Monday, September 21, 2009

Your Business Card

Today I received a question related to the contents of a business card. The person who asked me the question is currently enrolled in an international gastronomic institution, and, being a student yet meeting many different people, her main concern was "What should my business card say?".

Below are some of my ideas on Business Cards:
  • Business Cards represent you. If you are lucky enough to be able to create your own, keep this is mind. Therefore, they can aid or harm your personal branding efforts.
  • Business Cards may be printed on both sides, but one side should contain all the main contact information, while the other side can have a design, a quote or your business logo. Don't make the receiver have to switch sides all the time, possibly overlooking important information.
  • Business Cards should have a professional look. They should follow the standard business card size, so that people may easily store them in card holders, wallets etc. They should be printed on high quality stock. This is NOT where you want to save money. Save money on other things, but not on something that so heavily represents you and/or your business. You want to make the best of impressions, regardless of what you do or whom you work for.
  • Business Cards should only contain web site addresses if there is a way of contacting you through the web site. This means, business cards are not advertising cards. They are a representation of who you are, what you do and how you can be contacted.
  • While online social networks are "in" and (I believe) here to stay, I would not include "find me on Twitter!" or ""I'm on Facebook!" on the card. This is almost a given, if you own your own business or are eager to network with people. Tell people instead, should they ask about your online presence. Also, instead, include these directly on your web site or your blog. You may only include your blog address if your blog represents what you do and has your contact information on it as well. If it's a personal/family blog, I would not include it in the business card. Again, you are creating and/or maintaining a professional image here.
  • Some people may choose to carry 2 or even 3 Business Cards! People who travel internationally, may have their business cards printed exactly the same way but in different languages! This is a great idea! Other people, may prefer to have a professional card and a "social card". The issue I find with this, is the following (an you may disagree!): When a friend passes your social card on to a potential future employer, for example, meaning nothing but good ("Oh, you should meet my friend Carla! She is a wonderful freelance writer and so creative. She speaks 3 languages and travels all over the world!"), the business owner and editor of that cool magazine obtains Carla's contact info through her friend and the card is very casual: It has a too casual e-mail address (pretty_writerbabe1985 @, as an example), no clear statement of what she does, just her name and a sentence below which says "Living free with an open mind!", it has her personal blog address, Twitter information and 2 overlapping head shots of her at the beach and in the snow. Fun card, but it doesn't transmit professionalism. Your friend was trying to help her out by referring her to a potential freelance position, however, all she had was her "social card" that was passed on to friends, new friends and social acquaintances. Keep in mind, you never know where it could end up, and that's why I would rather have only 1 card that transmits the idea of who I am, what I do and how I can be contacted in a simple, professional way for everybody.

Business Cards are a personal choice, and you are the one who will actually decide what goes on it (if your company doesn't provide you with one or if you are self-employed). The tips above are my opinions on how to keep business cards professional and straight to the point for all receivers.

The most important information on your business card includes the following:

  • Your name as you want to be known by.
  • Your title (my next Blog post will be entirely on "titles" for business cards - coming soon!)
  • Your complete mailing address or physical business address
  • Your contact telephone number and fax number (if you have one)
  • Your e-mail address (if you are a business owner, PLEASE, do NOT use a gmail/hotmail/yahoo etc address. You need to have a professional domain for your email. I have free emails and love using them, but not for business. If you are not a business owner, but a student, use your institution's/school's email address. If this is not available, and that's the only excuse I find, create a professional free email account with your 1st and last name, and not any cute nicknames and numbers, in case you cannot afford to buy your own domain)
  • Your web site address (if you can be contacted through it)
  • Your company's/ institution's name (and logo)

In the example of the person sending me her question: This is what I would do:

Julie Sousa

International Gastronomy Student

ABC School of Gastronomy

123 School Street, Famous City, Famous Country

Tel.: 123-456-7890 (this should be your cell phone, and watch now for your voice mail greeting and ring tone)

E-mail: julie.sousa @

Blog: TheGastronomyIJournal.blogABC . com

1 comment:

Jzendron said...

Muitíssimo obrigada! Todas as minhas dúvidas respondidas num único post!
Aguardo o próximo com os "titles".