In the last article we continued our series on how to start a successful business, with a look at how to setup a business email address that uses your company’s domain name. In today’s article we are going to continue that series, with a look at how to get the perfect business card. So let’s get started!
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Why Business Cards Matter
Meeting people and talking in person is a must for most types of businesses, especially local businesses with physical locations. Even for businesses like mine, which operate 100% online, meeting people and talking in person is still one of the best ways to form partnerships, get advertising deals and more.
Here are 7 steps you can follow to make professional looking business card on just about any budget:
Step 1: Decide What Information You Want on the Card.
At a minimum you want to have the following information on your card:
- Your business name
- Your first and last name
- Telephone Number
- Email Address
And here are some additional things to consider adding:
- Your Logo – Whenever possible you want to keep your brading the same online and off.
- Your Physical Address – If you have a local business with a physical presence then adding your location information is a no brainer. If you operate 100% online however, then you may prefer to use that space for other things like your social media profiles.
- Your Title
- Company Tagline – Consider adding a short sentence which lets customers know that you are the one for the job. (Read this article by James Chartrand for more on taglines).
- Social Media Accounts – Like your facebook page and your twitter handle.
- Fax number - Most people don’t use faxes anymore but if they still do in your line of business then you should consider adding it.
- Your picture – If you operate in a line of business like real estate or insurance sales where you and your business are one in the same, then using your picture is not a bad idea.
- QR Code – so people can scan your card with their phone and have your contact details automatically added to their contact list. For more on this go here.
Step 2: Decide on the type of design: flashy or traditional?
As Leonardo Da Vinci once said, “Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication”. That was also an early slogan at Apple by the way, so I would think twice before choosing a flashy business card design.
If you have professional help then integrating your company color scheme and logo into the design is something you should consider. If you are designing the cards yourself, then it is hard to go wrong with a white card with black typeface, which is what we use for our cards along with our logo.
In this step you also need to consider shape. Keep in mind that while a non traditional shape may help you stand out, circular and many other types of designs that are not square do not fit into business card holders and are therefore more likely to get misplaced by your potential clients. With this in mind I would stick with the traditional 3.5 X 2 inches design.
Step 3: Look for templates.
Assuming you are designing your business cards yourself, almost all of the companies that offer business card printing, also offer free templates that can be used to design your card. We personally use Vistaprint because they provide easy to manipulate templates and good value for the money. You can get 250 business cards from Vistaprint for $10 here.
If you want to go a bit more fancy and are willing to spend a little more, then Moo.com also has very good reviews.
Step 4: Choose Your Font(s)
Remember that readability is the most important thing so you want to avoid decorative fonts. We use Copperplate Gothic for our cards. Here is a list of font’s from Prepressure.com that generally look good in print.
If you use more than one font on the card then it should be complimentary and it is not recommended to use more than 2. Remember that you can use different sizes and bolding to make the important areas, like your business name stand out.
When in doubt use whatever the default font is in the template you are choosing.
Step 5: Add your info and logo
If you are using Vistaprint then you can very easily upload an image file of your logo and crop it so it will fit in the area reserved for logo. This of course assumes that you have decided to use your logo on your card, which is generally recommended.
The template should also allow you to easily select the text areas that you want to edit and change things like colors and fonts using the menu at the top. If you don’t want a specific piece of info that the template has space reserved for, you can very easily delete things as well.
Step 6: Choose your paper stock
Vistaprint offers the following paper stock for your business cards:
- Matte – The default option no extra cost
- Premium Matte – A thicker version of the card so its more sturdy
- Glossy – Good for pictures but its hard to write on which is a big negative.
- Premium Glossy – Thicker version of the glossy. same problem applies.
- Recycled Matte – Same as matte just made from recycled paper.
While the default matte option is thick enough, if there is one place a small amount of money can make a big difference with the business card its with thicker paper stock. So for me at the extra cost for the thicker premium matte its worth it, but if you are being conscious about the budget then the default paper stock is fine.
Step 7: Order Your Cards
At this stage you should have everything set and be ready to order your cards congratulations!
Business Card Costs
If you choose to go with Vistaprint.com then click here to get 250 for $10 with free standard shipping. If you choose to have a slogan or something else printed on the back of the card then this will cost you $3 to $6 extra. If you choose the premium matte stock paper which is what I use, then that is an extra $7 or so. So all in you can get a nice set of cards for less than $25.
At moo.com you are going to be looking at between $50 and $100 for the same number of cards, but as discussed some people prefer their templates to Vistaprints’. You can use their price calculator here to see exactly how much you are going to pay including shipping.
What about the ads for free business cards that I see?
Generally you are still going to have to pay shipping and the card is going to have limited options and an advertisement on the back of it. While this is better than no card at all, you can get a set of 250 cards from Vistaprint without the add for less than $20. To me this seems like a small cost to pay in order to make your business look more professional.
That’s our article for today, if you have any questions or comments please leave them in the comments section below. Also be sure to stay tuned for the next article in our series on how to start a successful business where we will discuss Commercial Real Estate: What You Need To Know Before Leasing.
More great business card articles:
- YouTheDesigner: Likely the most comprehensive post on business card design on the net.
- ShawnGraham: What should be on a business card for small businesses.
- Cardnerd: A site where designer show off their latest business card designs.
- SouthWorth: How to print your own business cards at home.
- BusinessCards: Great infographic to choosing typeface and paper stock.
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