I’m about to start a new business and need to get business cards. Would it be appropriate to use the punch-out or pre-designed paper stock I see in the stores?
Congratulations on starting your business! Be sure to visit your local SCORE office to increase your chances of success.
Your stationery, business card, newsletter, proposal, etc., are all part of your sales team. They will often get through the door in an effort to sell your products or services long before you do. If the suit they’re wearing appears to be of inferior quality, so will your business.
The quality of this paper is not sufficient to project the image you’ll want. The more inferior your image, the harder you’ll have to work to prove your value to a potential client.
The paper you dress your business card in says more about your business than you may realize. Quality paper feels good and rich to the touch, much like the fabric in a fine-tailored suit. It speaks to you. Do you want your paper selection to whisper words like: quality, stable, and professional? Or do you want it to shout: cheap, fly-by-night, or smalltime? If it’s the latter, your package will rarely get to the hands of the decision-maker: it won’t get past the gatekeeper.
Design is also crucial to creating an image that shouts success. You should avoid using ClipArt and pre-designed cardstock for the same reasons as choosing good paper. If you can’t afford a professional designer, it’s best to keep your card very simple, using lettering that matches the type of business you’re in (e.g., avoid using a typeface that’s more appropriate for a wedding invitation unless you’re in that or a similar business.)
Making the additional investment of using quality paper and hiring a good designer will put you one step closer to the decision-maker and is a giant step toward building your brand. The difference in the cost becomes negligible when compared to the cost of losing the deal.
P.S. Here is a blog post on creating unforgettable business cards.