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What Makes a Great Business Card, and Why You Need One

business-cardAs a small-business owner, you probably do your best to make the most of the networking opportunities that arise in everyday life. These opportunities are everywhere. You never know when you might encounter a potential business prospect or partner in the checkout line at the grocery store, on the golf course, at a charity event, or at a social gathering.

The subject of work often comes up in casual conversation, and it’s the perfect moment to plant a seed for future business. That seed often takes the form of a business card. What does your business card say about your business? For small-business owners, that’s a question worth considering.

The Basics

First things first: in order for a business card to be an effective marketing tool, it must contain the relevant information. This seems obvious, but before sending an order to the printer, make sure your business card contains everything a potential client might need to know in order to contact you: name, address, email, phone number, web address, and if you’d like, information on how to connect with you via social media as well.

Card Design

If you’re a graphic designer, your business card is an ideal place to put your skills on display. But if you’re not confident in your abilities to create a compelling design, you may want to enlist the assistance of a professional.

Whether you’re doing it yourself or outsourcing the design, make sure the finished product meets certain criteria. Does it fit your brand image? Does it clearly convey the nature of your business? Is it easy to read? If not, go back to the drawing board.

Making an Impression

A picture can make your business cards more memorable, but choosing the wrong one can have undesired consequences. If your business is of a serious nature, say estate planning or insurance sales, a zany caricature is likely to make potential clients think twice about hiring you. On the other hand, if you’re a wedding DJ or the owner of a whitewater rafting company, choosing a no-nonsense design can make your prospects wonder if you really know how to have fun.

If you want to make a lasting impression, you could consider having business cards cut in unusual shapes, or made out of novel materials. Just be aware that the more difficult your card is to keep in a standard-sized wallet, the more likely potential clients will be to toss it.


If you want to ensure that prospective clients hold onto your card, consider printing a special offer on the back. Even if they’re not interested in your offerings, they may hold on to your card, just in case they know someone who is. Turning your business card into a coupon is an excellent way to increase its value in the perception of those who receive it.

Print It Yourself?

While there are plenty of do-it-yourself business card programs available, the results are typically pretty easy to spot. There are probably exceptions to this rule, but be careful when taking the DIY route. Remember: if your business card looks cheap, so does your business.


John R. Klaras is a serial entrepreneur and small business professional, a writer, and an educator by trade. With nearly a decade of experience in the telecommunications industry, he is currently in the process of building a burgeoning new microbusiness. He has written for leading companies in a wide variety of verticals, including travel, finance, motorsports, and real estate.