Generally I’m averse to more dead trees (read: paper) in business but the one area I don’t scrimp on is business cards. Back in 2001 I had started my business six months earlier and I was in Durham, NC participating in a workshop at the Council for Entrepreneurial Development (CED). The lady who was teaching the workshop escapes my mind but the topic was on setting goals and milestones for the business. Her goal at the time was to reach a certain level of sales and she was going to reward herself with a $60,000 Lexus SC 430 convertible, and thus had a picture of it up on her wall as a reminder.
At the end of the event she said she would stick around and answer any questions as well as hear the elevator pitch for our business. I dutifully stood in line when the event was done and when it became time for me to talk to her she initially asked for my business card. Not thinking much of it, I handed her my homemade business card made using the business card construction kit from Office Depot (you print on card stock paper with perforated edges and pull the business cards apart). Immediately she started holding the card up in the air and flicking it with her finger to show how cheap and flimsy it was. I was thoroughly embarrassed. She then proceeded to tell me that while it might seem trivial, people notice the details and a homemade business card reflects poorly on me and my business. I’ll never forget that encounter as I learned a valuable lesson.
My recommendation to entrepreneurs is to invest in your brand and image through a professional logo and business card using a low cost web-based service (e.g. LogoBee) and a professional printing company (e.g. Printing4Less).