A native of Colorado, Mrs. Yolanda M. Johnson-Bryant, currently resides in the Piedmont Triad area of North Carolina, with her husband. Mrs. Bryant is a published author, freelance writer, novelist, editor, ghostwriter and a literary and entrepreneurial advocate. She is the founder and owner of YolandaMJohnson, Literary Wonders! and Bryant Consulting. She is a columnist for Examiner.com, RAW Sistaz Literary Services and other literary venues. Mrs. Johnson-Bryant is a member of The Nussbaum Entrepreneurial Center, Women of Leadership and Learning (WELL Women) and Toastmasters. She also conducts workshops and classes on writing and entrepreneurship and is also a member of several reading and writing groups.
Is Your Business Card Sending the Wrong Message?
During one particular networking event, I had the pleasure of meeting a young woman who gladly offered me her card, which included the name of her company, her name, her landline number, cell number, and e-mail address. After I gave her card the once-over, I asked her if she had a business address, phone, e-mail address, and website. She did not. I went out on a limb and asked her why she did not have these important and valuable tools available on her card. Her answer, although I had heard it several times before, shocked me. I don’t know why it shocks me every time I hear it. I guess, I figure people will eventually get it.
This young woman explained that adding these items were a waste of time. I took this opportunity to give her several reasons why she should include them and why they are important to her business and writing career.
It has been my experience that when networking or soliciting business and you hand someone a business card such as the one this young woman handed me, you bring immediate doubt about your legitimacy to a potential client. Unless you come highly recommended by another lead or referral, the person reading your card is going to wonder if you are working in an office space, out of your car, or if you are even serious at all.
With technology on the cutting edge and getting more savvy by the day, it is now feasible and affordable to have the tools needed to present your business professionally and get clients through the front door of your business.
What does your business card say about you? Does it contain your business logo? Does it provide necessary information that demonstrates you are a legitimate business?
A business card should contain the following key elements:
• business logo
Business Logo. If you don’t have one, these are easy to get. You can have a business logo professionally made, or if you have budget constraints, it is very simple to create one yourself. With most desktop office software, graphic arts, or photo manipulation software, you can create a professional logo quickly.
Business Slogan. A business slogan is not mandatory, but it does enhance your business name and brand. For decades companies have used slogans to brand their companies and products: AT&T, Your World Delivered; Cingular Wireless, Raising the Bar; Ford, Built for the Road Ahead; IBM, We make IT Happen; and Verizon Wireless, Can You Hear Me Now? Good! The list goes on.
Business Name. It is very important to clients or potential clients to know the name of the company they are working with. If they are doing business with Company XYZ, they want to know this. Having this on your business card makes it easier for them to identify you, reference you at a later time, and to refer you to another potential client. This will also help you get your “brand” out there.
Your Name and Title. Most of us have seen the Allstate insurance commercial that states, “When you get into an accident, who do you call? No, not the name of the company but the actual person?” Many of us have experienced the rigmarole of calling a company’s customer service only to get transferred around and then finally having someone ask you, “Do you know who you talked to?” The same concept goes for your business and your business card. Again, it’s a point of contact that can be used to your advantage and your clients’ advantage, in addition to getting those all-important referrals.
Business Address. This one important item is often omitted from business cards, sometimes a cause for missed opportunities. If you are like most authors, writers, or entrepreneurs, you work out of your home and that’s just fine. Consider getting a post office box rather than using your home address. It lets potential clients know that you do have a business address that allows them another way to contact you.
Business Phone. This is a no-brainer. A phone number on your business card is a simple way for your clients or potential clients to speak to you. Use a dedicated phone line strictly for your business, or if you must use a cell number, by all means, change your outgoing message to a professional one. Nothing will drive away potential business like a phone recording that has loud obnoxious music on it with an outlandish message. Please, do not list your business number as your cell number on your business card unless it is a secondary contact, only after your business contact number.
Business Website. I cannot stress enough how important this is. Many potential clients may have researched your company, via the wonderful World Wide Web. Make this information available.
Business E-mail Address. This is a personal pet peeve of mine: firstname.lastname@example.org. This does not look professional at all. Use a professional e-mail address on your business card. If your company is Bryant Consulting, please use an address such as email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org. You’ll be taken more seriously.
Social Media Sites. Everyone has a social media site. By placing site addresses for your Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn addresses, you give clients permission to learn a little more about you and your company. You have also provided an avenue to view current events regarding your business. Large portions of my clients have come from social media leads.
Business cards are versatile, allowing you to utilize both front and back.
So now, you have another tool that lets clients and potential clients know that you mean business. Below I’ve listed a few resources to help get you started.
Always, and I mean always keep business cards with you wherever you go. You never want to miss an opportunity to network and place your business card in future customers’ hands. Your card is an entrance to your business; make sure it is inviting. Now get out there and network!