Show Your Cards
By Dave Balch, the "Stay-at-home CEO"(tm)

I just found a stack of business cards hiding under some papers on my desk. I had collected them at a recent speaker's convention to add to the distribution list for my free electronic newsletter. (I invite you to sign up for it at )

I was amazed at how little I remembered about these people! I met them, shook their hands, and conversed with them; but all I have to remember them by is that little piece of card stock. It suddenly dawned on me that those business cards have a big job to do. Is yours doing a good job?

Whether you realize it or not, whether you like it or not, people get an impression of you just by the card you give them. Oh, sure, many times you've already met them face to face (like I did at the convention) before you even whip out that card, and a first impression has been made, but what about when the card appears three weeks later and they say "Who WAS this?" What do they do?

First, the quality of the card speaks volumes about you. Not only the quality of the paper, but the print quality as well. Flimsy cards that look like they were made on a copier leave an impression all right; a bad one.

Colors/patterns/designs: do they convey an image that you want to have? Professional? Fun loving? Dignified?

What is on the card is important too. Here are just a few things that your business card has to include. (Some are obvious, some are not.)

Who you are and how to get in touch. Duh! Remember the fax number and, if you have one, toll-free number. In fact, if you do have a toll-free number, project class and good service by showing it as your only voice number. Whatever phone number you show, "bold" it so it stands out.

What you do. A job title is nice, but does it really convey what function you perform and what your responsibilities are?

What your company does. "ABC Flowers" tells a little about what you do, but you need to add something like "Specializing in birthday arrangements". "ABC & Associates" doesn't say ANYthing about what you do; is that a consulting firm? If so, what kind? Computer? Legal? Erosion control?

Products and services. Briefly list some of what you or your company offers. Brevity is key; just say enough to get them to ask for more information.

Internet information. Don't forget your web address and e-mail address, too. (WHAT? You don't have web or e-mail addresses? GET THEM, AND GET THEM NOW!)

That's a lot of stuff to get onto a 2" x 3 1/2" card, isn't it? Don't forget the back of the card, too! That's a lot of "real estate" which is often wasted, and the extra cost is minimal.

Your card does have a big job to do; it's cheap, front-line advertising. Make the most of it!

Dave Balch generated over $5 million from his home-based business. He is now a professional speaker, and publisher of "Big Bucks in a Bathrobe, a FREE newsletter sent by e-mail designed to help you "Make More Money and Have More Fun" with your small business. Visit to sign-up, for information on speaking services, or for copies of past articles and newsletters. Comments and/or questions are always welcome at 1-800-366-2347 or [email protected]

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