Show your face in a new place

It wasn’t that long ago that I decided to act on my entrepreneurial spirit and open a business. One of the first items on the agenda was getting business cards. At the time, I didn’t have the money to hire a graphic artist, so I tried to create business cards on my own.

I spent countless hours fidgeting with the layout, the fonts, the imagery and what to include on the card. Should I put my cell phone number on the card? Does the card look too busy? Should all the information be centered, aligned to the left, or would right justification make me look trendy?

Designing this first business card was a big deal! After all, this was the first impression people would have of me. My entire business would be judged by a 3- by 2-inch piece of paper.

I could have edited for several months. But the reality was, I needed to make the final decisions and just get the cards printed. At the time it, was a large expense for my business to print 1,000 business cards. But I knew that as a new business owner, the cards would become an important tool in growing my business.

As I awaited the delivery of the cards, I imaged holding my brass business card holder with my newly minted business cards resting inside. I was excited the day the package was delivered to my door, but I restrained myself. I frugally handed them out one by one, making sure not to waste them. It took well over a year to go through the first box of cards.

Now, I probably go through about 1,000 business cards every six months. I give them out by the handful, often requesting that people pass the business cards on to someone they know. I leave stacks of cards at events or businesses that allow it. I hand cards out at networking events. I even give cards to relatives. Now, my graphic artist and printer love me!

So what changed?

In the beginning, I was shortsighted. Business cards do nothing if they’re sitting in a box. They need to be circulated, to get into the hands of people.

You’ve probably already learned that lesson, though. And you’ve probably already figured this isn’t a column about business cards.

Like business cards, entrepreneurs can’t build their businesses if they’re stuck inside a box. Just like a business card, you need to get out of your box: your home, cubicle, office, car or any other place in which you hide out and conduct “business.”

Remember that you are your brand. Your brand isn’t visible unless you’re visible in the community. This is about getting out there and meeting new people, making business connections and really working the word-of-mouth networking. You can’t afford to be stingy with your visibility.

Attend an new networking opportunity. Maybe there’s an event that you have been putting off that’s sponsored by the chamber of commerce. Maybe you’ve been delaying attending a meeting of such civic groups as Kiwanis, Lion’s Club or the Rotary. We’d love to have you visit us at one of our local BNI chapter meetings.

Find a new place to show your face and you’ll find that you’ll continue to build your brand locally in ways that can only happen with face-to-face networking.

 

Jennifer Kettlewell has been involved in BNI since 2006 and has been executive director of the Northwest Colorado BNI region since spring of 2010. The largest business networking organization in the world, BNI offers members the opportunity to share ideas, contacts and, most importantly, business referrals. For more information, call 985-4192 or log on to www.WesternSlopeBNI.org.
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Posted by on Mar 9 2011. Filed under Contributors. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

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