How to make your business card stand out in a crowd
Business cards are an effective marketing strategy and should not be underestimated.
Business cards vary greatly in terms of quality and effectiveness, so making sure that your business card reflects the quality of your brand is essential. Follow our dos and don’ts to business card design and we guarantee that your business card will help your business stand out from the rest.
Business card dos
- Do include your contact information. If an associate receives your business card, they should be able to find your name, company, phone number and your email address easily.
- Do include your job title. Include your job title on the business card if possible, but focus on one main area. If your business card notes that you specialise in plumbing, car mechanics and web design, it is unlikely to inspire confidence that you’re an expert in any of those fields. If you have many areas of expertise, consider printing separate business cards for each one individually.
- Do include a logo. You don’t have much space on a business card, so make sure that your company is instantly recognisable. The quickest way to achieve this will be to include your logo.
- Do create your card to fit your brand. Your business card is a strong marketing tool, and should be given as much care and consideration as the rest of your brand. Business cards can be created in a huge range of shapes, colours and sizes, but if your brand is serious and sophisticated, multi-coloured business cards may not be inappropriate. However if you run a design business, your card could be used creatively to demonstrate your talent and originality.
Business card don’ts
- Don’t print your business cards yourself. (Unless you're a printer!) Others will view your homemade business cards as a reflection of your company, so printing your own business cards on low quality card with perforated edges may not convey the right message. Find a reputable printing firm that can print high quality business cards, as it is relatively inexpensive and can make a huge difference.
- Don’t use unreadable fonts and colours. This may sound like an obvious point, but it is a surprisingly common mistake. Make sure that the font you use is big enough for others to read clearly and avoid using colours that are difficult to make out, for example, grey text on a white background.
- Don’t waste your business card. For smaller businesses, it can be useful to use your business card as an extended form of advertising. Use the back of the card to state what your company does, or what sets it apart from the others.
- Don’t re-use business cards when your details change. If any of your details change, make sure you have new business cards printed. Having details crossed out or appended on to your business card will look very unprofessional.
How does Project Merlin relate to its namesake?
Illustrations from the Nuremberg Chronicle, by Hartmann Schedel (1440-1514) via Wikipedia
The name 'Merlin' derives from the Welsh 'Myrddin', just in case you wondered. I am pretty sure that most of you will be familiar with the name for one of two reasons
1. He was King Arthur’s greatest and most well known advisor and resident magician;
2. The name given to the agreement between the current UK government and the four major high street banks in the UK (Barclays, Lloyds Banking Group, RBS and HSBC) - the agreement being one that covers a number of items including banks bonuses, executive pay and lending, and - most importantly - lending to small businesses.
It’s fair to say that we have been quite critical of Project Merlin and more specifically the amount of lending being given to small businesses. After all, it is the private sector and the growth of new and existing businesses that is supposed to be pulling our economy out of this quagmire of an economic crisis.
Now the reason we have been quite critical is because it has been failing to deliver what it promised and the banks are consistently failing to hit the planned lending targets. In the first half of this year the banks were supposed to lend £38bn, but they only achieved £37.3bn. Now you could say that they did quite well and they almost hit target, but the reality is that the target was heavily negotiated down before the agreement kicked in. It’s going to take all of the money they were targeted to lend, plus lots more, to get the growth we need which in turn should create more jobs.
Let’s face it, no one in their right mind is going to borrow money if the deal isn't attractive and makes no financial sense. Even with the Bank of England base rate still at an all time low of 0.5%, the costs of commercial lending are still high.
It is was with great excitement that I read recently that RBS is actually going to put some effort in in order to do its fair share. It is only reasonable that it does what is needed, after all, we the UK tax payer does own 83%. So what exactly is the Royal Bank of Scotland, which includes Natwest and Coutts, going to do? Three things:
1. Upfront fees are to be waived (which are around the 1.5% mark).
2. Early repayment charges are being dropped.
3. Low fixed rate of interest being offered.
Some might say that this isn’t enough and it is a little bit whiffy, thus the only reason RBS is doing it is because it is massively behind the lending target and it is trying to show effort before it gets a right royal telling off. But at this stage of the game I am inclined to give RBS the benefit of the doubt and a pat on the back for taking some positive action.
In many Arthurian legends Merlin ends up being lured by the devil or some other form of wickedness and ends up turning to the dark side undoing all of the good work he had been striving to achieve. Let’s hope our modern age Merlin doesn't go the same evil way and become nothing but a pertinent reminder of the failings of our banks, our government and our economy.
Use this map to find out how much businesses in your area save on their energy bills with uSwitchforBusiness. (It can take a while to load, so please be patient!)
On average, businesses in Slough and Northampton are overpaying by the most before they come to us; businesses in the two locations save an average of over £1200 when they switch. Nottingham was in third place - the average saving there is over £1000.
At the other end of the scale, businesses from Crewe and Sunderland seem to be the most switched on when it comes to business energy; when it's time for them to renew their contracts they don't tend to be able to find a cheaper deal than the one they're on.
Why are there such differences in the average savings in different towns? The main reason is that business energy suppliers charge different prices in different areas. A second factor could be that some areas are known for a particular kind of business or industry - if that business or industry is more energy-intensive, then it has the potential to make a bigger saving.
Whatever area or industry or area you're in, give us a call to talk about your business energy bills, or get an instant quote with our online business energy comparison.
uSwitchforBusiness.com is going to be at the Great British Business Show at Earl's Court on 17th and 18th November.
Tickets are free (here's how to get your hands on some) and there are some amazing speakers, including James Caan, Will King and David Gold.
We'll be at stand 555 - opposite the Sage networking bar - and if you bring a business energy bill with you, you'll be in with a chance of winning an iPad.
We'll be tweeting throughout the event too at @uSwitchBusiness
5 reasons to visit uSwitchforBusiness.com at Stand 555:
1. You could save £1500.
The average business saves £1500 a year on their business energy with us*. We’ll have our expert staff ready and waiting to get you an estimate and show you how much you could save.
2. It only takes 10 minutes.
For many of our customers it only takes 10 minutes to get a quote and make the switch to a cheaper deal. What else can save you so much money in so little time?
3. You can cut costs without cutting back.
Switching to a cheaper business energy contract has a positive effect on your bottom line without having a negative effect on how you do business. It’s the same electricity; the only difference you’ll notice is lower bills.
4. We’re experts.
We know business energy inside out and we make switching hassle-free. We’re used to every different kind of business and meter, so our expert business advisors will be able to give you tailored advice that’s relevant for your business.
5. We’re free and independent.
We don’t charge for our services and we’re totally independent. We work with all the big energy suppliers you’d expect, and smaller companies you might not have heard of, so you get the benefit of quotes from across the market.
So whether you're an existing customer or you've never used us before, come and say 'hi' and stand 555. And if you want a quote or some advice on your business eenrgy supply, don't forget to bring your bill with you.
*uSwitchforBusiness.com customers saved an average of £1,500 a year by switching supplier, (1.1.10 - 21.5.10)
Is a smart meter a smart choice?
In the news recently was a story written by the Daily Telegraph off of the back of a press release from an energy broker; it raised concerns over the ease with which energy brokers can help business energy customers switch supplier when a smart meter is installed, and also suggested that many business energy customers were switching from smart meters to save money.
A spokesperson for the broker, said of smart metering in the business energy market: “It restricts their switching ability”.
It’s an interesting point, one we have covered before (Pence per kWh or kWh, that is the question) but it is fair to say that we do not entirely agree with this opinion.
In truth, a small minority of customers who were early adopters of smart metering may find that when switching supplier, their new supplier - and more specifically the meter operator they use to collect meter readings - is unable to interact with the specific meter installed for either technical or commercial reasons.
That clearly is not ideal, but in our experience of both energy supply and energy brokerage this is most definitely a minority experience and should not be allowed to overshadow the huge benefits of smart metering.
A few years ago, in anticipation of the potential difficulties for switching, very maturely and collaboratively, the industry got together to find a solution. (That in itself is somewhat unusual in the business energy market!. As a result, the concept of 'inheritor agreements' was established between most of the larger smart meter providers and the energy suppliers, whereby on switching the incoming supplier takes on the responsibility for the smart meter and the customer should, as a result, feel no impact.
But what is of particular interest in the Telegraph article is the concept that ‘switching saves money’. Clearly it does, and clearly using a reputable business energy brokerage will help a business get the best deal in the market. However, that does not always necessarily have to involve switching suppliers or ditching your smart meter.
The two main benefits that smart meters bring are:
- they show you you how much eenrgy you use and help you reduce consumption;
- they ensure you get accurate bills.
In truth the cost savings from using less energy and the cashflow benefit from accurate billing far outweigh any benefit from getting a digit shaved off your pence per kWh for many businesses. If you aren't watching how much energy you are using or how accurate your invoices are a smart meter will make a reall diference. Clearly there will be exceptions to this, but the fundamental point is that the customer would be far better to use a broker to negotiate a better deal from their existing supplier and still receive the benefits of the smart meter than switch away for a marginal headline saving and lose those benefits.
It is important that as brokers we provide the best deal for the customer’s circumstances and if that doesn’t involve switching but does involve improved technology and contract negotiation then that is what we will recommend.
Ultimately technological advancement will change the business energy market for the better for both the environment and the bottom line for business. It takes a shift in attitude from suppliers, regulators and customers, but equally it requires a change in mindset from brokers to make sure they understand the market, the benefits of technology and how businesses can optimise their ability to save money and take control of their energy costs beyond simply switching.
- The draft Energy Bill: a five-minute summary
- 60% increase in business energy costs as average turnover falls by 6%
- Business week in brief: 11th May 2012
- Ed Miliband and the Queen talk energy
- Interview with Steve Fitzsimons of new business energy supplier, Hudson Energy
- Business week in brief: 4th May 2012
- The see saw of corporate profit
- Business week in brief: 27th April 2012
- EDF Energy’s Business Customer Commitments: four key pledges
- Businesses buck the trend when it comes to smaller energy suppliers