me to remember you!
  3. A clever tagline. This is especially important if the name of your business doesn’t say what you do or who your target is. Help me remember the former and the latter and you’re more likely to get a call or referral from me.
  4. Easy to read font. The older we get, ahem, the harder it is to read small print. Combine small print with a cursive font and chances are your card will not be in my keeper pile. It might even make it to the cards I use with my coaching clients under the heading “what not to do.”
  5. A nice photo of you. Again, because we are visual and often come home after networking events with good intentions to immediately enter and categorize the contacts made, this rarely happens. Days, sometimes weeks go by before we start a formal follow up. And guess what? Your card will probably look no different than the 20 other cards I received with no photo… wait, were you the one with the glasses? Or the one who had long hair in a French Twist?

Women Owned BusinessAs an aside, if you are WBENC Certified or you hold any special certifications or industry related affiliations that are important to mention, take advantage of the marketing edge you’ll get by including those types of logos … For example, if you are a women-owned business, include that logo.

I could go on and on, but I think you get the point. Take a look at your cards– are they portraying your business in the best possible light? Are they leaving the person receiving them with the impression you want to leave? Does the person who receives your card know what you do? Is it time for a refresh? For a whole new look? The good news is that there are plenty of creative people out there who can help you. I’ll be happy to connect you with some women-owned businesses that will help you get your business card into the ‘best of’ category. Or, if you’d prefer, I invite you to get in touch and I’ll provide a critique!

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G. Nancy Allen is an international speaker, coach, consultant and expert on women’s business issues. Nancy has over 30 years of experience helping small business owners at all stages of growth. As President and CEO of WBDC Florida/Her Company Incorporated, Nancy manages and leads an incredible team of staff, sponsors, partners and women business leaders who are dedicated to certifying, connecting and championing women in business. Nancy has been recognized for her work on behalf of women in business through numerous prestigious awards: -Nancy was recently honored by the International Career and Business Alliance (ICABA) as one of South Florida’s 100 most accomplished Caribbean Americans. She is especially proud of this award because it highlights her heritage as well as her professional accomplishments. -Nancy is the recipient of the World Women Leadership Achievement Award from the World Women Leadership Congress -Nancy is also the proud recipient of the Association Marketing Award from Women in ECommerce. -Most recently Nancy was named Honorary Ambassador of Cascais, Portugal by the Ambassador’s Club of the Industry Sector of Cascais and the Estoril Coast. Nancy’s personal motto is Connections, Creativity and Courage in all endeavors. She holds a Master’s Degree from the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS, 1982). She was born in Haiti and raised in South Florida. Nancy is bi-lingual in English and French and is fluent in Spanish and Creole.