Even if you’re just starting out in business, you’ve probably seen and handled hundreds of different business cards in your life. Some business cards are great, some are downright awful. But simple exposure to business cards is not usually enough to educate a person about what kind of information should go on a business card. How do you know if you have everything you need on the front and back of your business card?
Until you’ve been in business for a few years and gone through a couple of redesigns on your business card, don’t leave it up to your own ideas of what a business card should look like. Leaving a crucial piece of information off your business card is akin to taking money out of your own pocket. You never know when a simple mistake or slip of the memory will hurt your business prospects.
It seems like a no-brainer to put your name on your business card, but in reality, deciding whether or not your Christian name should be displayed on your card is a bit tricky. Not every business warrants the use of your actual name on your business card.
People who don’t outright own a business should think twice before slapping their name on their card. If you are part of a team of employees working for a business, you may not want to put your name on your card. Having said that, some businesses would prefer their team members put their names on their business card. Leaving your name off your card could look lazy, or even discourage a new customer from contacting your business if the card looks too impersonal.
The Name of Your Business
The logo of your business and the design of the business card are important, but don’t get so hung up on the business card logo that you forget to put your company’s name on your card. The name of your business or the business you work for should be the focal point of the card. A good card balances the textual name of your business with the logo of the company itself, making sure that one element doesn’t overpower the next.
A Short Description of Your Business
The whole idea behind a business card is to specify your exact role in the company. If you’re the owner, make it clear. If you’re a customer service rep, make that clear. Business card design is hardly rocket science—a card tells your customer, friend, or relative exactly when they would want to contact you or your business for services.
You can take this too far, printing out a detailed list of your business services. The ideal “description of your business” here is more like a tagline or a single sentence. The best cards say something like: “Call [your name] whenever you need _____.” Be clever here, but not too clever.
Your Place of Business
Even if your business is based online, you should have a physical address attached to it so that your business card appears more official. We’re not quite at the point where online-exclusive businesses are as trustworthy as land-based businesses, so if you must, use your home address on the business card.
Putting your complete physical address is a polite nod to customers who may have concerns about the legitimacy of an online business. Of course, if your business isn’t based online, putting your physical address is a must, but a feature that some people (believe it or not) accidentally leave off their cards.
Your Contact Information
Detailed contact information can be a struggle in terms of creating a business card. With limited space and without drawing attention away from the other features of the card, put enough contact information so that your potential customers can reach you in as many was as possible.
You may have a pager, a cell phone number, and hopefully two or more landline or other cell phone numbers where you or someone at your company can be reached.
Having said that, most people prefer to put just one really solid contact phone number instead of junking up the card with all sorts of random phone number contacts. Select the phone number where you can be reached most often, a “preferred” contact number. This is a number where you or your company can be reached during normal business hours. This is a great tactic, because it clears up space on your business card while still allowing your customers access to you and your services.
Your Online Contact Info
Your business most likely has some sort of online contact information, even if most of your contacts and transactions happen “offline.” Your business card should contain some sort of online contact info as well as more traditional contacts. This can be as simple as your business’ website URL and your personal or business email address.
The main reason why people would avoid putting their email (personal or otherwise) is if they’d rather customers educate themselves about the business by visiting the website first. In that case, leave off your email info but make sure and make your business URL a highlight of the card. And by all means, make sure you get the URL exactly right. A misprint in a website address can really sap the usefulness of a business website and can frustrate potential customers.
Putting together a good business card is as much about trial and error as it is about a pretty design. Go through several versions of your business card, taking care to double check all the contact info, business details, phone numbers, and other pieces of information you stick on the card. Remember that a good business card can be your ticket to future business success or a calling card that lets your customers know that you don’t run a tight ship.
Here’s a great article about how to use a business card in the business world more effectively.