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Make Your Business Card Work Harder

When’s the last time you handed someone your business card, and the recipient immediately asked you a question about it? Or they commented on a unique aspect of it?

As a businesswoman, business cards are a key element to promoting yourself and your business - whether you blog or run a team of 20. While traditional business cards are simply a boring way to share contact information, your business card can in fact do double duty for you—and who doesn’t like something that does twice the work?

Consider this: Your business card can tell your professional story. It may seem silly, but that little piece of paper can not only provide your contact information, but it can give your new acquaintances a glimpse into your world, a brief look into who you are.

One of my clients - Jennifer Clark, an event planner - needed a business card that let people into her world and showed them that she had a breadth of experience. I asked her to tell me her professional story from the beginning.

She taught English at high schools in Japan for three years. She coordinated individuals from across her home state to come together for common causes at local nonprofits. She helped train dozens of individuals for marathons who never thought they could even do a 5K. She is a mom of two beautiful daughters, aged 5 and 1.

This brief 10-minute conversation inspired us to create a simple, clean business card that had all of Jennifer's pertinent information on the front. And on the back, the text: “Let me share with you my passion for event planning that has developed over a lifetime of experiences around the world. Together, we can evoke your brand, excite your customers, and emerge events into more for you, your business and your customers.”

These two lines don’t tell her whole story. Instead, they open the door to making a solid connection with a new acquaintance.

How can you share your own story on a tiny piece of paper? It's going to require a bit of soul-searching.

1. Begin by writing out your professional story.

How did you decide you wanted to go into business for yourself? What inspired you to go into your line of work? How long have you been pursuing this career? Ask yourself these questions and have clear, concise answers ready to go before you begin.

2. Delve deeper into your work life.

What is your favorite thing about your job? Who do you like to work with? What was your first big project or your biggest success? Pinpoint the professional details that define your career.

3. Think about how you can put these ideas into phrases or photos.

If you’re a photographer who’s inspired by nature, include your favorite nature shot with details of when and where you took it. If you’ve been selling homes for 15 years, incorporate that fact into your card. If you’re an event planner who has travelled the world, mention it. These are the elements you’ll use in your business card.

As you begin your journey of business card storytelling, here are a few tips to help you make the most of your 2" x 3" card:

Make it personal — Your business card is a reflection of you, so let yourself shine. Don’t be afraid to add your own personal touch.

Get creative — As a mom, you have to do creative problem solving nearly every day. This is just another creative project for you—and maybe your children would like to give their input too!

Try something different — Don’t be afraid to try something new. You got this far by trying out new things. Let your business card follow that same path.

Ultimately, remember this: You’re unique, and your business card should be too!

Catherine Lott is a public relations and branding professional who specializes in non-profit and small business marketing. Lott stays inspired by her current hometown, Hattiesburg, MS, describing it as a small community with a big commitment to local businesses, students, and young professionals. She writes for TinyPrints.com as a small business blogger, and spends her free time running marathons and working on her personal blog.

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