I got off the softball diamond this morning to this text message from a Syracuse-area phone number I don't recognize:
Im starting new business managing estate sales. Where can I get a business cards?
Here are the things that bother me about this message.
Don't make an inquiry by text message unless you know it's the right way to ask. First, don't assume, unless we regularly text back and forth, that I know who you are. At least tell me who it is asking. Also note that texting is the least professional way to go, so unless we've explicitly had a conversation that included the phrase, "Text me if you ever need something business-related."
Be professional in your asking. The grammar in this text message is terrible. If you know me, you probably know I'm a grammar guy. And if you don't know that, assume it anyway. You're representing your business poorly, and I'm less likely to want to help you if I think you're going to half-ass things (because you've definitely initiated the conversation in a half-assed manner).
Don't assume I'm going to give you free advice. I give away a lot of good information that I have in my head. I do it willingly, and happily, and I think it's important. I assume your business model is not managing estate sales for free. So why assume I'm willing to give you free advice? An initial consultation with me will cost you $150, and if you hire me, that will be put toward your project cost, but I don't go around giving away good ideas for nothing.
Ask yourself if you really need to ask the question. If you were asking specifically about where I got my business cards, or if I knew any locally owned design-and-print shops I would recommend, that would be one thing. But where to get business cards in general? How lazy can you be? Use Google. Or the phone book. Why would I do your leg work for the simple stuff?
Where to get business cards
You want free advice on business cards? Here are some options. And now, whoever you are, you'll need to share my advice with everybody.
Locally owned. I would start by searching the
Also, check out
Free. Go to
Cookie cutter. Walk into your local Staples, Office Max, Kinko's or any other print shop. They'll walk you through putting together a business card and they'll print them for you.
Business card tips
A couple of things you should do.
• Proof your cards before they go to press. I've seen some really bad proofs, and I've had cards handed to me without phone numbers, with spelling mistakes, and without names, among other things. Big no-no.
• Make your business card stand out. Make it an unusual shape (but still make it easy to carry). Add a QR code, or a fun photo. Or print something funny on it so that I'll keep it in mind.
• Make it clear what you do. I have two primary business cards. One says "Community Manager, Gold's Gym." It lets you know I'm employed by a gym, and I'm their community manager. I have another that says "Internet Marketing Consultant." It lets you know that I consult with people and businesses on marketing, particularly in the online realm. It does not say "free advice for lazy business owners."