Business cards are a great way to open new doors for your business. Typically, you'd meet someone at a networking event, conference, meeting, or maybe even just a coffee shop where it may be convenient to exchange contact information in the hope of a future business relationship. These situations are where passing along business cards would be very useful. They are an effective marketing tool.
When it comes to attracting business, first impressions are everything. If you make any of these 10 business card mistakes, you could appear like an amateur or unprofessional, and lose out on potential deals. Read on to see how you can avoid them.
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Sure, there's no "rule book" for what should be on a business card or how they should look or have. A solid business card is composed of best practices and tacit guidelines.
An unprofessional-looking business card could do more damage than good. A business card is a golden opportunity to invite people to collaborate with you. Don't ruin your opportunities by avoiding these common business card mistakes.
Here are 10 common mistakes you should avoid when creating business cards to get the full marketing potential of them.
If first impressions are important, a poor quality card implies your work or service is unorganized and low-quality. It'll repel prospective customers.
Plus, the poor-quality paper would not even last in the long run. Imagine handing cards out and they are feather-light. Most business card holders you give cards to destroy just by keeping them in their wallets or purse.
Your business cards need to be durable. Get your cards printed with some nice high-quality paper. A nice, heavier paper type has an appetizing quality to it.
Don't skimp out on investing in a high-grade paper for your business card. Most business owners print their business cards on 300 GSM paper. A 300 paper is 14 Pt, or 0.014 inches thick, which makes it feel “weighty” and durable. This thicker type of paper is stiffer but still bendable and flexible. You'll typically see it used for some magazine covers and higher-quality flyers. However, the best paper for business cards is 400 to 450 GSM.
Always remember the acronym, K.I.S.S., or Keep it simple silly.
Business cards are tiny in comparison to other marketing materials. Don't make the mistake of stuffing your business card with your sales pitch or too much information. Instead, keep it simple, silly. Only include the necessary details and save what you have to say for when you actually meet with the prospect again.
Avoid the visual clutter and only include this information:
A general rule for business cards is to save sharing your hobbies and personal interests for the resume, cover letter, or interview. if you include your hobbies or personal interests, you can quickly overload your card.
A cluttered card only makes it harder for the prospect to read your business card. Remember, K.I.S.S. for your business cards. Too much print can deter a person from reading the card. Just outline the basics: a business name, website, email, and phone number. Tell the prospects about the details of your unique selling proposition in the follow-up meeting or phone calls.
Your brand will be represented physically by your business cards. If your business cards appear cheap, recipients may associate your brand with being inferior. Inferior-quality images can give the impression that your company provides poor services and products.
Low-quality images would reflect poorly on your business's work.
Put yourself in a potential client's shoes. What would you think if you received a business card with pixelated images? Would that make a great impression?
No, it wouldn't...
Business cards are cost-effective marketing tools but don't hurt your brand by getting low-quality images printed. Compare different manufacturers and printing shops. Ask for samples. Your business card design may look nice but if the shop only produces poor quality products, your card may be printed with low-resolution images.
Along with having low-quality images, having a poor design on your business card is a huge mistake. If you plan on designing your card yourself, don't make the common mistake of a grey print on a white background. The worst kind of business card design is one that blends in with everything else.
If it doesn't attract the intended recipient's attention, it might as well not exist.
Seriously, invest in a freelance graphic designer for a nice business card design. You know, someone who spends all of their days nitpicking details of the design process like alignment, contrast, colors, sizing, white space, etc. A talented graphic designer will make a huge difference in designing visually appealing cards to capture potential customers.
Cards that are unimpressive and commonplace will swiftly fade from the memories of the person you presented them to.
Instead, your cards should be made in such a way that they clearly identify what your company offers and stand out from the competition.
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After you design your company business card, be sure to keep the bleed line, cut line, and safety line at the top of your head. A bleed line is the limit area where a design can extend to without being cut off. A safety line is an area where all the text cannot pass. A cut line is where the business card would be cut.
Although various printers have their own specifications for business cards, you should have about 0.25 inches (6mm) of bleed in your design at the very least.
Don't print your card and realize the business card design got cut off by the printer. Be strategic when you use the small space provided and be aware of white space.
Using a free email address is among the most common business card mistakes. Don't use a free Gmail, Hotmail, or Yahoo email to place on your business card. These tiny details matter. A free email address simply looks unprofessional. Get an email attached to your website domain or company name. A business email with your website typically can be set up for free with your website hosting site.
To get a free business email account, you'll need a domain name and a website. You'll need an email service provider to handle your business emails after that. There are several options available for creating a professional business email address.
A proper company email is especially important for high-ticket offers.
If you are trying to sell services for a few thousand dollars or more, a nice professional business email will help you make a good impression.
If you are passing along your business information to a potential customer, client, or partner, don't make them use a magnifying glass to read your business card. Proper font size is important.
It's fair to want to fit as much information about your business as possible on the card, but adding pages of micro-text won't help. Most individuals will find it too difficult to read as a result. It's best to keep the language clear and straightforward.
The small font size on a small business card only makes it more difficult for your potential prospects to discern so use a type size no smaller than 7 or 8 font.
Your name point can be a little larger. Perhaps a 9 or 10 font, and the business name usually looks good at about 12-15 points.
Always, always, always, proofread your business cards prior to getting them printed. Typos on business cards make you seem not detail-oriented and careless. Carefully check for any typos and grammatical errors such as proper capitalization, consistency and punctuation.
On top of checking for typos, check for outdated information. You'll be banging your head against the wall if you print out your business cards and notice you have past or outdated information.
Have someone else review your business cards before you start figuring out how to get them printed. A second or third set of eyes may be valuable. You could also get feedback on your design.
Some business owners take 'distinctive branding' overboard. They use other over-the-top creative ways to stand out like metal or oversized cards. Don't buy into the idea of these 'unique business cards' in order to stand out. Just get a good quality stock card that feel substantial and nice to touch.
Make sure the final design and messaging are appropriate too. Don't include memes or jokes on your business card unless it is directly in line with your brand messaging. If you treat your business card as a joke, nobody will take your services seriously.
If your business is just starting out, going over the top could even be the number of cards you order initially. Unless your company is well-established, there's a strong possibility you'll change your logo, tagline, colors, branding, and other elements.
So, keep everything else off your card and make it represent the simplest, cleanest, most basic component of your business. It's still possible to wind up with outdated cards, but buying fewer at a time and keeping them simple makes them more user-friendly while also shielding you from throwing them away when you rebrand your company.
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A verbal contract (formally called an oral contract) refers to an agreement between two parties that's made —you guessed it— verbally.
Formal contracts, like those between an employee and an employer, are typically written down. However, some professional transactions take place based on verbally agreed terms.
Freelancers are a good example of this. Often, freelancers will take on projects having agreed on the terms and payment via the phone, or an email. Unfortunately, sometimes clients don't pull through on their agreements, and hardworking freelancers can find themselves out of pocket and wondering whether a legal battle is worth all the hassle.
The main differences between written and oral contracts are that the former is signed and documented, whereas the latter is solely attributed to verbal communication.
Verbal contracts are a bit of a gray area for most people unfamiliar with contract law —which is most of us, right?— due to the fact that there's no physical evidence to support the claims made by the implemented parties.
For any contract (written or verbal) to be binding, there are four major elements which need to be in place. The crucial elements of a contract are as follows:
Therefore, an oral agreement has legal validity if all of these elements are present. However, verbal contracts can be difficult to enforce in a court of law. In the next section, we take a look at how oral agreements hold up in court.
Most business professionals are wary of entering into contracts orally because they can difficult to enforce in the face of the law.
If an oral contract is brought in front of a court of law, there is increased risk of one party (or both!) lying about the initial terms of the agreement. This is problematic for the court, as there's no unbiased way to conclude the case; often, this will result in the case being disregarded. Moreover, it can be difficult to outline contract defects if it's not in writing.
That being said, there are plenty of situations where enforceable contracts do not need to be written or spoken, they're simply implied. For instance, when you buy milk from a store, you give something in exchange for something else and enter into an implied contract, in this case - money is exchanged for goods.
There are some types of contracts which must be in writing.
The Statute of Frauds is a legal statute which states that certain kinds of contracts must be executed in writing and signed by the parties involved. The Statute of Frauds has been adopted in almost all U.S states, and requires a written contract for the following purposes:
Typically, a court of law won't enforce an oral agreement in any of these circumstances under the statute. Instead, a written document is required to make the contract enforceable.
Contract law is generally doesn't favor contracts agreed upon verbally. A verbal agreement is difficult to prove, and can be used by those intent on committing fraud. For that reason, it's always best to put any agreements in writing and ensure all parties have fully understood and consented to signing.
Verbal agreements can be proven with actions in the absence of physical documentation. Any oral promise to provide the sale of goods or perform a service that you agreed to counts as a valid contract. So, when facing a court of law, what evidence can you provide to enforce a verbal agreement?
Unfortunately, without solid proof, it may be difficult to convince a court of the legality of an oral contract. Without witnesses to testify to the oral agreement taking place or other forms of evidence, oral contracts won't stand up in court. Instead, it becomes a matter of "he-said-she-said" - which legal professionals definitely don't have time for!
If you were to enter into a verbal contract, it's recommended to follow up with an email or a letter confirming the offer, the terms of the agreement , and payment conditions. The more you can document the elements of a contract, the better your chances of legally enforcing a oral contract.
Another option is to make a recording of the conversation where the agreement is verbalized. This can be used to support your claims in the absence of a written agreement. However, it's always best to gain the permission of the other involved parties before hitting record.
Fundamentally, most verbal agreements are legally valid as long as they meet all the requirements for a contract. However, if you were to go to court over one party not fulfilling the terms of the contract, proving that the interaction took place can be extremely taxing.
So, ultimately, the question is: written or verbal agreements?
Any good lawyer, contract law firm, or legal professional would advise you to make sure you formalize any professional agreement with a written agreement. Written contracts provide a secure testament to the conditions that were agreed and signed by the two parties involved. If it comes to it, a physical contract is much easier to eviden in legal circumstances.
Freelancers, in particular, should be aware of the extra security that digital contracts may provide. Many people choose to stick to executing contracts verbally because they're not sure how to write a contract, or they think writing out the contract terms is too complicated or requires expensive legal advice. However, this is no longer the case.
Today, we have a world of resources available at our fingertips. The internet is a treasure trove of invaluable information, platforms, and software that simplifies our lives. Creating, signing, and sending contracts has never been easier. What's more, you don't have to rely on a hiring a lawyer to explain all that legal jargon anymore.
There are plenty of tools available online for freelancers to use for guidance when drafting digital contracts. Tools like Bonsai provide a range of customizable, vetted contract templates for all kinds of freelance professionals. No matter what industry you're operating in, Bonsai has a professional template to offer.
A written contract makes the agreement much easier to prove the terms of the agreement in case something were to go awry. The two parties involved can rest assured that they're legal rights are protected, and the terms of the contract are sufficiently documented. Plus, it provides both parties with peace of mind to focus on the tasks at hand.
Bonsai's product suite for freelancers allows users to make contracts from scratch, or using professional templates, and sign them using an online signature maker.
With Bonsai, you can streamline and automate all of the boring back-office tasks that come with being a freelancer. From creating proposals that clients can't say no to, to sealing the deal with a professional contract - Bonsai will revolutionize the way you do business as a freelancer.
Why not secure your business today and sign up for a free trial?