Is the business card no longer a good tool for sharing your contact information? Yes – and no. Many people rely solely on their smart phone for keeping up with clients and vendors. But a significant number of your potential clients still rely on that old 2 x 3.5 inch piece of card stock. So it’s worth having a decent card.

Here are a few simple rules to follow:

1. Your name is the most important piece of information. People want to know who you are more than anything else.

2. Your company should be very visible. That’s the second most important bit of info. If you don’t have a company, put down what it is you offer, like “Project Management.”

3. If you have only three pieces of information, make your cell phone number easy to find. And then regularly check your cell phone for messages or keep it turned on and easily accessible.

4. Skip the tagline. How helpful is “Luxury Has an Address”?

5. Leave off your fax number, unless you are a mortgage broker.

6. Above everything else, spend the money to get a decent card! If your card looks cheap, it makes you look cheap.

7. If you can’t afford to hire a decent designer to do custom cards for you, several services provide cards for really low cost. Vistaprint delivers your cards fast, and you will get a lot of cards for the money. Moo cards cost more but provide much nicer designs.

And if you’re curious what my card looks like, contact me and I’ll send you a PDF. Or if you’d like an actual card, I can use the ancient postal service.

Finally, here are five business cards from a recent car dealership exploratory expedition that demonstrate some of my points. They range from very good (VW) to horrible (Ford).