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Business Cards: Creative Ideas

Furniture World Magazine


Many tools that we couldn’t live without were obsolete within a decade. But this 1 ½˝ x 2 ¾˝ piece of card stock is a leading-edge 17th century technology that is here to stay!

It’s fairly common these days to feel a bit of technology overload. Just when people of my generation mastered the skill of getting the thermal paper loaded in the fax machine, they put Zoom, Slack and TikTok on our laptops.

Very few business tools from the twentieth century are relevant today. Dictaphones, adding machines, pay phones, fountain pens, telegraphs, and pagers all had their day but have been relegated to the scrap heap of useless gadgets.

However, one powerful tool predates both the American Revolution and floppy disks. You probably have a few of these tools in your wallet or purse and a few hundred more in your desk drawer.

This amazing item is a 1½˝ x 2 ¾˝piece of card stock called a Business Card. Originally named Calling Cards back in the 1600s, the cards served several social purposes, such as a means of introduction, to further acquaintanceship, to express congratulations or condolences and to provide notices of arrival or departure.

Today, we hand out business cards with our name, company, title, and a multitude of ways to contact us. In the retail world, a business card can also be an “Exit Ticket,” such as when departing shoppers ask for them on the way out. Hearing, “Do you have a card?” Lets an RSA know there will be no sale on this presentation.

You can, however, make your business card a powerful marketing tool. It’s one of the cheapest ways to advertise and build your brand. You just have to do it right.

How Can You Help Me? Look at your business card. Chances are good that you’ll see your name and title, the company you represent, and a phone number. Your customers don’t give a hoot about your title. They want to know what you can do for them.

“Savvy businesspeople invest in printing a ‘Recruiting Card.’ This tool has information about their company, what they do, and who to contact for an interview.”

I know you worked long and hard and ate a lot of dirt to get your title. Consider adding a line or two underneath it explaining how you can improve your customers’ lives.

Mattress People: I help energize your life through better sleep.

Appliance People: I help you keep your drinks cold and your burgers hot.

Operations People: I provide a speedy, clean, and hassle-free delivery service.

Finance People: I protect the company’s money so it’s there when we need it.

HR People: My job is to make this a great place to work.

There’s No limit

Don’t get stingy with your business cards. Hand them out freely! In the retail world, that means giving each shopper five cards, whether they buy or not. Add the phrase, “If you’ve enjoyed working with me as much as I’ve enjoyed working with you, I hope you will pass these on to your friends and family.”

Spend a few bucks to build your sales. People such as restaurant servers and hair stylists talk to all kinds of people. Be more than generous with your tip and toss in a few cards. They will remember you and spread your name. (Yes, this really works—and recently resulted in a four-figure sale in my hometown.)

Recruiting: Turning your card into a way to recruit great employees is not a cheap trick. You’ve probably shopped somewhere or met someone with the right attitude to succeed in your company.

Savvy businesspeople invest in printing a “Recruiting Card.” This tool has information about their company, what they do, and who to contact for an interview. Imagine how great it will be when you meet that special person and are equipped to get them on your team.

Know that some employers are touchy when you try to poach their players! Frame the card hand-off by saying, “If you know of anyone with your great attitude looking for a change, please pass this on to them.”

First Impressions Count: You’ll never get that second chance if your card isn’t up to standard. Avoid using dog-eared or smudged cards. Spend a little more for heavier cardstock. If your card has crossed out names, phone numbers, or other handwritten information, you’ve conveyed unprofessionalism—although it’s acceptable to write notes on the back of a card.

You can eliminate clutter by removing any contact numbers that are rarely used, like a fax number. If you work through a switchboard, include your extension or direct dial number.

“Your customers don’t give a hoot about your title. They want to know what you can do for them.”

Answering machines, dial-up modems, and that GPS we hung on the windshield were invaluable tools we couldn’t live without. They became obsolete in less than a decade. Business cards are alive and well. Use them properly, early, and often to keep your organization viable and vital.




About Gordon Hecht: Gordon Hecht is a business growth and development consultant to the retail home furnishings industry. You can reach him at Gordon.hecht@aol.com