One of the first ways people get to know you is through business cards. I can't tell you how many times I have asked the interesting people I meet at meetings and events for a business card only to be told they don't have one, or they haven't gotten them printed yet, or some such excuse. The bottom line is IF THEY DON'T HAVE A BUSINESS CARD, THEY ARE NOT PREPARED TO DO BUSINESS!

But, no matter how great your business cards are, if you keep them in your desk drawer, at home, or in your pocket, they aren't helping you create more business. They do you no good unless you get them into circulation! I like to give people two when the ask me, one for them and one to pass along to someone else.

These are mini billboards and should be used as such. They should also be given with respect, after all, you are presenting your business when you give one out. They should be a good weight, printed professionally (not on your home computer) and clean and unmarred.

Let me explain. Many years ago, there was an article written by Fred Showker called Powerhouse Biz Cards. In that he made a statement that has run so true in the last 15 years. He offered a test for a good business card: Take your business card and place it over a hot cup of tea or coffee. Now, start piling quarters on it. If the ink runs from the moisture or the quarters bend it till it sags into your beverage, your card fails the test. There is a perception that thicker paper means quality among most business people. Guess it’s a leftover from another time, but it’s still there on some level. Always remember, if your business card won’t hold a buck, it will never make you one!!

Also, remember, if your card is coffee-stained, or dog-eared and looks like it’s one step up from pocket lint, think again. This is your livelihood you’re offering.

One of the most effective business cards I have ever received was from a consultant in Southern California. The card read simply, “You need it? I do it or I can find someone who does!” and his phone number. Something to think about anyway.

There are some real basis to remember when using business cards:

1. You must have them with you at all times.
2. You must get people to read and retain them
3. You must hand out something that describes you and your business in a single glance.
4. It's the person behind the card that makes all the difference.

Author's Bio: 

DeBorah Beatty has been on the stage with the likes of Dan McBride and Ken Lutz, and has studied with Mark Victor Hansen of Chicken Soup fame, Tony Robbins, Tom Peters, as well as a host of other mentors and can bring a fresh set of ideas to your next project.

From Arizona to Washington, she has trained entrepreneurs for over 20 years. She's been an SPE (Single Parent Entrepreneur), a traveling craftsperson, a visual designer, art director and print broker; an onscreen television anchor and a radio personality as well as a voice actor. She has started and sold 6 companies and has had responsibility for training sales and marketing teams, creating brands and corporate IDs, all the while remaining committed to networking and sharing with other entrepreneurs.

Nominated for "Who's Who in American Women" in 1991, again in 1996 as well as "Who's Who in International Women" in 1996, she was awarded the coveted "Entrepreneur of the Year Award" from the ICONnet Entrepreneurial Group in 1992. She was Director of the Modesto, CA Leads Club in 1993.