Does Your Business Card Take Care of Business?
Earlier this week, Danealle Marshall of a BNI chapter out of Orlando, Florida, BNI Gold Partners, reached out to me via Twitter to ask a great question that a lot of business professionals will face during their career.
@IvanMisner What have you either done or witnessed as the most clever alternative to the standard business card? Thank you.
— Danealle Marshall (@DMTitleChikk) December 8, 2015
I love this question. Why? As I often say, giving out and receiving business cards is an extremely powerful part of connecting with new contacts. That being said, sometimes your business card can be what sparks someone’s memory of you. Why wouldn’t you want yours to stand out?
In 2003, I released a book with Candace Bailly and Dan Georgevich titled “It’s In the Cards!” In this book, we discuss the powerful tool that is your business card, and how so many people may be under-utilizing this networking tactic.
To answer Danealle’s question, and to build off of some of the ideas we published over a decade ago in the aforementioned book, here are four things that I have seen in my years in business that have really elevated some business cards.
- Mix up the orientation. It is such a small change, but making your business card vertical instead of the more traditional horizontal orientation can really help it stand out. People receive and look at innumerable horizontal business cards on average, but you are likely able to remember the last time you saw a vertical card.
- Utilize graphics. And no, I don’t just mean your company’s logo. If you include your Twitter handle, consider using the Twitter bird logo instead of using the word “Twitter” on your card. Another option, though use with caution, is including your picture. This can work, but only if the rest of your card is completely spot on and has more of a creative feel. I recommend this more for marketing agencies, or those more right-branded ventures.
- Color your card accordingly. Have you ever heard that fast food companies frequently use red and yellow in their logos because these colors subconsciously promote hunger? Think about your product, and about your brand, and if you choose to use color on your cards (which I recommend to at least do minimally), use a color that conveys what you want contacts and consumers alike to associate with your brand.
- Consider your company and alter your card accordingly. I’ve seen some very cool cards that really cater to what services or goods a company provides, but I will warn that these can get costly. I’ve seen a video company with cards shaped like a clapboard, and a software engineer whose cards looked like HTML coding. Where this gets ineffective is where you take it too far – bakeries should steer away from an edible business card, despite the appeal.
Have a question you want me to answer in a future blog post or podcast? Write me at AskIvan@bni.com to submit your questions.
3 thoughts on “Does Your Business Card Take Care of Business?”
HMMMM… I will consider doing something a bit more clever, memorable and yet business like… thank you…
Good advice, Dr. Misner. I have been in business as an IT Consultant since 2007 and in the industry since 1995. I like to use the icon of the computer power on symbol on my business cards. It is a conversation opener as they know what it is, but can’t put their ‘finger’ on it! And that is exactly how I give them a hint into what it is, ‘you put your finger on it every time you turn on your computer!’. Corny perhaps, but they like and do remember me. And after all, is that not what the whole concept of the business card is?
I think the one most important thing a business person can do to make their business cards stand out in a positive way was left off the list – Consult with a graphic designer! Even incorporating these very good points into a business card, if done incorrectly, can hurt more than help a businesses image. Business people have great ideas, but not necessarily the talent required to implement those ideas correctly and professionally. That is where a good graphic designer who understands you and your brand comes in.