Chances are if you have a job these days, you have a business card & if you are looking for a job, you absolutely have one. If not, you need to get one...fast! Why? They are one of the most essential and powerful marketing tools for any individual or business. If however, you are a small business owner, not only is it critical to the survival of your business that you have one but your card has to be clear and effective especially in today's challenging economy. Given the basic elements contained in a typical business card this probably seems pretty straightforward right: company name, logo, individual's name/title or job function, & all relevant contact information [some industries also favor adding a picture &/or QR code but neither is standard]; but not so fast.
3 Ways To Mess Up A Business Card
While creating a functional card doesn't take much, there are lots of ways to achieve this basic goal. Some cards are "bare bones," black & white but they get the job done. Others are more colorful & elaborate. Either way what matters is that they represent the company well, clearly providing all the necessary contact information. There are really only 3 big ways to mess up a card. Either:
- The organization &/or aesthetics bury critical information
- Critical information is omitted entirely or, something previously not considered...
- It thoroughly confuses the information
2 Jobs Means Two Business Cards
The first 2 problems are self-explanatory so I want to focus on the last one. Recently, I attended a business function where I came upon a business card with a problem I had never seen before. The small business owner had 2 very different jobs in 2 very different and uncomplimentary fields; unfortunately, his card appeared to conflate both businesses, which had the net effect of bad marketing for both of them. This is not the same as blending two consistent jobs such as for example an accountant & a lawyer. Those 2 jobs compliment each other enhancing the possibility of being hired for one or both services. However, if for example, you are a sous chef & a podiatrist, those 2 positions do not compliment each other. Therefore, putting both of them in one business card does nothing to inspire confidence; to be diplomatic, it can conjure up unpleasant imagery instead. It is just flat out bad marketing for both businesses.
Fixing The Problem
The solution is incredibly simple: separate cards! There is nothing wrong with handing out two different cards for different jobs. People do it all the time. Perhaps they have a 9-5 job at the same time they are kicking off their own enterprise. That's the sort of thing that is easy to understand & can be an ice-breaker in a crowded room full of strangers. The point is when you are marketing yourself or your business be sure who and what you are marketing is clear, putting both you and your business in the best light possible. Why? As the old saying goes, you only have one chance to make a first impression.