As with all things in life, you only get one chance to make a good first impression. The same applies to your business cards. After 20+ years of collecting salon business cards, I’ve noticed styles, graphics, and wording have definitely changed (remember the term “unisex”?). Though the biggest difference now is due to three wonderful developments we take for granted: e-mail, websites, and cell phones. No business card is complete without this information.

After attending a few nail tech functions recently and collecting cards from the techs who actually remembered to bring them (we’ll talk about that later), I noticed an alarming number of incomplete business cards. Some just had a tech’s first name or her nickname, but no last name. Some had a street address, but no city or state. Others had a phone number, but no area code. A few had the salon’s name, but no street address. Who are these techs that don’t want to be found? Why are they making it so hard for clients to reach them?

The cards with an ink pen line drawn through your obviously old information need to be thrown away and new ones printed up quickly. Even cheap, temporary ones would be a better representation of you and your business. Most everyone has an e-mail account now, so that needs to be on your card, as well as your website. If you can’t afford a website yet, then Facebook and Myspace are free. Plus it’s easy to create a page of your own that’s dedicated to your business. (I’m fairly computer illiterate, yet I managed.) Be sure to put that link onto your business card, too.

When designing your cards, remember not to put black print on top of a dark background and white print on top of a light background. Use a color and font that are easy to read. Don’t use microscopic print that causes the reader eyestrain. You have to make it easy for clients to find you, otherwise they’ll move on to a more readily accessible nail tech. Having all of your contact information on your cards is far more important than graphics, a list of services offered, and cute phrases. If potential clients can’t easily locate you by the information on your business card, then your card is not living up to its purpose — to attract business. Hence the name business card!

Now back to the techs who forgot to carry their business cards, which is bad enough in everyday life, but is an especially egregious mistake when you know you are going to a nail tech function. Get up from wherever you are sitting and go put them in your purse now — unless you are busy driving, flying, or are otherwise in travel mode. Honestly, I can’t imagine leaving the house without clothes or business cards. The only acceptable excuse for leaving without one or the other would be if your house was on fire.

Jill Wright is the owner of Jill Wright Spa for Nails in Bowling Green, Ky.

For reprint and licensing requests for this article, Click here.