3 Business Card Mistakes to Avoid
You’ve decided it’s finally time to start designing and printing your very own business cards. That’s a good call, because you can’t exist in today’s business climate without knowing how to network. It’s vital to make time for networking and treat it like any other part of your career. It even helps to make a list of people to exchange business cards with at the next luncheon or cocktail hour. Before you can start distributing those cards, though, make sure to avoid any of these three business card mistakes.
Getting Too Fancy
A business card is not like soda cups at a fast food restaurant, which have multiple sizes. There’s just one standard size for business cards, and that’s 3.5 by 2 inches. Don’t let yourself get seduced by the idea of “standing out” and going with a different size. You don’t need to resort to gimmicks to get people’s attention.
Don’t get us wrong, some promotional stunts can work. But you should look like you’re making an effort without trying too terribly hard. Have you ever seen a business card that uses the Comic Sans MS font? Probably not, and if you did, it’s doubtful you wanted to know more about that particular business. That font is seen as amateur, and being seen as an amatuer is the last thing you want when handing out your business cards. Stick to the basics unless you have a really good reason for doing otherwise.
Let’s say you just moved from Austin to Houston, which means you need to print up some business cards in Houston. It doesn’t matter if you still have 500 business cards left with your Austin address, because you don’t live in Austin anymore. Imagine a scenario where you meet someone at a Houston business function. Houston is a big business town that’s often called “an entrepreneur’s dream”. While you’re chatting up potential contacts, they ask for a business card. You hand them one and say, “This says I live in Austin, but I really don’t.” The other people will likely be confused. If you can’t bother updating your address on your business cards, then where else might you be willing to take shortcuts?
Handing out a business card with outdated information kills any sense of momentum when meeting a potential contact. Yes, it’s annoying to order new business cards before using all the old ones, but it’s critical that you do it anyway. Your phone number, email address, and address need to be current. You can tell someone that the information is wrong, but you have no guarantee they’ll remember it the next day. Instead, they’ll see the business card in their wallet and wonder why they have a card from someone who doesn’t even live in town.
Not Proofreading Before You Print
You’ve spent a lot of time tinkering with your business card, and now you’re ready to send them off to be printed. You’ve come a long way, but you’re not 100 percent finished until you carefully proofread the business card. Do not attempt this 30 minutes before sending the business cards to your printer, either.
We’re notoriously bad at proofreading our own words. That’s partly because we know what we mean to say, and our brains engage in a kind of wishful thinking where we see what we want to see. If you know the text on your card should say “personal trainer,” it’s harder to notice when it actually says “personal train.” That might sound like an extreme example, but it happens. Ask another person to take a look at your card prototype before you finalize the design.