What does your name card say about you?

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Written by Dr Asha K. Karan

One of the first things that you design when you want to go into business for yourself is your business name, and name card. Think carefully about what you want your name card to say about you and how the card will say it.

Your Name
If your business is a one-man-operation, your name should be the most obvious item on your name card – because you are selling your personal services. The customer must buy You! Of course, if you are seeking to establish a company, then your company name must be the most obvious, followed by your name.

A logo is not essential. A logo is meant to be a memory aide – to help your client remember your company name or the nature of your services. Based on that assumption, there are some who feel that the logo should never be bigger than the company name.

What You Do
The person who gets your card must know immediately what you do. Instead of simply stating your designation as, say, “Trainer”, it would be better to specify your area of expertise e.g. “soft skills training for the hospitality industry”. If you have several products or services, consider listing it at the back of the card so that the front of the card will not be cluttered with too many details.

How to Contact You
These days, contact details get more numerous. No longer is it just a telephone number and address. Contact details now include company telephone, direct telephone numbers (DID), fax number, hand phone numbers, websites and E-mails. Beware that in including all this, the font size may get too small for easy reading!

Your Professional Image
The way you dress, speak and conduct yourself reflect on your professionalism. In the same way, when you present your name card as an introduction at a business meeting, your potential client will be making instant assessments about your professional experience and standing. The “look and feel” of your card begins with the choice of paper, texture, colour combinations, font choice and layout of information. If it is thought that your handwriting tells your personality, then the design of your name card tells on your business.

Personally, I like to have photographs on the name card. Most people are visual in information processing so a photograph has more impact than a mass of print. If you do choose to include a photograph, make sure that the photo is well taken and specific for this purpose. Your outfit, including hair, make-up and accessories and even the background props can build or mar your professional image.

Your Credentials
It is good to include your qualifications if they help to build credibility. It may not be necessary to include all your credentials if they are not directly relevant to your particular business or area of speciality. If you have won some accolade or been given recognition relevant to your field – terrific! Putting that on your card can be very persuasive in getting a prospect to buy your service.

Catchphrase or Slogan
In our modern world of haste and sound bites, it has become fashionable to include a catchphrase on name cards. This works only if it is short -- ideally six words or less – and memorably captures the essence of your business or service. This can be quite difficult to do and unless it can be effectively done, it may be better to leave it out.

Understand that different people interpret colours and design differently so it is good to have people who share similar backgrounds or values as your prospective clients give you a critique of your name card. A well-designed name card not only gives information, it builds your professional image and helps people to “buy” You!