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Does Your Business Card Pass the Trash Test?

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Mid adult businessman giving business card to female colleague
Maskot/Getty Images

Your business card is often the first impression a potential client has with your company. The business card design and message will ultimately determine whether it gets thrown in the trash or filed for contact later.

Reach in your wallet and pull out your business card. Your Small Business Information guide has put together the business card test. Learn if your business card will pass or be trashed.

Size: Does your business card conform to the traditional size of 3.5" by 2"? Anything greater will not fit in wallets or most business card holders. End result trash.

Paper Quality: Is your business card design of professional quality or is it flimsy with perforated edges? Cheap cards are trashed.

Ink: Drop some liquid on your business card. If the ink runs, it's in the trash.

Color Test: Colorful cards can add to your professional image. Too much color can be detracting. Trash your card if it is black and white or has more than 3 colors unless it's a photograph.

Message Design: Your business card should clearly tell people what you do and offer a meaningful benefit. No message adds confusion so your card ends up in the trash.

Image Match: Your business card design should match your business image. If you're a designer, then the card should be creative. If your card is out of synch with your image, time to toss it.

Font Size: Is your card crammed with information? White space on the card will make it easier to absorb your message. If you have a lot to say, add it to the back of the business card. Is the print so tiny you have too squint to see it? This one is heading for the trash.

Contact Information: Your clients or potential clients should have as many means as possible to contact you based on their preference. Your business card design should include: voicemail, phone, fax, email, and website. Lack of contact information puts your card in the trash.

You only have one chance to make a great first impression. Make sure you invest in the best business card design you can afford. The business card is your introduction to a client, for the low cost per card that is money well spent.

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