SCORE Small Business Blog

Marketing: What Does Your Business Card Say About Your Business?

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.

To get help with your design, try Websites such as,,,   

-Peggy Duncan, SCORE Atlanta
  View more posts by Peggy

I’m a productivity and technology speaker, trainer, author, and consultant. I own The Digital Breakthroughs Institute in Atlanta GA.
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Discussion (3) Comment

  1. Ele FallVisitor

    The paper you dress your business card in says more about your business than you may realize.

    * Eloquantly said. Using a lighter paper or lower quality will probably not stop someone from doing business with you, but having a rich paper will definitely impress and help you stand out.

    ClipArt is not a logo.
    * this one should be repeated 5 times. Your need a professionally designed logo. The designer will give you different formats that you will be able to use on your business cards, letterheads,website, etc…If you do not have time, most providers already offer their print design catalog online.

  2. Peggy DuncanVisitor

    Lisa, you’re so right. I started to mention this in the blog entry but changed my mind. People won’t believe it, but I use VistaPrint. I pay a premium not to have their name on the back, and I pay another premium for top quality paper. I like using them because their site is so organized and easy to submit to. What I don’t like is the upselling they do every time you click to go to another screen. Be careful as you click through all that because you could end up signing up for something you don’t want.

  3. Lisa JeffriesVisitor

    If cost is the deciding factor (or driving the desire to go with homemade biz cards), then just do a quick Google search… there are a lot of VERY inexpensive printing companies and offers out there in the world of business cards!


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