what information should be on your next business card

Business cards (or visiting cards or calling cards) are an absolute necessity in the world of networking. So, deciding on what kind of information needs to be on your business card is often a crucial decision. A good approach to would be to decide on all the information that you would like to see on your card and then design your card around that information.

While deciding on all the pertinent information, follow the 5W (and H) rule to create a list. The 5W rule is from the world journalism that is to make sure that you cover the whole story rather than just some a part of it and to avoid missing some crucial piece of information. It is basically answering the six questions: who, what, why, where, when and how. Extending that into the business cards, ask yourself these 6 questions.

When somebody reads my business card, Is there enough information on the card to say

  1. who you are
  2. what you do
  3. why they should contact you
  4. how they can contact you
  5. where you work
  6. when do you work

I have arranged the questions in what I think is the order of importance for a small business. The order might be vary according to your needs, so feel free to re-order the questions according to your industry needs. Now, lets’ walk through the questions and see what information needs to go and where….

Who are you?

This basically refers to you and/or your business. I am a big proponent of having separate business cards for the business and the owner/employee. It may or maynot make a difference in your case or you might decide to go with just one depending on your needs.

If appropriate, always use the company logo. It is a recognizable image which will appear everywhere and should be part of your brand building process. If it is a personal card (eg: if you do freelancing) then you might not have a logo in which case you can think of your name as the logo.

Your name (and/or the company name) should be a no-brainer. Also, it is the most important information on the card, so give it some prominence. You can put the name in a bigger font (than the rest of the text in the card) or make it bolder.

What do you do?

This should be the position or title that you hold with in the company. Your job title should give a fairly good idea as to what you do. If you do have one of those obscure job titles which nobody can really make sense of, think of explaining it in as few words as possible.

If this is a personal card without any corporate affiliations, then this will be a good place to specify as to what kind of work you do. Feel free to come up with some good sounding pseudo-title which describes your expertise in about 2 to 4 words. And try to be as descriptive as possible. For example, Investigative News Journalist is a better title than Journalist.

Why should anybody be interested?

This is a small description which basically sells your services. This could be a tag line that you have which features some unique nature of your business or a service that you provide. If you do have a corporate logo or company name, then you could place the description next to it. Another good place would be to put it at the bottom as a footer.

How can anybody contact you?

Provide information on how somebody could contact you. This could be your email address, telephone number, twitter (social media) account or any other method to directly contact you. It goes with out saying that it is beneficial to provide a method where you do frequently respond quickly.

Where do you work?

This is usually your place of work. Depending on how and where you work, it could be part of the earlier question as well. Provide an address so that it is possible for people to send a snail-mail or do come to your place of brick-and-mortar business. It is especially important if you are a small business like retail sales or services and rely on walk-in traffic.
This could be a no-show on your card, especially if you conduct your business remotely or over the phone. If you are freelancer or does not have the need to entertain customers think twice before putting your residential address on.

When do you work?

This is again probably most valid for brick-and-mortar businesses. You could provide your business hours on the card.
It is quite possible that you will run out of room on a 3.5″x2″ card if you were to put detailed information on all the questions. Pick the ones that are most relevant, usually the earlier questions in the post rather than latter. Think if you could merge a lot of secondary information into a quick response (QR) code. The information you provide should not clutter the card. Talking of cluttering, take a look at the post on how to avoid most common mistakes while designing a business card.

If anybody were to look at your card today, tomorrow or six months from now, they should have a good idea as to who you are, where you work, what you do, how they can contact you and more importantly why they should contact you.