You would think that developing a business card would be easy. You put the name of the business, email, phone number, fax, website and whatever else you think is pertinent and/or applicable. Obviously, if you have no website or fax, well then chances are you’re not going to include such items…Duh. So, you sit down at your desk and jot down some ideas and before you know it, if you actually put some effort into it, you realize it is not as easy as you originally thought. Well, just like any other type of advertising, business cards take some thought for development. The first thing we struggled with was, “Who is this business card for?”
This is a great question that requires follow up questions such as, “Who’s going to read them?” and “What purpose will they serve?”. Once you establish the purpose of your business card, then you have to come up with things to say that speak to the people you’re giving them to. The people you give your business cards to should probably be considered customers. You want your customers to be able to quickly see what you are all about. Think about the different people you may run into in your business travels. You may attend a chamber of commerce function and want to specifically market vendors or contractors of some kind. You may want to let them know you’re provide contracting work that meets their investment goals.
On the other hand, you may be driving neighborhoods and want to let people know you “buy houses with no hassles”. On a separate day, you may want to visit some apartment complexes and drop some cards around that let people know you offer great deals on seller financed projects or lease options. You also may want to bring all these cards to investor meetings or chamber of commerce meetings to give everybody a taste of what you’re all about!
So is the answer, to have numerous business cards that represent all of your business interests to all different types of “customers”? Maybe, that depends on your focus which relies on the answers to the questions above. To save money you might consider making your cards double-sided. On one side of the card, you sell property and on the other, you buy property. There are also things to consider like if you want the card to be very professional and informative or very colorful like an advertisement. If you have a website, or plan to have one, it’s very important to include this on the card as well. Your website should be featured on just about everything you put out there for the public to see.
You’ll have options for what type of paper to have the cards printed on as well. Many businesses choose to use yellow cards with black lettering. This is prominent and stands out. Most are just white with whatever kind of letter color. If you know a graphic designer, you may choose to have them design one for you, put the predesigned card on a disc and bring this to the printer. The printer will like this, as it cuts down their time spent designing the card for you.
The issue of price and which printer to use will be something to consider as well. Depending on your local area, Kinko’s prices may be reasonable. We decided to use Minuteman Press. They charged us $95.00 for 1000 double-sided cards. We have color on one side and black and greys on the other, set against a white card. We designed them first, put them on a disc and gave it to them. They came out perfect. In our case, the content became the issue, as we put things on the cards that really didn’t describe our business accurately. That’s our mistake. Now we’re not talking any type of illegal or false advertising, we just put things on the cards that we don’t particularly like.
What not to put on a business card: Titles. If you’re just starting out and you started a Corp or LLC, you may consider yourself “President” or some variation, but this title is a hefty one to place on a business card. It implies that you have all the answers. If you do, well then that’s great. But seeing as this is a site devoted to the noob investor, well then we’ll just go ahead and guess that “you ain’t all that” just yet. So needless to say, something like, “Tom Smith, Member” should suffice. This accomplishes two important objectives. It implies that their is more than one person in your business – that can seem professional. Secondly, it lets you off the hook if you are at a function or just talking with a fellow investor who asks you a question you can’t answer on the spot. As a member, you can say, “I’ll follow up on that with my partners.” As “President”, this will not fly. You’ll look incompetent. This is probably not a novel idea and may be discussed in many places, but we thought it pertinent to this article.
The rest of what not to put on the card depends on your intentions for the card(s). The best thing to do is prepare your investment strategies first. Really narrow down what it is you want to do. So much goes into developing a business/investment strategy that business cards really should be low on the list of priorities. If you must have them right away. Keep them very simple. If your business will be real estate investment, then your name, company name (if you set one up already), some contact information and maybe something like, “Real Estate Solutions” or some variation will suffice. This keeps it broad enough so that if you decide to rehab and sell residential, or rent, buy foreclosures, flip, buy commercial, etc…you will have a card with general information on it.