Don’t Mess With Your Business Card

It is estimated that changes have been made on 35% of all business cards presented on any day. These seemingly innocent changes are made with pen, marker or, gasp, a stick- on label. Get out that stack of cards in your drawer with the rubber band. At least one will have a change, penciled it. Not too impressive, huh?

Your business card is perhaps the most important tool in your marketing arsenal. It is like a miniature billboard starring you. Commercials on TV don’t have flubs, ads in the paper don’t have mark-throughs. Your business card should be perfect, too. If it’s not, don’t fiddle with it, get a new one.

Several years ago, in the Northwest Airlines Terminal building at the Detroit Metropolitan Airport, a clever worker patched the terrazzo floor. Since I am not there every day (although it seems like it with all the traveling I do), I don’t know the reason for the patch. But nonetheless, it was a patch. You can see it 12 gates away.

The workmanship is fine and as time has passed, the patch has aged to blend with the floor around it. I am sure as more time passes; I will be unable to see where the work was done. A patch in Detroit was probably the right choice, given the hundreds of thousands of square feet of floor to replace, and the patch seems to be disappearing with my every visit. The patch route was the right road to take. Too expensive to replace the whole floor, so patch it, but make it a really good patch.

The too-expensive argument doesn’t hold when a tightwad spends an hour carefully marking out the email address on a stack of business cards and painstakingly penciling in a new one. Yuk!

What’s it gonna cost to buy a new box of cards? Not much, but even if it was really expensive, I venture to predict the negative impression of the “mark-out, pencil-in” change will cost more in lost, or compromised, future business. If you thought you might lose a good account, would you pay twenty bucks to save it? Of course. Spend the money for new cards and you may not have to find a way to save the account.

Ever see a broken door handle in a hospital fixed with duct tape? How about a broken chair in the examining room at your doctor’s office? It just doesn’t happen. It is not professional. It sends the wrong message. Same with your business card. The fix-on-the- cheap route doesn’t work for people in business, especially if they need to make a favorable impression. Business cards are like that. They can make, or break, the impression you and your business make.

If one itty bitty snippet of information on your card changes, the cards are obsolete and should be pitched and new ones printed, pronto. There is no excuse for keeping old cards around. I read a chapter in a book someone had written that listed 29 things to do with outdated business cards. One of them was to glue them together and give them to Grandma so she could prop up the kitchen table and get her New Testament back.

A crisp, clean, professional looking business card printed on white glossy stock, with no errors or changes is the best foot you can put forward in your business.