craftigem
handmade for fun
Business card and case

I was all excited about my new business venture and had taken the plunge and booked myself on a start-up networking event. Problem was, it was only 4 days away and I had no business cards to speak of…

Okay, I could have gone along and not had any business cards, but by this point I had already spent a lot of time thinking of a name, creating a logo and a couple of brand graphics, and a few strap lines. I had clearly chosen to spend my time on these areas instead of writing a business plan because, let’s face it, business plans are BOOR-RING and creating stuff is way more fun.

  • I do have some semblance of a business plan however, more to come on the key bits I thought about later.

Also, being a bit of a geek, I had created an email address, twitter account and WordPress site by this point so thought it a shame not to get them all down on a card.

  • A couple of people I have spoke to find this geek stuff complicated and a bit intimidating, so more to come later on demystifying computer stuff for fellow start-ups.

So, I had had a go at creating a business card a couple of weeks prior, using a Word template.

Word is not good for business card templates.

For one thing, it lays the individual cards down on the page as if you would want to make each one different, which I guess is possible if you are using cards to showcase your work, but not for me. This made placement of, well, anything, difficult to do if you wanted any degree of uniformity for your cards as I did. Sure, you could make your card once and then copy it but even then placement on the page to get everything perfectly aligned for cutting is difficult. Then there is the mandatory margin placement that just makes it all that much harder to measure and cut afterwards. The templates that come with Word also produce the slightly longer, thinner business cards which I am not too keen on.

I didn’t get as far as even considering how you might print double sided cards before I ditched my attempts and opted to use Publisher instead.

Design once, for one or both sides, in a nice, slightly squatter, 8.5cm x 5.5cm, tell it to duplex print and you get 10 business cards out of an A4 sheet, easy as that!

No really!

So, with the technology sorted, it was down to what information to put on the card, placement of logos and information, fonts, and choosing the card to print them onto.

I’ll walk you through the versions of the business cards I made before talking you through the one I settled on.

Business card first attempt

My first attempt was from the longer, thinner word template, which I decided I wasn’t keen on after cutting. I just printed onto paper first of all rather than waste card just to see what it looked like cut out. Logo of course is important, so I gave it near enough half the space on my business card. I knew my name needed to be on there, but the template suggested job title. This I wasn’t sure about- I mean if you start the business and you are the only one then what are you? I considered owner, creator, director, commissar, but ended up temporarily with Crafty Person as the others seemed weird to me. I wanted a legible font (obviously important) but that was still rounded and natural. I had phone, email, blog and twitter sorted from the geek perspective so stuck all of them on. I chose to use pictures rather than words for my comms methods, really only because I like pictures and the tweety twitter bird especially!

Brown card stock

Next I considered what to print onto. I wanted a look that was natural and said handmade, so I fished out some brown recycled card I had used to make RSVP cards for my wedding invites last year and printed my first attempt. It looks ok – but the colours of my logo I felt were too light for the card really and I’m not changing my logo so I ditched that idea. I finally went for card which had a linen effect (see close-up here). Choosing your print media (fancy terminology) is something I wouldn’t take lightly though. It’s the little touches that make a difference after all!

Business card front and back

And so we come to the final version of my business card! I won’t lie – I spent the best part of the day redesigning from the original word template into publisher and altering fonts and sizes to get to my final card design.

My final important tweaks and thoughts were:

  • Less is more – I shrunk down and top-centred my logo within a margin of around 1cm at the top and each side. White space is your friend.
  • People notice fonts – I wanted a font that is friendly, rounded, natural, crafty, handmade, like me and my business. Choose a font that speaks to you and your customers, do spend time finding it.
  • I ditched the job title – I decided I was happy just being me for the time being.
  • Strap-lines are good – They sum up your business to something that is memorable and has impact. Again less is more here, you want something that packs a punch and says what you are about and what can be expected from you.
  • Pictures are good – I like wool. I drew wool. I have turned it into my easy, square, alternate logo, handy for the reverse of my business card but also comes more in handy for the technology stuff (remember I am writing about that in a future post).

And there we have it! business cards that truly reflect me and my business all ready to go. I am pleased to report they have been really well received, and to prove that those little touches really do make a difference, nearly all the people that have looked at my card have commented on the linen-effect card and what a clever touch it is in reflecting what I am doing. Result! I hope you found this helpful and please check back soon.

two balls of wool chatting

As I am new to starting out in business by myself – and indeed new to blogging – I thought I would start both by talking about an event I have just been to where I learnt about networking and making connections with people – that is an important skill for both, right?

I actually happened upon this event whilst browsing the business start-up pages of the UK government’s website, in particular their business support finder page. You simply put in the details of what kind of business you are looking to run and where you are based and amazingly it provides you with a wealth of support resources that I probably would never have found otherwise.

I found that their setting up page is also a really useful content page of links to get you thinking about the different parts to starting out. Also worth mentioning is the information I was looking for in the first place which led me to their site – protecting intellectual property – a must-know topic for any business but especially for crafty peeps.

See what I did there? Connections! It’s all about the connections.

So, back to the event. The Blue Orchid organisation specialises in business start up support in the North West and news of the events they are holding is generally available here. Though they do not seem to have a lot of events in the future advertised on their site pages, not to be discouraged, I followed one of their past links for an event that looked interesting to their eventbrite booking page and that is much more up to date and choc-full of events. Alternatively, you can call or email them to find out about events, plenty of contact details available on their site!

As another slight aside, I have found eventbrite to be another excellent site for finding events to appeal to all aspects of your life. I feel a whole new world has been opened up to me!

I promptly booked myself onto the 30th April City Library Enterprise Network event, supported by Manchester City Council with Blue Orchid, which promised:

Meet other enterprising people and businesses in your area, share knowledge, and receive expert advice and information from speakers on a range of topics

and in particular for this session:

introduce you to the concepts of Networking so that you will have a clear idea of what it is and what it’s not

Exciting!

I then realised I had no business cards and 4 days to make that happen. I got there, but that journey deserves its own slot, so more to come later on developing business cards.

I went along to the event with a friend of mine, who is also looking to set out for themselves. It can be good to have a familiar face at these events, especially if it’s your first and you are a shy person, as you can face the unknown together, but as soon as I’d met a couple of people it was clear that I was in good company.

Unlike a couple of other events I had been to in the past, these were not the drones of faceless corporations; the hard sellers of hard business; the pompous event organisers who look at you quizzically, trying to understand why it is little, insignificant you that is here and not your boss; these were real people, trying to make a real go of it, exploring their dreams and seizing the day to try and make a difference to themselves and others. These people were My Kinda People.

We got refreshments and settled down to an excellent presentation from Gilli Bruce of  Gilli Bruce Training which was delivered with enthusiasm and a fair bit of audience participation. Some of the key items I took away were:

  • Network with a relationship mindset not a sales mindset
  • Focus on getting people to know, like and trust you
  • Remember that people know people who know people, so it’s worth taking the time with everyone you talk to even if you cannot directly benefit from a product or service they are providing
  • Actively listen and ask follow up questions – people like people who are interested in them
  • When promoting yourself, say something that appeals to each of the main decision making factors we all use –  what you know, what you love and what you do
  • Be your honest and true self

We then had the chance to practice our networking skills for around 45 minutes at the end of the session. It was really refreshing to meet people who were all working for themselves, most of whom were just starting out but a few who had been doing it for a while, and being able to talk about why we are starting out and the ideas and experiences we have had so far.

So,my words of advice are –  if you are um-ing and ah-ing about going to events, are worried that your business idea is not mature enough yet, or you are not sure if you can go and chat with random people who may have certain expectations of you, try to bite the bullet and go to an event designed for start-ups and talk to people in the same position as you. It can really give you a confidence boost and at least enforce your belief that starting out on your own can really happen if you put your mind to it.

I hope  you found my first post interesting and helpful and I’m glad to have made a connection with you!

Check back for more starting-out businessy ramblings as well as crafty posts of my creations as and when I get the chance to design them.