Do you have business cards? If not, you could be hurting your business. It may be something that's been on your to-do list for a while, but you've been holding off because it's a hassle, or maybe you don't think it's worth the time or the cost. Let's put that train of thought to rest and look at the Why, When, Where, What and How of business cards (the "Who" is pretty obvious).
Why should you have business cards?
It makes it easy to hand out your contact information
It shows that you're serious and professional
It's another tool to help differentiate you as an independent business in the eyes of the CRA
It's a differentiator to both recruiters and clients
It's a chance to get creative and complement your personal brand
When and where do you want to hand them out?
All the time and everywhere. Never leave home without at least a few cards and hand them out like candy in these situations:
Recruiter and client interviews
When you're onsite with other contractors on your team
Networking and industry events
Any time there's the slightest chance of running into a potential client or referral
What should be included?
The obvious contact information: Business name, your name, title, phone number, mailing address and email address
Your fax number could be relevant, but it's often unnecessary
Include your certifications, but only the relevant ones that really separate you. Almost every professional today has a basic post-secondary education.
An online profile. That could be LinkedIn, or a professional website. Check out this past post for more details about your online resume.
Branding. Do you have a logo? At the very least, what about a consistent colour scheme? Check out Adobe Kuler help find your brand's colours.
Keep it simple and remember to leave plenty of white space. Nobody likes clutter.
Think about what you want on the back. Some say you can get creative to make it fun memorable, while others will tell you to leave it blank and non-glossy so it's easy to take notes. That's your choice.
How are you supposed to do all of that when you're so busy?
Go to a local business supply store and find some business card template paper (for example Avery brand has many options and is available in most stores). You can find some pre-designed blank cards that will already match your brand. They usually come with Microsoft Word templates so you just type in your information, print at home, and you're set!
Want to print your own design? Staples and Vistaprint will do that too. They produce professional cards, but you'll need to submit professional files. Avoid using a word processor like Microsoft Word to design them. Instead use Adobe tools like Illustrator or Photoshop if you're familiar with them, try this simple business card creator from Canva, or get the help of a professional designer. Sites like Freelancer, Upwork and maybe even Fiverr can provide some cost-effective options.
Do you have your own business cards? How did you create them and how do you use them? Share your tips and suggestions below!