12 Tips to Design the Perfect Business Card (2023)


12 Tips to Design the Perfect Business Card (1)

Of the 27,397,260 business cards printed every day, 88% will be thrown out in less than a week. But that doesn’t happen because business cards are ineffective as a marketing medium. In fact, it only takes 2,000 business cards to increase a company’s sales by nearly 3%. That’s a shockingly high return for just one marketing resource. So why do so many cards end up in the garbage?

The fact is, a lot of business cards have crummy designs. No one wants to hold on to something that looks and feels cheap—at least, not for very long. And that means the person whose name is on that card isn’t getting their money’s worth.

But as a designer, you have the power to create an exceptionally unique business card that recipients will hold onto for months (or even years!) Of course, most cards look so much alike, it’s easy to get stuck in a creative rut. You’ll need to break out of the box, which is why we’ve made this step-by-step guide to help you design the perfect business card.

Download this super helpful graphic so you can keep this quick and easy reference nearby while you work. You can also work with a professional graphic designer to create the ultimate business card when you use our business card design services.

Plan ahead

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It’s best to start with a little research so you know what to put on the business card. Talk to your client about their goals and fill out a creative brief. Then, collect templates or real business cards to use for inspiration—you’ll find plenty of online design galleries, like Behance—and examine each one. Which concepts might help you meet your design goals? Which ones won’t?

Before you adopt an idea that you like, think about the rules of design that made it work. A black background looks sophisticated for a lawyer, but for a baker, black is more likely to remind patrons of overcooked pastries. Any idea that won’t meet your client’s needs isn’t worth putting on their business card.

Choose contact information

Once you have a basic concept, set it aside. You need to finalize the card’s message first—starting with contact info. Choosing the right information can be a real challenge because people connect in so many ways. The secret is to learn how your target audience likes to communicate and connect on their level.

Name and title

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Image Credit: Lauren Bailey Design

It’s sad to think that some people actually use business cards with no name anywhere. No-name cards are pretty much useless because prospects want to connect with an actual person, not some anonymous “contact.” A name and job title let people know who your client is and what they do.

You can even spice titles up to make them more unique, so long as you avoid industry jargon and clichés—while you’re at it, go ahead and remove “ninja,” “guru,” and “rock star” from your vocabulary. Something simple like “Lawn Artist” in place of “Landscaper” can do the trick.

Company name and logo

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Image Credit: Whiskey Design

Prospects need to trust not only the cardholder, but the brand the cardholder represents. That’s simple enough if your client is self-employed. When your client works for a company, you can help establish brand trust by emphasizing the business’s name and logo.


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Image Credit: Nathaniel Cooper and Jordan Gray

Phone numbers are extremely important. Believe it or not, some people still prefer talking on the phone because it’s more personal than a website and less likely to be misinterpreted than an email.

If you’re dealing with multiple numbers, be sure to label which number is which. You’ll also probably want to avoid including any personal, non-business numbers (unless the client’s friends and family are the target audience).

Email and URL

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Image Credit: Akula Kreative

Most people pair email and web addresses together. That way, prospects can either contact your client directly or explore their website on their own.

As with phone numbers, only use your client’s professional email address, not a personal address that they only use with friends and family, so the card doesn’t come across as too casual.

You may want to link to a blog, video, or about page that “introduces” prospects to your client. Just make sure the URL isn’t too complicated. You can use a custom URL shortener like Bitly to make the address easy to read and remember.

Social media

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Image Credit: Riverpixels Studio

It’s a good rule of thumb to only promote the social media presence that’s most relevant to your client’s brand. Choosing which social profile to include is a complicated process, so be sure to consider the nature of your client’s business. If they’re a no-nonsense stockbroker, Instagram probably isn’t the best choice.

(Video) Designing a Business Card | Paola Kassa

You’ll also want to avoid these common mistakes when including social media in print designs.

QR code

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Image Credit: Atzar

QR codes occupy a lot of space, but they’re still the most efficient way to link printed and online materials together. They’re visually cleaner than URLs, making them the perfect combination of professional and casual. You can link them to a client’s website, or you can use them in other creative ways. For example, audible nametags (ANTs) let prospects scan the QR code and learn how to pronounce your client’s name.


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Image Credit: Stitch Design Co.

Would you wear a parka in the Bahamas? Of course not. It’s unnecessary and bulky—just like a physical address on a card for someone who only works online. When your client has a strong web presence, you can skip the address to save space. Only include it when your client relies on in-store visitors.


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Image Credit: ModLao

Suppose your client does need an address after all. Instead of worrying about how much space it’s occupying, why not go all out and put a map on the back of the card? This is simple enough to do with Google Maps, so long as you include a copyright attribution. You can also create a map from scratch in Illustrator, which is useful for controlling the amount of detail it includes.

How to Make a Map on a Business Card

Add supportive text

Contact info is the main part of a business card’s message, but a card that only informs people how to contact you isn’t very compelling. Your next step is telling the audience why they should contact your client. That usually means a tagline or a call to action.

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Image Credit: Lumo Design Co.

Taglines are an easy way to instantly inform people about who your client is and what they do, like a clarifier. For instance, the owners of a bakery with a generic name like Sarah’s might use a tagline like “The Friendliest Bakery in Town” to set themselves apart.

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Image Credit: Design Ranch

A call to action, on the other hand, is a command. It gives prospects a clear next step, like “Call and get a free quote!” or “Visit our website!” Your call to action might even be in the form of a promotional offer, allowing customers to take the card to your client’s store and redeem it for discounts or free samples (with your client’s permission, of course). Only include one call to action, though; consumers respond best when they’re given just one thing to do.

Add photos or illustrations

Adding photos to a business card lets you express certain things that words can’t. For instance, you might use a photographic background to showcase examples of your client’s work or a portrait to remind prospects who the cardholder is.

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Image Credit: Moo.com

Portraits are especially effective because they let people match your client’s name to the person they met earlier, making it an easy way to refresh their memory when they come across the card later. Just make sure the photo is appropriate. Quirky is cute; duck-faced selfies aren’t.

If your client doesn’t like the idea of putting their own photo on a business card, you can still create a unique visual effect with an illustration. Maybe that’s a cartoon caricature of your client (ask first) or a realistic sketch of their product. The sky’s the limit, and a good illustration is guaranteed to stand out.

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(Video) Business Card Strategy - SplashU Small Business Tips - #12

Image Credit: Shyama Golden

Choose a material

You’ve heard the saying, “The medium is the message.” How you present your client’s information is every bit as important as the information itself. To stand out, you may want to opt for something more unconventional than cheap, flimsy paper. Just make sure the material you select is actually related to your client’s company before you start designing beef jerky business cards (yes, that’s a thing).

High-quality paper

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Image Credit: Hidden Creative

One potential drawback with unconventional materials is that you lose a lot of practicality and professionalism, while classic paper is more comforting and expected. If your client wants to stick with a traditional paper card, suggest that they invest in sturdy paper—between 14-point and 24-point—so their card won’t look cheap or tear easily.

Recycled paper

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Image Credit: Greenprinter

Recycled paper is a great way to reinforce an eco-friendly client’s message. But even if they’re not “green,” this option is still worth mentioning. People throw out more than 9 billion business cards every year, and printing on recycled paper helps reduce this waste. It won’t just help your client’s image; it’ll help the planet.

Textured materials

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Image Credit: Mackey Saturday

Paper can be textured through embossing or a unique stock, but imagine how surprised someone would be to receive a business card made out of quilted leather, wood, or even sandpaper. It sounds weird, but texture creates a whole new experience. Engaging more than one sense makes the card—and its owner—easier to remember.


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Image Credit: Rethink Canada

Metal is durable and attention-grabbing, but it’s also expensive. You can offset the cost by designing a card people can use for years. A miniature tool, kitchen utensil, or magnet are all practical items that are easy to emblazon with your client’s contact info—and dual-purpose cards are much more likely to survive than paper ones.


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Image Credit: Meat Cards

Why not thrive on the idea that the card is destined to disappear? Let the customer eat it instead of simply throwing it away. Edible cards may not have a long lifespan, but they’re certainly hard to forget.

Treats like chocolate and beef jerky seem to work especially well; they’ll keep for a while and are popular snacks. For foods that aren’t print-friendly, you may want to attach a business card to a sample package instead. Or, print the business card on a candy wrapper and seal a tasty treat inside.

Shape your business card

No matter where you go in the world, business cards are almost always rectangular. The standard size in the U.S. is a 3.5x2 inch horizontal rectangle. But why stay stuck in a rut? Ditch old standards for something fresh and creative.

A die-cut card can take any shape your client wants—whether that’s a circle, a giraffe, a car’s head gasket, or something else entirely. Die-cutting also lets you put holes in the middle of a card to create an interactive or stencil design.

3D designs go a step further. At this point, you’re not really designing a card anymore—you’re creating a small object (say, a miniature wrench or a tiny toilet plunger) with your client’s contact info on it. And that’s awesome, because it will stand out no matter where your client goes, with very little chance it will end up in the trash.

Of course, shaped business cards come with their own set of problems. Bulky or unusual shapes are inconvenient—it’s not like they’ll fit in a pocket or wallet. Think about whether the benefits are worth the risk before you start creating random shapes.

Here’s a tip: to add a little shape without being too wacky, round the card’s corners. On top of giving the card an interesting look, this will help to prevent dog-earing and natural wear-and-tear.

Choose an imprint method

To a large extent, the type of material you choose will dictate your imprint options; you wouldn’t want to print non-edible ink on a piece of beef jerky, obviously. Unusual mediums like meat and metal can typically only be imprinted in a single way, but printing on paper opens you up to several different options, ranging from colorful ink to shiny, metallic foil.

PMS printing

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Image Credit: Emanuele Cecini

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PMS stands for the Pantone Matching System, which is based on over a thousand standardized ink colors. PMS inks are pre-mixed to match those color values, making this an excellent choice when you need to match an existing logo or color scheme as closely as possible. PMS also gives you the option of using colors that CMYK can’t handle as well (like orange and navy blue), along with specialty inks (like neon and metallic).

Four-color (CMYK) printing

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Image Credit: Mario Rayz

Four-color process is also known as CMYK because each ink color is formed from a combination of cyan, magenta, yellow, and black (also known as “key”). That gives you access to a full spectrum of color instead of just specific hues. If you want your business card to incorporate full-color photography or a design that contains four or more colors, this is your best option.

Foil stamping

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Image Credit: Primo Press

With this method, your card is stamped with sleek, smooth foil in your choice of color. Both metallic and non-metallic foils are available, so you don’t necessarily need to use shiny gold or silver; you might go with a smooth matte red, instead.


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Image Credit: Studio On Fire

Your design is physically raised (embossed) or recessed (debossed) into the business card’s stock. This technique is often used in combination with other methods; for example, an embossed foil effect suggests elegance and class. Be careful when embossing text; if the words are too small or if you don’t use ink or foil to accentuate them, they won’t be readable.

Choose a coating

A coating is a film or sealant that enhances your card’s durability and appearance. Coatings are often called “finishes” because they’re applied after the project is printed. But since they can have a huge effect on the look and feel of the final design, it’s never a bad idea to plan ahead.

If you’re using an imprint method with an element of texture (such as embossing or foil stamping), you’ll probably want to avoid using any coatings so you won’t diminish that effect.


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Image Credit: Sync Media

Aqueous coatings are water-based and eco-friendly, offering basic protection against scuffs and fingerprints. Depending on what printer you work with, you might have several types of aqueous coatings to choose from. Different coatings provide different levels of shininess, ranging from high reflectivity (gloss) to no shine at all (matte).


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Image Credit: Japan Print

This option is usually a bit more expensive, but it grants your card heavy-duty protection against spills, rips, and other damage. Laminated cards last longer, so your client should be able to get more use out of them.


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Image Credit: Halo Design Studios

Ultraviolet (UV) coating won’t do much to improve your business card’s durability, but it will add a great deal of reflectivity—even more than aqueous gloss. UV coating also helps bring out the colors in a design; bright business cards will really pop with this technique.


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Image Credit: Chilli Design

You don’t necessarily need to coat the entire card, or even use just one type of coating. Spot coatings let you apply a finish to a specific area of the business card. This is especially popular with UV coating, which you can use to draw attention to the text or logo on a card by making it extra shiny.

Choose a color scheme

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Image Credit: Business Card Journal

Color is extremely important to your design, especially considering that people keep colorful business cards ten times longer than standard black-and-white ones. The best colors for business cards are black backgrounds or pops of red because they stand out the most. That said, the colors that grab the most attention won’t always match your client’s needs.

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If your client already has a corporate color scheme that they use for their other branded materials, more power to you. If not, you’ll need to design a whole new palette to suit your client. Stop at two or three colors, though—anything more is too distracting.

Make sure the colors you choose match the goals you discussed with your client at the beginning of the project. Don’t just pick colors that you think look nice. This business card is an extension of your client’s personality—not yours.

Select typography

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Image Credit: I. Farid

Finding the right combination of typefaces can be a challenge. It’s usually best to limit yourself to two or three fonts—like colors, too many fonts can be distracting. Consider pairing a neat, easy-to-read serif or sans serif with a decorative font. That way, you’re adding personality to your client’s name, but the contact info stays readable.

You can also create hierarchy with type size, with the most important elements—like your client’s name and website—being larger. Your ideal font size will depend on the card’s layout and the amount of text you include, but always use at least an 8-point font so people can read the card easily. Here are the best fonts for print design.

Lay it out

Now you have all of the elements you need for your business card design. So how on earth do you put them together? You want a layout that’s easy to read, but you also have to make a lot of information fit a small space.

Start by creating hierarchy with size. The more important an item, the bigger it should be. Items of equal importance should be similar sizes and placed physically near each other. Make your focal point—usually the name or logo—the largest element, occupying at least ¼ of the design.

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Image Credit: Japan Print

As you establish hierarchy, you’ll start to see whether or not your design is too cluttered. White space is a good measuring tool for this; each element should have an area that is all its own. If your design doesn’t have any white space, you probably need to cull something out—or at the very least, use the back of the card.

Some people say the back of the card should stay blank so prospects can write notes on it. But no one is going to write on the back of the card if the front is too crowded to read. Moving contact info to the back is especially wise if you have a cool photo, illustration, or logo you want to showcase on the front.

Let’s say you’ve tried creating hierarchy, using white space, and moving info to the back, and your design is still squished together like sardines in a can. You may need a fresh perspective, such as a vertical layout instead of horizontal. The new point of view may spark your creativity.

Or, do a radical overhaul. Pick the five most vital items. Then, cut everything else. Yep, everything. You’ll be amazed how much neater the design will look. (Your client may need some time to accept this idea, but most will like the new, cleaner design.)

Prep for printing

Contrary to popular belief, a successful print run isn’t just the printer’s responsibility. As a designer, you have the power to make the process much smoother. Communicate with the printer and prepare the business card artwork for optimal printing—especially when designing for yourself or for inexperienced clients.

Bleeds, borders and safe areas

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Small inconsistencies can occur when products are die cut after they’ve been printed. It’s not noticeable in most cases, but it sticks out like a sore thumb on a small product, where one wrong cut can ruin a whole design. Protect your design by including at least a 3mm bleed area. To be doubly safe, make sure all elements are inside a “safe area”—usually 5mm from the edge of the card—and avoid the use of borders, which are likely to be lopped off unevenly.

Color, resolution and extension

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For the best print results, create optimal design conditions. Check that you’re using CMYK or PMS colorsnot RGB. Then, make sure your resolution is set to a minimum of 300ppi. (Any lower, and you’ll end up with a fuzzy business card.)

Last but not least, save your design. We suggest saving as a PDF, unless your printer says otherwise. PDFs are easier to access and usually clearer than a JPG or PNG.


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If you ignore everything else we say, at least hear this: proofread your design. One typo can render a business card entirely useless—meaning you and your client just wasted a lot of time and money. Always, always review your typography, formatting, and artwork.

No “freebies”

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Image Credit: Giallo

If your client finds someplace that offers “free printing,” be wary. It sounds too good to be true—because it is. The print job may be free, but the back of the card will become a mini-billboard for the printer’s ads. Promoting another company on their own business card makes your client look cheap and unprofessional.

If they want to save money, suggest that they order more cards. Most of a printer’s costs come from set-up expenses, so the more cards your client orders at once, the lower the cost per card.

Download and share this business card cheat sheet

Click the image below to view it full-size.

Design is all in the details…but it can be pretty hard to remember those details when you’ve seen so many of them. We’ve created this free downloadable resource for you to keep at your side while you’re working on your amazing new business card.

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This work by Company Folders, Inc. is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.

(Video) How to Design a Business Card | Graphic Design Tips from PrintPlace.com

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One last thought

One of the best parts of your job as a designer is that you can rock people’s expectations. Instead of the same old boring designs, you can create a totally unconventional business card that people will want to hold onto for years. That sort of card isn’t just an investment in the business it represents. It isn’t just an extension of the cardholder’s personality. A truly phenomenal business card is one that starts a conversation—and keeps it going. Check out our business card printing services and get started today.

Have questions about how to design a business card? Have design tips or an example of an exceptional business card? Share it all in the comments!


What are 5 tips to designing a business card? ›

5 Tips for Designing an Effective Business Card
  1. Keep it simple. When designing a business card, it's easy to go overboard with ideas. ...
  2. Use a bold design. While keeping it simple, don't be afraid to also use a bold design. ...
  3. Have a large logo. ...
  4. Include the essentials. ...
  5. Make it legible.
10 Dec 2018

What should be on a business card design? ›

Aside from your name and job title, add your business name, telephone number, website, email address, and social media handles. Make sure you include all of this information on your business card so customers can easily contact you the way they feel most comfortable.

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  • Get organized.
2 Dec 2019

What makes an attractive business card? ›

What should a good business card have on it? Less is often more, but you'll want to include basic details such as your name, contact details, logo, and a job title or short description of what you do. A call to action and slogan may be helpful, too, but don't overload the card with too much copy.

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What are the 13 things list that a business plan should have? ›

As is the case with most big projects, crafting a business plan is one of those things that takes an incredible amount of diligence and no shortage of courage.
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  • Market Overview. ...
  • Product (How it Works) ...
  • Revenue Model. ...
  • Operating Model. ...
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How can I make my business card stand out? ›

Creative Ways to Stand Out With Your Business Card
  1. Use a unique material. There are a million different types of paper out there, and yet most business cards use your standard white card stock. ...
  2. Add some color. Look at different colors, too! ...
  3. Create texture through technique. ...
  4. Try a different shape or dimension. ...
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'” There they are. Three Keys for Career Success: communication, confidence, and character.

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10 fundamental business principles
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Based on Reznick's years of experience helping businesses grow from the inside, here are 10 secrets of successful entrepreneurs for achieving growth even in a poor economy:
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13 Dec 2021

What is the best color for business cards? ›

The best colors for business cards are black backgrounds or pops of red because they stand out the most. That said, the colors that grab the most attention won't always match your client's needs. If your client already has a corporate color scheme that they use for their other branded materials, more power to you.

Do business cards look better glossy or matte? ›

Glossy business cards tend to be more customer favorite than matte cards. The reasoning behind this is that a glossy finish offers the card extra protection from damage and leads to a beautiful appearance. Glossy paper is also loved because it looks polished and elegant.

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Using things you can find in your desk.
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  • Establish a Location (Physical and Online) ...
  • Develop a Marketing Plan. ...
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What's normally on a business card? ›

Every business card should include your name, the company name and contact information. The primary purpose of your business card is to help people remember you and to be able to contact you when needed. Contact information can include your phone number, mailing address, physical address and email address.

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11 Key Elements of a Good Business Plan
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4 key elements of a successful business
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What are 3 key features of a business plan? ›

Main Components of a Business Plan
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  • Business description and structure. This is where you explain why you're in business and what you're selling. ...
  • Market research and strategies. ...
  • Management and personnel. ...
  • Financial documents.

What are the 5 main business objectives? ›

The five key business performance objectives for any organization include quality, speed, dependability, flexibility, and cost. When it comes to business performance objectives you're likely aware that efficiency and productivity are crucial.

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  • Get Organized. To achieve business success you need to be organized. ...
  • Keep Detailed Records. All successful businesses keep detailed records. ...
  • Analyze Your Competition. Competition breeds the best results. ...
  • Understand the Risks and Rewards. ...
  • Be Creative. ...
  • Stay Focused. ...
  • Prepare to Make Sacrifices. ...
  • Provide Great Service.

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To get external financing, an entrepreneur's plan must pass three tests with potential lenders and investors: (1) the reality test, (2) the competitive test, and (3) the value test.

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Why will the business succeed? What do you want to start (or change)? How much money is required?

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Several recurrent trends are appearing for interiors in 2022. Some of the most popular elements include curves and arches, the return of herringbone flooring, and bringing nature indoors through color and plants.

What is the color of the year 2022 for business? ›

The Color of the Year for 2022 is PANTONE 17-3938 Very Peri. As described by Pantone, it's a new pantone color whose courageous presence encourages personal inventiveness and creativity.

Are 2022 business cards still relevant? ›

Business cards are still relevant for another simple reason - they are targeted. Not only do they share your contact information but they can also give a quick shot of info on your business. If someone asks what you do, a business card is a reliable and simple way to show them.

How many colors should a business card have? ›

Stay with a maximum of 3-4 colors. Pull colors from your logo for other background elements and type colors. Do match color tones. If you have bright colors in your image or logo, use black or other bright colors that work with it.

What are some unique business card ideas? ›

Here are 30+ business card designs that will give you plenty of inspiration to create your own cool business cards.
  • Cheese Shop's Grater Card.
  • Butcher's Cleaver Cards.
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  • Pilates Studio's Flexible Figure Cards.
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  • Accountant's Statistics Card.
4 Sept 2019

How do business cards attract customers? ›

4 Smart Tricks to Attract New Clients With Your Business Cards
  1. Mail your cards and resumé to potential clients.
  2. Add your cards to your product packaging.
  3. Take advantage of special days and holiday seasons.
  4. Place cards on community bulletin boards.
28 Feb 2018

What makes an effective greeting card? ›

Bold color palettes, striking fonts, and visually appealing design elements definitely help a card stand out. Keeping in mind that much of our advice stems from putting yourself in the card-buyers' shoes, we do encourage a bit of experimentation.

How can I make my business more effective? ›

10 Tips to Improve Business Efficiency
  1. Automate whatever tasks you can. ...
  2. Encourage your employees to chat face-to-face. ...
  3. Limit interruptions. ...
  4. Hold a daily, 10-minute company meeting. ...
  5. “Single-task” to get more done. ...
  6. Discourage “Got a minute?” meetings. ...
  7. Stick with the established process. ...
  8. Use a task management software.

How do I make my business card Unforgettable? ›

5 Things You Can Do To Make Your Business Card More Unforgettable
  1. Use White as Your Card's Background Color. ...
  2. Don't Include Too Much Information. ...
  3. Use Your Photo. ...
  4. Spend More on Quality. ...
  5. Consider Professional Help.
4 Oct 2018

What 4 key points should we include in the greeting? ›

Listening is one of the most important skills you can have.
Try these top tips for greeting someone new at work.
  • Stand Up. ...
  • Look 'Em in the Eye. ...
  • Smile (and the World Smiles With You) ...
  • Take the Initiative With a Handshake. ...
  • Say Who You Are.
19 Feb 2018

What are the characteristics of cards? ›

  • Cards are small, easily portable, and visually attractive.
  • Cards easily lend themselves to the development of many different games, and variations within given games, suited to different skills and temperaments.
  • Suitable games can be found for any specific number of players from one to a dozen.

What are the 5 keys of business success? ›

Business Matters: 5 keys to success
  • Create a market-fit product. It sounds so straightforward, however, I see plenty of entrepreneurs starting their businesses without having a good product. ...
  • Focus on what's important. ...
  • Develop your leadership skills. ...
  • Look after your customer. ...
  • Find time to think.
14 Jun 2021

What are the 3 most important things in business? ›

No matter how bold or ambitious your plans are to grow your business, the key to your business's success lies in three critical, interdependent components: operational excellence, customer relations/communications and financial management.

What is the biggest key to success for a small business? ›

Remain Accountable for Achieving Your Goals. A big key to achieving small business success is remaining accountable for achieving your goals. That means YOU need to take responsibility for accomplishing your goals and for your own mistakes.

What makes a business stronger? ›

Customer service and customer experience are major focuses of the most successful businesses. The first step is creating products and services that customers want. But focusing on customers goes beyond your products. Customers are tired of dealing with companies through phone menus and automated chat bots.

What are the 6 simplest and most effective way before you start a business? ›

The key to a successful small business, especially in the startup phase, is to keep things simple and costs low.
Write a one-page business plan.
  • Define your vision. ...
  • Define your mission. ...
  • Define your objectives. ...
  • Outline your basic strategies. ...
  • Write a simple action plan.
19 Feb 2019


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