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Issue August 2003                               "Keeping Businesses Moving Towards Success"

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“Here, take my card.”  “Let me give you my card.”  “I have a business card for you.”  You have probably used these phrases numerous times without thinking about what you are really saying.  Your business card is much more than your name and phone number.  It is a first impression of you, and the company you represent, a piece of information, and company literature.   It can serve as an initial form of contact with a prospective client, customer, or as an important networking tool.

There are some particular aspects of designing, ordering and using a business card effectively that we don’t always think about.  Employ some of these ideas to get the most out of your card.


  • Display quality and professionalism, think about how your card looks to others, and ask for opinions on design and layout.

  • View your card from a customer’s point of view.

  • Get a case and keep your cards clean and sharp. A wrinkled card with some pocket fuzz attached does not make a good impression.


  • Make sure important information is easy to find and read.  If it is not, a customer will call someone else. Content should include company, name and title, phone number(s), and email.  

  • Consider font size, color, and graphics.  Include white space, consistency in the font type, and eye pleasing color combinations.

  • Keep graphics relevant, such as a company logo.  Ask yourself, “Does this graphic serve a purpose?”

  • Use your photograph if your industry relies on a lot of face-to-face contact, i.e. real estate, attorney, consultant.

  • Busy or fancy backgrounds may enhance your card if your work involves creativity such as florist, artist, or designer, otherwise it may be a distraction.

  • Use standard size business cards and lay it out horizontally. If it doesn’t fit the typical rolodex, your card may end up in the “circular file".

  • Use a good card stock to print on and order in larger quantities if you know you will use the cards; this will lower your cost.


  • Establish a rapport or create a reason to distribute your business card before doing so.

  • Choose an appropriate time to give your business card to someone. 

  • Hand your card out print side up. This establishes the importance of your card.

  • Accept other cards respectfully by looking at them immediately.

  • Always carry your business cards.


  • Create a mini-brochure by using a folded card. Include the standard information on the front; utilize the inside for more details about services or features.

  • Have your card made into a magnet.  This is especially useful for services such as plumbing, dry cleaners, or restaurants.

Stop taking your business card for granted.  With a little thoughtful planning and creativity, your business card can become a useful personal promotional asset to you and the company you represent.  Make a big difference with a small thing. 

Greg Barrette is a speaker, consultant, and trainer in the areas of Interpersonal communication, sales, and customer service. He maybe reached at barrettegreg@yahoo.com

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