Fog Creek Software
Discussion Board




Business Cards in Europe

I realise there's a post on this from a while back (http://discuss.fogcreek.com/joelonsoftware/default.asp?cmd=show&ixPost=58699&ixReplies=16) but I wanted to get some feedback specifically from people in Europe; I've found there's just enough differences in the way things are done from being in Dublin for four months, and I'd rather go about this the right way :)

I started as a one-man shop that had expanded to four or five people back in Canada (but right now it's just me here -- I do hope to grow again:)). I've just got a logo professionally designed and am about to get some business cards done -- what will companies in the UK or perhaps mainland Europe want to see on a card?  Some ideas...

President
Owner
Founder
CEO (seems a tad over the top)
Director of Business Development (a bit long perhaps)
Managing Director

jedidjab79
Wednesday, February 11, 2004

Vice Director
or better
Junior Vice Director

Compuglobalhypermeganet
Wednesday, February 11, 2004

Grand Master of All Knowledge

George
Wednesday, February 11, 2004

There used to be an ad in the Ottawa airport for Lucent or one of the many telecom companies that had 'Grand Poomba' :) Personally I like 'Puppetmaster', but I don't think that'll work ...

jedidjab79
Wednesday, February 11, 2004

If you do consultancy or something similar, I think "Principal Consultant" is good. It gives seniority but keeps focused on the consultancy aspect of the business.

Poncy titles like CEO are pretty meaningless and inappropriate for a small business. Owner is never a good plan, imho.

Steve Jones (UK)
Wednesday, February 11, 2004

"Managing Consultant"

Norrick
Wednesday, February 11, 2004

I currently have Consultant, but I rarely give my card to anyone these days, I don't know if its going out of fashion or whether ubiquitous email has rendered it meaningless.

Simon Lucy
Wednesday, February 11, 2004

Why give yourself a title? You could advertise the company itself instead:

  jedidjab79
  ABZ Inc.
  Tomorrow's Solutions Today!

Christopher Wells
Wednesday, February 11, 2004

Christopher: Hmmm...that's an interesting thought :) I've got a good week or so before the cards will be ready for sending to the printers, so at least I don't have to make a decision right this minute.

jedidjab79
Wednesday, February 11, 2004

I never want to have a job title on a business card. It tends to get people pigeon holing you.

I give someone the card, and tell them that I am the man they need to speak to for XYZ.  Sometimes I am selling, sometimes I am buying.

If you don't want to go the NoTitle route, pick something vague but senior enough to get people to want to talk to you.

I would run with Business Development. Senior Partner works too.

Tapiwa
Wednesday, February 11, 2004

Mine says "Database Jedi"

MR
Wednesday, February 11, 2004

Add proverbs to your business card.

jedidjab79
My Corporation
Laughter is the best medicine.

jedidjab79
My Corporation
Measure twice, cut once.

jedidjab79
My Corporation
Never understimate the power of thinking big.

jedidjab79
My Corporation
=)

jedidjab79
My Corporation
It was getting stuffy in that wallet.

jedidjab79
My Corporation
That's what she said.

jedidjab79
My Corporation
Thank you and come again.

and so on. Don't be afraid to experiment and conduct market research on your business cards by giving different ones out to different groups of people and tracking the results.

Also, one tip that I've kept to myself until now...  A company called CARL makes a little corner rounder, sort of like a one hole punch. It take seconds to do each card (just do the stack you'll put in your breifcase, it won't even take a minute). You can experiment with opposite corners only which is good if you're giving a presentation and the folder assumes your cards have corners or else they'll fall out.

A quick Google turned this up:

http://www.factory-express.com/Paper_Cutters/Cornerounders/cornerounders.html , the first image on the page is what I have.

www.MarkTAW.com
Wednesday, February 11, 2004

OK, I'm in the UK, and here's what I think:

President:

The concept of 'President' is very American -- we don't tend to have things like class presidents in school, so we identify the word with America, and also the office of the President of the USA. So, calling oneself president would be a little like putting 'King' on your business card -- kinda weird.

Owner:

This is truthful and modest, but perhaps suggests that you are a one-man band. There's nothing wrong with it, but maybe it lacks ambition.

Founder:

Good. Truthful. Ambitious. Has gravitas: big solid oak trees have foundations. Castles have foundations.

CEO:

This seems to becoming more common in the UK, but it still has a hint of America to it. If you're a one-man band, you might be perceived as being a bit wanky. You don't have a CFO or CTO, for example.

Director of Business Development:

If you are a one-man band, this implies that you don't have any other skill. Maybe just 'Director'.

Managing Director:

Probably the most common in the UK, but a bit boring, too.

Of all of the above, I like 'Founder' the best. Maybe consider 'Chief Consultant' or 'Executive Consultant', which have implications of both seniority and technical know-how.

C Rose
Wednesday, February 11, 2004


Have you considered multiple cards with different titles?
A card for every occasion! ;-)

John Ridout
Wednesday, February 11, 2004

My cards don't have a title. There seems to be little point - name, email, phone etc and company info is perfectly adequate. I'm part of a two-man band but we both have the same rank/status so there's no need to differentiate.

James Ussher-Smith
Wednesday, February 11, 2004

"Member of Technical Staff"

Norrick
Thursday, February 12, 2004

*  Recent Topics

*  Fog Creek Home