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Do you really need to spend money on business cards?

do i really need business cards | kaizen revolution | small business | entrepreneur | mompreneur

Do you really need to spend money on business cards?

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Last weekend, Ebi-kun and I went off to Design Festa which is a HUGE design event for creatives, it’s really cool, full of amazing people doing amazing things from fashion design to illustrators to sculptors. I love it!

Anyway, Ebi-kun started picking up business cards out of interest and came home with a massive pile of them. As we looked through it struck me that some of them were absolutely shoddy and some were brilliant. So we started to dissect the range of cards and grade them on their usefulness.

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The Good, The Bad and The Ugly!

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Let’s start with the ugly…

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I understand that some of the vendors are on a very tight budget but even so there are good ways and bad ways to bootstrap.

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Strike #1
The most offending ‘card’ was actually just printer paper, and it looked like a 6-year-old with blunt scissors had cut it out. I may, out of the goodness of my heart pay money to a 6-year-old running a business but not to an adult who hands me a crappy bit of paper, this shows little respect for themselves and zero to the customer.

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Strike #2
It didn’t have any contact information and instead of a suggestion to use the search function to find them online. Why is this bad? Because you want to make it EASY for your potential clients to hand money over to you. We are humans and humans always choose the path of least resistance. Clear email and URL and if applicable a phone number.

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Strike #3
The card gave no indication of what this person did, I have no idea if it was a crafter, illustrator or something else. Make it clear what you do and so the person holding the card knows exactly what they are looking at.

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The Bad…

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The ones that fell into this category were mainly missing the point of a business card. Basically, the card is a reminder and a point of contact so it needs to have:

  • Who you are/company name
  • What you do
  • How to contact you. Email and website at a minimum

Some of the cards that fell into this category had one or two of the points but were still missing the mark, a room for improvement, we could say! Some people had obviously spent good money on their cards but due to missing information, they won’t be getting follow-ups. Might as well eat the money you used to make the cards.

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The Good…

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Generally speaking, these cards were in the more expensive range, better quality card and professionally printed. But what made the top marks was what the information on the card.

 

They all have the business name and/or the person to contact.

 

It was also clear on the card what the person/company did. Many of the cards we collected were from people doing something in the artistic field so words like graphic design, illustrator, sculptor, jewellery designer etc. But this goes for whatever you do ESL teacher, baker, wellness coach etc.

 

They also had visual appeal, many of the cards used showed off their work, in fact, many of the cards were like mini samples of art – which I suspect is the reason Ebi-kun started collecting them in the first place.

 

If you have 2 different aspects of your work you can showcase each on each side the card. Or if you work in two languages, have different languages on different sides.

I know there is an old school thought when it comes to business card design and if you work in the corporate arena then old school might be better (not my thing so I’m not the one to ask there) but if you are an entrepreneur you need to get seen and stand out. make your card memorable.

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Do I really need business cards and are the cards that I have making or losing me money? | mompreneur |kaizen revolution | entrepreneur | starting a business | business cards

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But What If You Are Bootstrapping?

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Get creative, if you are dollar poor then you need to spend time instead, make your cards, you can get really creative here if you are working in a creative field, let those creative juices flow!

I also recommend on making two types of card, Sunday Best – these should be professionally printed, to fit your budget and ONLY given out to people who you are pretty sure are going spend money with you. Your best leads. Then make up some cheaper cards and consider these your ‘throw away’ cards. Ones that people might just pick up who may or may not buy from you.

Throw away cards doesn’t mean crap cards though! Make sure they have all the right information on them, monotone looks just as good as full colour, so don’t worry about going down that route if it is going to keep you within budget. And remember this is just when you are starting off, once you get rolling you can invest in more expensive cards – if you need them.

 

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Before Your Spend Money, Do you REALLY need business cards?

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Good question. Traditionally yes, but these days it depends on where and how you work and how you network. If your network in real life and actually meet people, then yes, they are a good idea. Again, keep some Sunday Best and some Throw Away cards so you can cherry pick who to give your good cards to.

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But, if you work online and rarely network in real life, then you might not need cards at all and it might be an expense you can spare for now.  I do have cards but I can’t remember the last time I handed any out purely because my networking is done online!

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What do you think?

Do you have business cards and do you use them or were they an unnecessary expense? Let me know in the comments.

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