Web Design

First contact - Giving your business every chance

How many of us are aware that when handed a business card which is really flimsy and cheap, we start flexing it between our thumb and forefinger, without even being aware we are doing it? perhaps not even consciously registering that it is flimsy and cheap but the association will have been made between the quality of the card and the business to which it belongs.

Small business owners devote considerable time, money, and mental and physical energy into setting up their businesses yet when it comes to designing their brand identity in terms of the image, logo and stationery, many spend next to nothing and in many cases design their own, even though they have no knowledge or skills in designing an appropriate brand image for their type of business.

If you arranged a lunch meeting with your Bank Manager then you wouldn't invite him/her round to your office to share your homemade sandwiches while you pitched your expansion plans. Most likely you will take him/her to a nice restaurant where the food is good and the ambience is right. So why should your image and stationery not be designed by a professional designer who understands what type of business image needs to be created for your brand?

On first meeting a potential client or customer, the business owner will proudly describe the services he/she is offering and this will present an opportunity to present their card as a means of saying "here I am, this is who we are and how you can contact us and do please contact us".

So what message does it send to the potential client if the card is either:-
1) flimsy
2) Not well laid out or even aligned correctly
3) looks like it has been done on the cheap and possible even 'homemade' ?

Any of the above could send out a message which says "hey, we're not too concerned about how we look" or even "We did this ourselves and we're proud of it for that reason". How much confidence does this provide the potential client and are they left wondering regarding :-
1) The quality of service they will receive.
2) The quality of the products the business is looking to sell - are they also cheap and cheerful?

Or left thinking...
3) If they're not too fussed about they look then how concerned will they be about looking after our business values?
4) How can that business be selling high quality, high value goods if their own business cards don't even signify "quality".

One could argue that if you're selling cheap and cheerful then it doesn't matter and on that basis I may agree, but I'm actually referring to businesses who don't have bargain basement prices doing exactly the same thing when many are trying to present a bespoke or unique service.

The absolute minimum message a business card should project is professionalism and not a message which says "design thrown in with the printing costs" or "aren't I clever I do my own".

What a cheap and unprofessional business card may also signify besides a lack of brand awareness is something more crucial - the business owner's lack of understanding of their target customer - what they buy, where they shop, their tastes and their lifestyles - in essence the profile of the customer they are atttempting to sell to.

Beyond having a business card which could enhance your business winning opportunities, make sure that when you pull one out of your wallet, that it isn't creased or curled at the edges. If you're working for Sony then you may get away with it without it reflecting badly on your business chances but for a company which isn't a household name you may not.

This year at Foveo we're giving all our clients business card cases to make sure that their cards are kept in a pristine and crisp condition, ready to win new business and make new alliances.

To summarise, a good business card design should :-

  • Convey your business name clearly along with your name and contact details using fonts and colours which are appropriate for your type of business and likely to appeal to your target customer.
  • Reflect your other branding - shopfront sign / business stationery - everything that defines your business brand
  • Be clean and uncluttered
  • Not be too flimsy and cheap looking
  • Should not look as though it has been designed in India or some other country where the cultural design tastes are significantly different from those in the UK.
  • Get across the nature of your business - if you can do double sided cards then the reverse side may be good for this but again adhere to keeping it clean and uncluttered.

Remember this, a good business card may not alone win you new business but a poor business card can definitely lose you business.

See also Workshop: Defining your brand and forward focus

Coming soon, our next article: Building your brand Values.

Contact us for a free consultation to find out how your business can benefit from our expertise.

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