Money Tips

Small Business Owner? How to Get Affordable Business Cards and Make the Most of Them

They’re small, portable – and easy to exchange when networking. But do you have to spend big bucks on business cards? I vote no. To avoid spending a pretty penny on business cards, here are some tips to save money  and put your cards to good use to grow your business.

1. Find stores or websites that offer budget-friendly pricing.

Whether you’re just starting your business or you’re looking to cut costs, consider purchasing business cards from places like Staples or They both have user-friendly sites that often offer promo codes to get a reduced rate on cards that are already inexpensive for small business owners. I recently purchased cards online and had them made conveniently at my local Staples.

Their site has a table with pricing details to quickly compare the features and prices of the cards offered. You can get 250 basic cards for as little as $9.99. I was headed to a conference and was able to stock up last minute. If you’re able to stop in and pick them up, they offer same-day, in-store pickup. is another option for purchasing cost-effective business cards. If you have a few days to plan in advance, you can get rock bottom prices. I saw standard business cards as low as $7.99. Take a look at both sites and see what fits your needs and budget.

2. Choose a matte finish.

While glossy cards look a little more fancy, they tend to cost more. Save by selecting a matte finish. I personally like any finish that allows me to write on the card. I often jot down notes to myself after talking to someone. It helps me remember what we discussed. I can readily do this directly on their card too if it doesn’t have a glossy finish.

3. Only design one side.

Another way to cut costs on business cards is to only put information on one-side of the card. Staples offers 1000 single-sided cards for $19.99. You only get 500 double-sided cards for the same price. So you can get double for your money if you choose the single-sided in that case.

4. Think about putting an image of your face on the business card.

After returning from the Podfest conference and speaking with so many interesting people, it gets tricky to remember names after the event. Everyone leaves with a stack of cards to sort through and it’s hard to remember every person you meet. Including an image makes it easier for people to remember you.

Robyn Sayles, Founder of suggests matching the picture of yourself to your brand. Her brand is all about innovation. Thus, potential clients go to her if they are looking for something outside the box or non-traditional. She explains, “If my picture is me in a navy blue blazer and a soccer mom haircut, I’ve immediately broken my brand.” She also went on to say that if your brand is more traditional, using a selfie taken on a night out as your picture clashes as well. Be sure the photo aligns with the image you want to convey.

5. Prioritize the connection over the card.

No matter how much you spend on your cards, it’s important to follow up with people you connect with afterwards. If they don’t have a need for your products or services, it can’t hurt to nurture a relationship anyway. Though they may never do business with you, they may send you future business down the road.

6. Add a notes section.

This time around, I made a double-sided business card. I included my photo, a quote and a section for taking notes. Whenever someone asked me for my card, I often wrote down something we talked about. In essence, I took notes for them. Having attended different networking events for years, most people don’t do this and it’s easy to forget the details if you don’t write them down right away.

7. Stay social even if people aren’t ready to do business.

Consider putting your social media profiles on your business card. If the person you meet isn’t quite ready to buy or might be looking for your product or service down the road, you can stay on their radar by posting on social media. It could remind them to contact you when the time comes. At least you can stay connected on some level without having to send multiple emails. You can also get to know them better when the time comes to do business together.

Including your social media networks is a modern day way of doing business. Facebook pages are pretty standard for many business owners while Pinterest, Instagram and other platforms are just as useful for certain types of products and services. Just be sure to direct people to the ones where you are active and can engage with them. You don’t want someone to look for you on Twitter if your handle looks like a ghost town.

8. Purchase fewer cards.

Dorethia Kelly of believes you can trim expenses by not printing too many cards. If you meet someone informally that is interested in your products or services, have them type your contact information into their smart phone, refer them to your website or Facebook page. This way, you don’t have to buy too many cards and can still have people contact you. You’ll want to take down their information as well to follow up.  

9. Keep it simple.

Consumer Savings Expert, Andrea Woroch says, “You can increase your spending significantly the more elaborate the design and the higher quality paper you choose.” She also explains that if you choose unique shapes like a square, it will come with a heftier price tag. She adds, “It’s important to carry a card for promotional purposes and while a unique design stands out, the quality of paper won’t change the impression you leave on someone, so don’t waste your money there!” Don’t get enticed by shiny design syndrome when choosing a card. A business card relays contact information. You want to bowl them over with your products and services and not spend unnecessarily when it comes to the business card.

10. Pay more attention to the conversation than the actual card.

While having a professional looking card is important, keep in mind that how you ask for a card from someone or how you hand yours over when you just meet is equally as important. It’s great to have business cards on hand to use as a promotional tool, Vernon Ross, Social Media Strategist and Author of  Master Your Message: The Guide to finding Your Voice in any Situation believes there is a bit of an art form as to how you exchange them. After exchanging pleasantries and finding out more about the person’s work, Ross words his questions carefully and asks, “Do you happen to have a business card?” If they don’t have one, he then asks for an email address to stay in touch. Following up with email gets your foot in the door and gives you permission to contact them and nurture a relationship. He further explained that adding value trumps mastering tactics.


The Bottom Line

After all, handing over your business card is one of the easiest ways to give someone your contact information and establish a professional connection. Use the tips mentioned to spend less when buying them. Also, consider getting your money’s worth by designing them well and having some finesse when exchanging them. If someone doesn’t have a card, you can always connect with them in other ways.

Karen Cordaway

Karen is a Nationally Syndicated Personal Finance Writer who sharpens her skills at US News Money. You can also find her placing clients on podcasts and reading about home office organization, productivity and habits.

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Karen Cordaway

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