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Your Business Card:
The Mini-Billboard in your pocket

 

Well, who'd have thought there was so much to think about in seven square inches? Your business card can be the perfect introduction to your business or it can be a boring old boiler-plate piece of cardboard. And the funny thing is: boring or brilliant, they cost the same. Even if you hire a professional to design your card(s) for you...you'll be handing out and passing around so many, the professional fee for a fantastic card will be a minimal additional expense. So, if you're ready to graduate from the VistaPrint, Giggleprint, OvernightPrints look-like-everyone-else designs, let's explore the mini-billboard in your...and your prospects'... pockets.

Whatís your business card and what do you want it to do, really?

Well, we all know what a business card is. It's a concise introduction to your business, a way to hand someone information about who you are, what you do, and how get in touch with you.
Right? Wrong.
Well, kinda wrong. Let's look at your business card another way:
It's what your business is about and why they should care. Your card is all about why your business should be of interest to them, and how they can follow through. Sure, you need to tell them where you are and how you can be communicated with, but more importantly, you want to pique their curiosity. You want to intrigue them.
And then, you want them to keep your card. And then, if you're really a marketeer, you want them to be so amused, amazed, astounded by its usefulness, that they will ask for more of your cards to pass on to others, thus spreading your fame and brilliance far and wide.

Sounds like a lot for one little 3-1/2" by 2" card to do, doesn't it? Fear not. It can be done.

And they're SO cheap. The world's best advertising bargain.

So choose every element of your business card carefully.
Every element counts. Color, illustration, font, and every single word. The texture of the paper and the orientation (horizontal or vertical?) Glossy or matte? Even the shape of your card makes a difference.
Make sure, at a quick glance (the kind that business cards get!) that it's obvious what your business is. Explore some great cards.

Think I'm overstating your card's importance? Here's a test. There's 958, at last count, business cards in this Flickr photo pool. Look at some...and see if you get a real feel for the businesses they represent...and whether that business sounds like one you'd deal with.

The (boring) basics, but a place to start your imagination.
You know those "free" (yup, sneer quotes!) business cards you can get? See what Otis Casey has done with them.
You are going to LOVE all these designs... but especially the "secondhand" one!

Hereís an interesting thought: do you REALLY want the main message of your business card, the headline, as it were, to be your shop name? Perhaps not.
Oh sure, you want them to think Curious Closet when they think resale (and not Clothes Closet, your arch-rival!) but what you really want your mini-billboard to do is get their attention, intrigue them, and move them to do something. To do that we need to sock Ďem between the eyes with a customer benefit.
You may already have developed and be using a customer benefit that could be the headline on your mini-billboard: your tag line. Examples:
Easy Street Consignment has for a tag line "Yummy designer fashions, accessories & gifts". Wear It Again Sam uses "Never the same store twice". Wallabies Kids uses "Where to go as your child grows". To turn these tag lines into headlines that will catch the reader's eye, just make the message more compelling: Where do YOU go when your child grows? or Got a taste for designer duds? or Shop quick...it'll be different next time!

Digression: A word about the use of quotation marks on your business card (any store communications, actually): DONíT. 
If youíre not using quotation marks as ACTUAL DIALOG (as in, Kate says, "Never do this!") or to identify a direct quotation,
 as I have done to indicate that those tag lines are word-for-word, then they serve as sneer quotes. 
My favorite misuse of quotation marks on a business card?
 MyShop/ The Place for "Quality" Fashions. 
"Quality" as in, yeh, right, SHE thinks so, what a hoot
And that's why they are called sneer quotes...

And donít hesitate to have, and carry, more than one version of your card. As a resaler, you have two markets to address: those who may buy (your customers) and those who may bring in items for you to sell (your consignors, sellers, or donors: letís call these folks your suppliers.) Are your messages slightly different to these two audiences? Of course. Do you want to muddy your message by trying to do it all in one card? Of course not. Business cards are cheap. Have several versions. 

One final word of advice. Make sure your card can be read without reading glasses. If you're under 30, show it to someone who's not. This means paying attention not only to the size of the letters, but the font, the color contrast, and the background. A card that's illegible is worse than none at all.

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TGtbT.com is the premier web site for professional resalers. Start a consignment, resale or thrift store with our free articles and the TGtbT.com Products for the Professional Resaler. Interested in how to open a consignment shop, business plans, operating your shop, consignment software and selling secondhand clothes, upscale designer fashions, children's gear or used furniture? Consignment shops, resale stores, thrift stores and consignment sales use Too Good to be Threw. As a lifelong member of NARTS and a consignment consultant, our information is designed specifically for the resale industry.

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