Business Card

Definition: A small card identifying a person in connection with his or her business, given to a client, potential customer, etc.

A good business card should convey the overall image of your business, which isn't always easy, considering the card measures just 2 inches by 3 inches. So how can you possibly get a message across in such a small amount of space?

Don't expect your business card to be able tell your company's entire story. What you should expect it to do is present a professional image people will remember. The color, wording and texture of your business card have a lot to do with its appeal and its ability to convey your company image. Use common sense when you're designing your card. If your business markets children's toys and games, you might try using bright, primary colors and words written in a child's script. On the other hand, if you run a financial consulting service, you want your business card to convey professionalism and reliability, so stick to traditional looks such as black printing on a gray, beige or white background.

Of course, professional designers claim entrepreneurs shouldn't attempt to design a business card on their own, but many cash-strapped business owners have no other choice. Your best course of action? Look at all the business cards you've received over the years, and emulate the cards you like. You have more leeway if you're in a creative business, such as party planning or retailing, but in general, keep the following tips in mind:

  • Use your logo as the basis. Make it the largest element on the card.
  • Keep it simple. Don't cram too much information on the card.
  • Do include the essentials--your name, title, company name, address, phone and fax numbers and e-mail address--and make sure your name and business name are immediately identifiable.
  • Make sure the typeface is easily readable.
  • Stick to one or two colors.
  • Make sure it's easy to read.

Once you've got business cards, make the most of them:

  • Always give people more than one card (so they can give it to others).
  • Include your card in all your correspondence.
  • Carry cards with you at all times, in a card case so they're clean and neat.
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