I have actually told clients don’t bother with the business cards. It may seem as the thing to get if you are serious about business, but they definitely aren’t the first thing you need or even the second. Give people a reason to want to ask for your card and that is what I shared on LinkedIn recently.
So you’ve finally accepted that you need some extra income or a new job? Good for you. But hold up, don’t rush off to get some fancy business cards printed. They may not even be worth what they are printed on. Chances are they will either be languishing in the package you received them in, the bottom of your bag or on the desk of the person you handed them to.
Do you need the card to tell people what you do? Without any prompts you should be able to tell them very succintly who you are and what you deliver for your clients. Not Hello, I’m Sarah and I’m an accountant. BUT Hello I’m Sarah and I help my clients save an average of 15,000 dollars year by … Immediately the person listening will want to know more about how you do it and if you can save them that kind of money as well. Your hip business card moniker, unless it is Sarah: the Money Saving Accountant, may not be enough to get people to want to know more. Practice your intro/pitch until you are confident that it does reflect what you deliver.
You’ve probably added an email and web address to your card but what does your digital footprint say about you? Let’s pick on Sarah the accountant some more. So she says that she saves her clients money. Can we find anyone online who is raving about how much money she saved them? Get a few clients to put it in writing and share it on your website what impact you have had in their business.
Sarah the accountant is now striking out on her own but she has been in the accounting business for more than 20 years. How can she leverage those years for her new business? She may be an newbie entrepreneur but she’s an expert on financial matters. A soundbite in a radio or television news show is gold. Sarah could be known as the Money Saving Guru for a local paper or other media house/or her blog, where she highlights money saving strategies we can use before we even need an accountant? It is really important that Sarah and you have a digital presence and activity that speaks to the services you deliver.
Your business cards MAY be needed as there are a few people who still insist on asking for one. But more often than not, I have found that people who want to do business hand over their phone and allow you to add your contact details, or they make note of your name and go off and hit Google to do their own research rather than bother with a business card they will not use. So before you spend money on graphics design and printing, ensure that you are clear about the service you deliver, you have clients (even if they are free ones) who will put their name on the line to say you really know your stuff, and ensure you leverage the media, your website and social media to build up a footprint that show who you are and what you are great at.
Nerissa Golden is a media strategist and communications expert who teaches her clients how to leverage traditional and digital media to increase their visibility and make more money.