Are Your Cards Cam-Worthy?

I am a bit of a tech geek. I certainly wouldn’t put any true techie to shame but I do love me a new app or shiny gadget that might make my life easier. Balancing home life, networking and building my business (not always in that order) can get hairy. What I’ve discovered is something that might help tame the tangles and smooth out some snarls. I think that’s the end of the hair analogy but you never know.

Being a fairly new entrepreneur and now having to network on behalf of my business, I grossly under assumed the amount of business cards I would collect. And when I say grossly, I’m being generous. This is a good problem to have mind you unless you don’t know what to do with the cards or have to manually enter all those shiny little suckers in to your CRM. I’m learning about the fancy card scanners and computer accessories you can get to help manage this card induced chaos but yesterday I came across an app that has changed my world. CamCar. A nifty little free app that makes managing business cards a breeze.

Essentially what this app does is scan a business card, trim the image for you and then it pulls the info off creating an image in your phone of the card, a contact sheet AND it uploads to your assigned email account. I almost need a cigarette after that little techasm. I’m sure to most of you who are more tech savvy this is old news. I just completely broke my tech ‘cred. BUT to us semi-tech’s this is mind blowing. A way to not only track your cards but electronically share your own business card so if, like what happened to me last night, you run out of cards you can still pass on your info. Fabulous!

So what’s my point? It’s actually not about the app. As exciting as this app is, it’s what I learned about business card design that I’m most eager to share. Now this problem might be just the app I have, but I noticed a few challenges with people’s card design. If you are planning to change your cards any time soon, listen up: these types of apps are getting more popular and are worth taking a look at. If people can’t scan your card due to the design issues I’m going to share, you might be losing out.

Here are some things to consider:

  1. Dark backgrounds: These are hard, if not impossible (as it was for my app), for a card reader to pull off any information and create a contact. It might look cool but it’s hard to read, harder to scan and likely to get lost in someone’s pocket or purse versus the beacon of white that a regular card has.
  2. Text: keep the front of the card for company name, personal name, phone, website and email only. The app is able to pull all of that and put it in to the contact file it creates. Keep the slogan’s, taglines and what we do’s for the back of the card or better yet, create a QR code but still keep it on the back.
  3. Font: for the love off all that is holy stay away from script font on business cards. It’s hard for the regular eye to read at that size never mind a handy dandy card scanner. And too much text and a dark background and you’ve just wasted whatever you paid to have them printed in the first place.
  4. Just Plain Odd: I’m all for being quirky, and I embrace my inner and outer quirkiness on a regular basis, but your business card is not the place to express your quirkiness. If you are selling quirkiness, good on you but plain up your cards for goodness sake. I’m going to guess if you are selling quirkiness, people will figure that out when they meet you. Odd shapes. Fold out corners. Weird graphics. Outside the box placement of text and info. Nope. Don’t do it. I tried. It sucks. People don’t like it. While I don’t normally care what people think, I have to go with the crowd on this one. Especially if you are a solopreneur and plan to keep yourself in the quirky circumstances to which you would like to become accustomed.
  5. Putting Cards in for Draws: This has nothing to do with design but a weird phenomenon I noticed at a networking event recently. People were bending their cards before putting them in the draw box presumably to increase their chances of getting chosen. I have to tell you people, those cards get avoided like the plague. Tacky. Tacky. Tacky.

If you knew all of this already – yeah! Then you aren’t a dark backgrounded, oddly shaped, too much text, bent card holder who has to worry. Contacts will be able to scan you and contact you and bring you business. If, however, you just looked in your card holder and realized that I just described you, then might I suggest to design and print your own or Freelance and get some help fixing the black hole that your cards are probably ending up in. From one networking-card-collecting, business-building, entrepreneur to another, fix your cards. Your business depends on it.

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