By Chanda Temple
Before you hand your business card to Sherrod Shackelford or LaVon Lewis, make sure the card is truly what you want to say about your company.
If not, be ready for their feedback because the two founders of PDG, a branding and marketing firm based in Atlanta, Ga., are not shy about sizing you and your card up and saying what they like and don’t like about it.
“I don’t know what you are selling,” one of them told an entrepreneur during a recent branding workshop, where attendees provided their business cards for critiques.
By the end of their reviews, the two had dissected how a handful of business owners needed to better brand themselves via a business card, which is, excuse the pun, a major calling card in business. They even told one entrepreneur to scrap his card and start fresh with a new design and content. (His card was too vague about his services.)
Tough words to hear so early on a Thursday morning. But branding is a tough job, no matter the time of day. If you’re not willing to roll with the punches to make improvements for your business brand, you may need to consider doing something else.
“Your brand is designed to be a tool to generate business,” Shackelford said. “If it’s not doing that, go back to the drawing board.”
Here are some of their tips:
- Make networking a business
When you attend at a networking event without any business cards, you send a message that you are not serious. When you step out of your office, you need to be prepared to present a proper business card.
- Don’t miss opportunities to promote your business
Flip over your business card. Is it blank? If so, you are missing a prime spot to promote something about you and your company. If you are a public speaker, for example, list the topics you discuss. Such a list gives potential clients a clearer picture on what they can recruit you for for an event. If you don’t tell them in a card or a website, they are left wondering what you do.
- Include your contact information
This may sound elementary, but many people forget to add their work phone number, cell number, email address or website. When adding a phone number, make sure it works.
- Get social
Social media is a good way to expand your brand by keeping customers and potential customers aware of products, your company and you. Add your social media links to your card. But make sure the content on your social media pages is interesting and consistent. If it isn’t, hire a professional or designate a social media-savvy employee to handle the content. Don’t forget to add LinkedIn, which is a good source for business connections.
- Get comfortable with being uncomfortable
When it comes to branding and you’ve found something’s not working, review it and see what can be changed. Be honest with yourself because you are going to have to get more comfortable with being uncomfortable.
- Personal branding starts with you
Personal branding is all about what people say when you are not around. If it’s bad, it’s time for a makeover. That includes your card, your business, your product and even your employees.
Check out a recent YouTube interview on branding with LaVon Lewis, CEO of PDG: http://youtu.be/jSYfLdviOlU
Follow Lavon on Twitter at @lavonlewis1.
Chanda Temple worked as a reporter for 20 years before becoming a public relations professional. She blogs about being better in business, careers and more at http://www.chandatemplewrites.com. Follow her on Twitter at @chandatemple.