Does Your Business Card Work?

Angie Harrison, Entrepreneurship Coach

Recently I decided to create a spreadsheet that would hold the relevant business card info I had gathered over the last several months from the people I had met. I know, there is likely a better way to manage this type of information, but this seemed like the best solution for me. Sorting through actual cards feels clunky and cumbersome when I’m trying to remember something about someone, and lugging them around isn’t very practical. So, having a quick cheat sheet in the cloud seemed like a good idea. What I discovered made me reevaluate my own business card, and cards of the past.

After laying them all out on my desk, I started to randomly enter each person’s name, contact info, and a general description about what they do. I also created a column for how I knew them, such as client, service provider, resource, etc. This way I could easily sort the list according to what I was searching for, whether for myself or for a client. But what became interesting to me was just how many cards were difficult to categorize because they lacked information.

Name, phone number, and email address were the most commonly occurring pieces of information across all the cards (though one or two were missing one of those elements!). But that did me no good unless I could recall from memory or read on the card what they did or which city/county they were in. Some listed the name of the company but did not state what the company is or does.

For instance, one bank appeared to assume that anyone looking at their employees’ business cards would inherently know they were a bank, because there was no mention of it being a banking institution. Nor did the person’s title indicate that they worked for a bank, as they could have been a “manager” for any company. There were no symbols, words, or descriptions that would lead anyone to the conclusion that this employee worked for an institution that handled money. And they weren’t the only culprit.

Nearly half of the cards I had accumulated lacked some type of relevant information that made it difficult for me to know how to classify them or easily see the information. Half. And sadly, most of the business cards that were easy to read, that contained relevant information, and were easy to categorize came from government related organizations and offices. It pains me to acknowledge that government offices have apparently implemented something that works better than the wonderfully creative and innovative business owners, leaders, and innovators that I have the pleasure of working with. (No offense to my government adjacent friends and colleagues, but I think you get my point.)

Friends, take a look at your business card.

Does it have the following information?

Name, contact information, city or county location, a sector or industry identity that clearly identifies what you do and for whom.

It might be lovely, with lovely colors or pictures or fonts. But if it lacks any of these basic components, you are wasting your money on that form of marketing that you are relying on.

I’m not the expert here, but I think my observations check out based on what I searched online following this experience. https://www.indeed.com/career-advice/career-development/business-card-tips and https://www.indeed.com/career-advice/career-development/business-card-mistakes-to-avoid

Spend the creative energy on your landing page or website. But make your business card useful and to the point.


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