Wednesday, March 27, 2013
An elevator is a device used for transporting persons, luggage and goods between different floors of multi-storied buildings. Of the various types of elevators available, commercial elevators are the powerful ones and find a wide range of applications in healthcare centers, shopping malls, multiplexes and small scale industries.
Commercial elevators are of hydraulic or electrical types and are available in varying lifting capacities ranging from 1,000 lb to 6,000 lb. Hydraulic elevators that travel 8 floors or less can reach speeds upto 200 ft/min. In the case of electric elevator it is 500 ft/min. Acceciblity equipments that travel above ten floors have speeds ranging from 500 ft/min to 2000ft/min. Hydraulic elevators are commonly used in buildings having 2-8 floors.
Safety Measures in Commercial Elevators
Most commercial elevators are incorporated with excellent safety and security features. Alarm button is provided as a safety measure for signalling outsiders whenever the elevator is in trouble or when the lift gets trapped. An alarm is also triggered when the accissibility equipments are stopped for a long time.
Switches are provided to control the ventilation fan and light in the elevator. Some accessibility equipments are provided with telephone for the passenger to use in case of emergency. Commercial elevators can also be controlled from outside using the up and down button in each floor and all controls are so user friendly that passengers can use them even in the absence of an elevator operator.
For commercial lifts designed to carry freights, stop switch is provided to hold the elevator doors open, for loading and unloading. Open/close buttons are used to instruct the elevator for opening and closing the doors.
Choose from a Wide Range of Elevator Models
There are many branded companies that provide different models of commercial elevators with varying features. ThyssenKrupp Access, Savaria Concord and Federal Elevator are some of the world class elevator manufacturers. These companies have nationwide dealers. These dealers provide you with necessary assistance for quality installation and maintenance of your elevator. Always rely on branded elevators for long lasting and trouble free use.
Founded in 1988 and with its headquarters in Ontario, Canada, Federal Elevator is a leading manufacturer of accessibility products in Canada and the US; it is also one of the fastest growing elevator companies in the world. One of the highly acclaimed products from Federal Elevator in the residential elevator category is the Panorama residential elevator. With the increasing need of having highly efficient elevators for serving the aged and the disabled, Federal Elevator's Panorama residential elevator can prove to be highly beneficial to clients.
The Panorama elevator from Federal elevator maintains high standards in quality with lots of exceptional features being incorporated in the model. All features provided in the model are aimed at ensuring a smooth and comfortable ride for its users, along with keeping the whole unit free from all kind of troubles and maintenance issues.
Some of the features provided in the Panorama residential elevator include:
o 1000 lbs load carrying capacity
o Standard platform size of 36" x 48"
o Maximum speed of 50 fpm
o Key switch arrangement to shut elevators off during landing
o Stainless steel control panel
Passenger safety is given top priority by Federal elevators and the safety measures implemented are of the same standards provided in commercial elevators. The Panorama residential elevator has its own car control station with emergency stop buttons for user convenience. The emergency light and alarm activation implemented can immensely help passengers when normal power supply is off and the emergency lowering power supply system can safely land the elevator on to its platform whenever regular power fails.
A lot of customization options are offered in these Panorama residential elevators. The components which can be customized include interior cab finishing, car enclosure, arrival gongs and lights, floorings with carpet and rubber options and voice activated controls, to mention a few. The options for customizing car gates include manual or powered accordion folding, manual black scissor and bi-folding types. The optional platform configurations include the 90 degree side opening as well as three side openings.
Federal elevator offers one year company warranty for replacements of all defective parts for its Panorama residential elevators. With authorized elevator service centers operating throughout the US and Canada, getting your Panorama elevator serviced is even easier. With company trained technicians in service centers offering onsite and offsite servicing for federal elevators, clients can get their panorama residential elevators serviced in an efficient and time bound manner.
Thus to experience more freedom of movement in your residential apartment, Federal Elevator's Panorama residential elevator is the best suited product. With one of these accessibility products installed in your home, you and your family can enjoy an improved way of life.
Elevators are devices that are used to carry goods and supplies between floors. The earliest notation of an elevator dates back to 200 BC and is accredited to a Roman architect named Vitruvius. Elevators would continue to be used for thousands of years by people to move goods between floors.
While elevators were used for many thousands of years, the first passenger elevator was not invented until the middle of the nineteenth century. Prior to this the elevators were really dumbwaiters. The usually consisted of a simple rope hoist system. These dumbwaiters were powered by people, animals, or water.
One of the first major developments in regard to elevator technology occurred towards the end of the eighteenth century. A Russian inventor, named Ivan Kulibin , developed an elevator that used a screw drive system instead of a hoist. Kulibin's elevator would be installed in Winter Palace and several years later another Kulibin elevator would be installed in Arkhangelskoye, which is a suburb of Moscow.
While there are many documented uses of the elevator, the first passenger elevator would not be seen until 1884, when a very talented inventor named Elisha Otis unveiled the worlds first safety elevator. Otis led a very interesting life and was a talented mechanic. While overseeing the construction of a new factory, he invented a way to stop a rope hoist from falling if the rope broke.
After the building of the factory was complete, he was set to go mine gold in California, when he began to receive many questions about his elevator. Seeing a market for this device, he started his own company that was aimed at providing commercial dumbwaiters to businesses. In 1854, Otis unveiled the first passenger elevator, which incorporated a new safety design to protect against cable failure. His design is the basis for the safety system that is used on today's elevators.
Otis's first safety elevator was showcased at Crystal Palace, which was a building located in New York. The Crystal Palace was built as a place for people from around the world to meet and showcase their designs. He quickly received an order for his elevator and the first permanent passenger elevator was installed several years later in 1857. The safety elevator was not Otis's only contribution to elevator technology. He also developed a steam powered elevator in 1861. This elevator was unique because it contained its own steam generator, so even businesses that had no power source could use the elevator.
Otis died shortly after receiving his patent for the steam elevator, but his two sons took over his business. They were much like their fathers in that they were very mechanically inclined and continued to help steer the elevator industry.
Today the Otis Elevator is known world wide and holds over twenty percent of the elevator market. Their elevators can be seen in almost 1.25 million buildings all over the world and they employ almost seventy thousand employees.
The elevator has come a long way since the early dumbwaiter and its history is very interesting.
What Is An Elevator Speech?
If you're in business, looking for a job, of even if you socialize a lot, having an "elevator speech" is an essential resource to have in your professional or personal tool box.
For those who are not familiar with the concept, let's start with an elevator speech definition:
An elevator speech (or 30 second intro) is a short, persuasive description of a person, organization or group, or an idea for a product, service, or project.
It is a sound bite that details your professional or personal story, which should be prepared well in advance before you need it. This sound bite is a short well-crafted statement that should be concise but detailed enough to inform a potential business prospect, employer or anyone else you come into contact with about yourself, your business, your products or services, or your organization, preferably in the amount of time it takes to ride in an elevator.
An elevator speech, therefore, should be short, to the point and grab your listener's attention by saying a lot in very few words, yet leave your audience wanting to know more.
A good elevator speech can be as short as 3 to 4 short sentences, about 50-100 words and take less than 30 seconds to deliver, or, as we will see a little later in this article, it can even be longer than 30 seconds. One minute and 2 minute elevator speeches can also be used in appropriate situations.
According to Wikipedia, an elevator speech is an overview of an idea for a product, service, or project. A good elevator speech is short but packed with information that is memorable, original, and personal.
In business, the elevator speech is a powerful sales tool for just about everyone. It will create great relationships and bring in more sales. Those who know how to use it effectively, would most likely agree that it is as essential nowadays as using a business card.
In your personal and social life, a prepared intro speech can be useful as a way of getting a job interview, or providing a quick introduction to any topic you want to pursue further with others in conversation.
Ultimately, the elevator speech is your 7 - 30 second response to the question, "so what do you do?" and the answer should be effective enough to introduce yourself and get your point across to a complete stranger in the time it would take for you to share a ride in a lift.
The Purpose Of An Elevator Speech
One of the great benefits of an elevator speech is that it helps you think attentively, creatively and intently about yourself, your job history or business, and your goals. It helps you to organize the information inside your head and crystallize your communication with others.
I first came across the concept of "elevator speeches" and the necessity of having them readily available many years ago, when I joined a network marketing company with no previous experience in business, sales or presenting.
The dilemma that most newcomers to network marketing experience when trying to grow their business, is whether to lead conversations with people they meet with the product or the business opportunity. In other words, if someone asks you what you do and you talk to them about your products (e.g. "I market a terrific nutritional supplement, blah blah blah..."), then you are steering the conversation towards a retail sale. If you lead with the business opportunity, however, (e.g. "I train motivated people on ways to build a profitable home based business, etc...") then you are qualifying people for your business as a potential new recruit.
Having a couple of elevator speeches ready and knowing when to apply each type, therefore, was a valuable lesson I gained during my network marketing years.
Although I am no longer involved in the direct selling industry, the elevator speech is just as vital today in my professional and business life, as it was when I was trying to build a distributor organization many years ago.
Today, elevator speeches are more often used at networking events than in actual elevators, but the purpose is the same. Having a scripted mini-speech when searching for a job lead enables you to provide succinct information to the network of people around you so they know exactly what you are looking for and can help you find it. These short-to-the-point intros are also appropriate to use when following up on referrals or leads.
Let's take a look a little more deeply, then, at the purpose of creating and using an elevator speech.
A really good elevator speech should help you create opportunities to pursue new business, new job offers, or new social contacts.
The purpose of your elevator speech should be to help you start a conversation with one or more people and get their permission to continue it. A good elevator speech will immediately grab your listener's attention by saying a lot in very few words and then leave your audience wanting to know more.
Instead of disengaging your prospect's attention, a properly delivered elevator speech should create a positive response and lead to a positive result. It should get people interested enough to continue talking about you, your product or your business, or make them want to call you again to understand more of what you're all about.
How To Write An Elevator Speech
Your elevator speech should not be your organization's mission statement, or your resume. Also, one of the most common mistakes made when trying to come up with an effective intro is to focus on what you do, or what you are.
Your elevator speech should be conversational, probably last 30 seconds or less and focus on one or more "emotional benefits" for the prospect.
In other words, there's got to be something in it for your prospect. Don't make it about you, make it about "them" and how you can help "them" to solve a problem or improve their lives.
The elevator speech example below is the one I use at business networking events for growing my internet marketing consulting services business:
"I help businesses get more leads and sales from their web sites."
It may not be a "killer" as such, but it works incredibly well. I know that most small business owners have websites that are not delivering them the results they want (more traffic, more leads and more sales), and I can help them, so I have targeted my 30 second intro (more like 5 seconds, actually) specifically for their need.
Your best elevator speech should be a "viral creature" that can burn itself into your listener's brain so that they will not only remember it, but also repeat it enthusiastically to others.
Can such a thing be created?
Of course! But it will probably take time, and a great deal of trial and error.
The best way to create your 30 second intro, is to begin by thinking deeply about the answer to questions such as:
- Who is my audience?
- What do they need or want that I alone can provide?
- Where and when will I use the speech?
- What are all the different situations I might face in the course of my professional or personal life where it would helpful to have a compelling mini-speech already prepared?
- What is the best response I want to elicit from others after I give my elevator speech? (For example, do you want to get a conversation going, a business card, an email address, a referral or an appointment for another meeting or presentation)?
Once you have thought deeply on the above questions, create your first elevator speech draft and then write it out. If required, create different versions for different business scenarios.
You may want to record a video or audio of yourself delivering your elevator speech. Watching the video afterwards will help you finetune your content and delivery, as well as help you develop a clear, concise and compelling message.
If you feel anxious about using an elevator speech, practice. Rehearse your 30 second speech with your partner, a friend, or in front of a mirror. Make it such an integral part of you that if someone woke you up from a deep sleep in the middle of the night and asked you "what do you do?", you would be able to respond instantly, smoothly, naturally and without any hesitation.
Finally, don't worry if your "elevator speech" isn't smooth, easy, or natural in the beginning. Just keep rehearsing it and presenting it, and monitor the response you get afterwards.
If you are really having problems coming up with an elevator speech, consider joining a business networking group, or search online for sites that offer speech writing tips and tutorials
If you can afford it, you may even want to consider hiring a marketing professional or sales copywriter to help you or staff come up with an effective elevator speech.
How Long Should Your Elevator Speech Be
Ideally, you should develop a 30 second elevator speech following the guidelines and suggestions presented here. Keep in mind that a full 30 second intro may actually be too long in certain situations. The more concise you can make it, therefore, the better.
If, like me, you are a "systems-driven" person, then here is a really useful tip: Think about every business interaction with your prospect leading up to your sales presentation (and beyond) as a chain of scripted presentations. Your elevator speech is a scripted mini-presentation and your sales process is really nothing more than scripted speeches of longer duration.
So, if you were to map out your business sales process as a chain of scripted conversations, you would probably find that your 30 seconds elevator speech naturally leads to another speech, i.e. a 60 second elevator speech (or a 2 minute elevator speech) as the person expresses an interest or curiosity in response to your 30 second speech, which then leads to a longer speech called a "needs analysis" presentation, then more conversations called a "solutions" presentation, "decision confirmation" presentation, "training" or "product delivery" presentation, etc...
When you learn to tie up all of these "speeches" or scripted conversations together, you will have a powerful business system that you can test, measure and improve upon for continuously better results.
To conclude this article, here some great tips on ways you can use your elevator speech for growing your business and getting more leads and referrals:
- Don't be afraid to leave it as a voice message when making cold calls or speaking to potential employers (e.g., when leaving a voice-mail message for a hiring manager).
- Use it in your blog or web site in the "About Us" section.
- Use it in your email signature and on the back of your business card.
- Use it any time you are networking for business... even socially when attending functions.
- Use it when following up on referrals.
For more great ideas on ways to grow your business, I recommend listening to business audio books. Check out some of the excellent business audio book titles here: Best Business Audiobooks
I hope you have found this information useful and practical and I wish you great success.
Why Are YOU "Really" In Business?
"I wanted to be an editor or a journalist, I wasn't really interested in being an entrepreneur, but I soon found I had to become an entrepreneur in order to keep my magazine going" - Richard Branson
If you are a true entrepreneur, you will know that to succeed, it helps that you enter a line of business that you naturally enjoy, and would gladly do even if you did not get paid(as tends to happen during start up). The truth however is that you are(I hope) in business to make money in a manner that is profitable - which will in turn enable you stay in THAT business you enjoy, for the long term. To achieve the foregoing purpose, you will need to do cost-effective and results-focused business marketing. One very important - but I believe grossly underutilised tool - for doing that is the Business Card.
I discuss in this article how you as a business owner, can better design your own business cards, to significantly improve your ability to market yourself to those who really need your services and/or products.
Marketing is about creating an impression - a positive impression - in the mind of your intended customer - that YOU or YOUR BUSINESS are more capable of meeting his/her perceived need or want than any others. The more successful you are in creating this impression about yourself/business in the mind of your target audience, the greater the chances that they will choose you over others who may offer the same products and/or services you do. This in effect means, you will be better able to achieve your major business goal of making MORE money, MORE profitably.
This Article Is Meant MAINLY For Non-Employees
Just before I continue, I wish to make the following clarification. The ideas I offer here are mainly for use by self-employed individuals (independent contractors, consultants, entrepreneurs/business owners) - i.e. people who are their own bosses and therefore take decisions that affect how their company is perceived or operates.
For those who work as employees in companies, it is likely that decisions about the type and design of business cards used will be taken with considerations relevant to the company's preferred mode of operation and business vision. I will therefore only say that persons who fall into this latter category, if they find what I say here of potential usefulness to their organisation(e.g. sales/marketing personnel) explore the possibility of bringing it to the attention of appropriate decision makers for consideration.
Is There A Rule Book For Business Card Design?
I am not aware of any rule book that actually spells out what information or details should or should not be on a business card: But if you know of any, I would appreciate your sending me a note about where to find it. :-)
It appears instead, that most people seem to have come to some tacit agreement on the most relevant pieces of information and features to adorn their cards with. Or maybe they just adopted what they found others doing when they entered into business for themselves. Either way, the point I'm making is that I believe each person needs to try and design a business card that works for him/her.
What Does The Conventional Business Card "Say"?
What I would call the conventional business card typically contains information that "says" the following(in addition to some graphics such as a logo, or artistic effects for aestetic appeal):
1. Who you are: Your name/title/business name, and possible qualifications that lend credence to your claims.
2. Contact Info: Phone numbers, postal/physical address, web URL/email(you do have these don't you?).
3. A Tag Line: Punchy phrase about your biz. BUT will these help achieve your purpose?
But the question could be asked: Does the conventionally designed business card work as well as it could be made to? I say NO. I say NO. In fact, after thinking about this issue, I have come to the conclusion that one word best describes the conventional business card - and that's "Passive". It's contents are not designed to be response-generating or action-inducing. I however believe one can adopt a card design that is more "Active" -- hence my efforts at finding an alternative that works, which eventually led to this article being written.
I have always been a bit of a non-conformist - with a penchant for "playing devil's advocate", "rocking the boat", "stirring things up" etc in a bid to challenge others to re-evaluate accepted norms for possible refinement - or total replacement. :-) If I find that the status quo does not offer me what I consider optimal returns towards achievement of a set goal(s), I immediately begin exploring alternative options to adopt, till I find something that gives me the results I want.
Based on the above, the question, for me - as a performance enhancement advocate - on the issue of business cards and how to get the most value from them is: What information do business persons NEED to put on their business cards, to help them MORE successfully achieve their intended purpose for handing such cards out to prospects ?
By the way, with a few possible exceptions, I assume here that the reader - like most people who give out business cards - does so because s/he expects that the cards will further impress(or remind) the recipients to make contact at a later date in relation to the product or service discussed. In my view the business cards many business persons give out are not properly equipped to achieve the full marketing impact potential they possess. Business cards, I believe, can be designed to play a more active - even though silent - role in the marketing and/or selling process.
Think about it this way. Someone you speak with about your work could say "Can I have your card?", possibly because your conversation is interesting enough to them, that they want to be able to contact you at a later date to take it further. However, whether or not you do end up closing a sale with that person could depend on what your card "says"(if at all it has anything to say) to him/her AFTER you've parted ways.
Now, if s/he runs into ANOTHER person who "appears" to offer something similar to what you told him/her you could, s/he might just give that OTHER person the job. But if your card is THE type that "tells"(or reminds) her about specific unique benefits you provide that the OTHER person may not be able to match, s/he is likely to tell the other seller "NO", and come back to you. I say the foregoing here on the assumption that you do actually have a Unique Selling Proposition(USP).
In essence, my argument is that business owners can do a little more thinking to MAKE MORE OBVIOUS, the TANGIBLE BENEFITS they offer, which prospective - and existing - clients would find attractive, and therefore be willing to take ACTION to get. The business owners can then highlight those benefits in form of keywords and phrases on their business cards. Such business cards would subsequently have a greater marketing "impact" on those who receive them, increasing the chances of the prospects making contact at a later date.
A Comparative Analysis Of Two Similar Restaurants With Different "Sales Pitches"
Let's do a little comparative analysis. Say it's 12.30pm and you are driving on a major highway to the next city to do a presentation scheduled for 2.00pm. If you keep driving at the same speed, you estimate you should get into the city in another thirty minutes, leaving you just enough time to check into "Clear View International Hotel", take a shower, change clothes and move into the conference hall on the ground hall of the hotel where the presentation will hold. But you are feeling a bit thirsty and hungry, and worry that there might not be enough time to quickly order something to eat at the hotel(Please bear with me: for some reason, I could not think up a better "excuse" :-)).
Suddenly you get to a junction and notice road signs for two different fast food outlets poisitioned next to each other. For the purpose of this example, we assume that both places actually offer equally quick services and more or less the same variety of foods and drinks. The difference is in the way they describe - on their road signs - what they offer the prospect(traveller), who needs to make up his/her mind.
One sign says "Quik-Caterers! Get Our Quik Travel Meals & Drinks Pack(TM). Wait Max 15 Mins - Or We Pay!". The other says "Welcome To Jazzy Jaff's Fast Foods Restaurant And Bar".
You will agree with me that if many travellers - who are in a hurry - had to decide which fast food restaurant to stop at, they would pick "Quik Caterers" - not because the name sounds better, or more appropriate, but most likely because their road sign offers MORE information - using catchy keywords/phrases - about TANGIBLE BENEFITS the prospective customers can relate to.
Customers are likely to PERCEIVE that "Quik-Catering" is more capable of meeting their NEEDS than "Jazzy Jaff's". Now, imagine the information said to be on the road signs(or some of it) is used on business cards given out by the respective owners of the two restaurants. Chances are that Quik-Catering MD's business card would raise more eyebrows, and probably result in one or two additional queries or comments to him/her(regarding the service described) - creating "openings" for sales conversations to take place.
Look at it this way: Wouldn't you be curious to know(and test?) if Quick-Catering could really deliver on its Wait Max 15 Mins - Or We Pay! promise? It's an attractive - though unusual - offer, but if Quik-Catering only put it on flyers placed on the drinks counter in the restaurant(and not on the road sign or on business cards), less people would get to know about it and stop over.
What Does Your Business Card "Need To Say"?
A business card that keeps "selling" you to your prospect long after you're gone, needs to say what you do in a way that makes those fitting your customer/client profile more likely to realize they actually NEED your product(s) and/or service(s).
You can design your business cards such that they cut down the amount of "work" you need to do to generate potentially valuable sales leads. This is particularly important because many times we come across people who qualify to be our "perfect customers or clients" in first time meeting situations that do not permit lengthy discussions or interactions. So, often times we end up using an elevator speech, answering one or two questions that arise from it, then exchanging business cards.
Some days later, the executive you gave your card to(and who at the same event went on to receive not less than four additional ones from "others like you"), sits in his/her office staring at your card. Among other things, s/he may struggle to recall where/when during that cocktail dinner s/he met you, and what again it was you said you could do for him/her that sounded so good!
This kind of dilemma faces many people who receive the conventional cards I earlier described. Of course s/he sees on the card that you are a CPA, or Certified Coach etc. What s/he does not see on THAT type of card is something(keywords, phrase etc) to help him/her see or recall the "slant" in your offering that sets you apart from others who may offer anything like you do. The result? S/he puts the card back in the desk drawer(or worse: the round filing cabinet - aka "Waste Paper Bin") and (probably) forgets it. Why? Because s/he cannot find a compelling enough reason to take the relationship further by giving you a call.
Think back to the two fast food restaurant signs comparison I did earlier and imagine you are a decision maker for a large company that's trying to choose a caterer to supply snacks to be served at their Annual General Meeting. Looking at the business cards given to you by the MD of Quik-Catering and that of Jazzy Jaff's, all other factors being fairly constant, you are likely to get the "impression" that Quik-Catering will be able to meet your needs more readily, because they sound (from what they say on their road signs and business cards) that they're already thinking along the lines of proving the value YOU seek.
What It Could Look Like: A business card that "sells" you looks different from any your prospect has seen, and creates a lasting impression that sets you apart from the crowd. You can print your information on the front - and leave the back blank, or print on both sides. From testing various designs, I have found that it is useful to leave some blank space on the back for writing answers to "Date We Met?", "Where We Met?", "Notes/Comments" etc prompts that are printed on it.
Actually Jeffery Meyer([http://www.succeedinginbusiness.com]) suggests that you write answers to the earlier listed prompts on the back of cards you get from others - so YOU can remember them, and what they are about. I have taken it a step further and designed cards that let me, "the giver", write that information on the back of cards(which I take with me, as Meyer advises, to important meetings/events) I'm giving out, so as to "help" my prospects remember ME.
Click here to view a web page showing images of sample business card designs that incorporate the features I have discussed in this article(I also offer a FREE downloadable copy of the Corel Draw template I used to create them). Incidentally, my business cards have sort of "evolved" over time as I played around with the ideas I had - until I settled for a particular design/layout. You may also find it useful to let your creativity loose so as to arrive at the best design for your work.
A Business Card That Works Will Help You Market More Effectively & Efficiently
Jeffery Meyer once wrote that to avoid the "feast-famine" syndrome that can plague a business which fails to ensure steady inflow of new work, one must continually search for new customers - and "weed out" hopeless prospects who cost you marketing effort, time and expense, but give you no jobs. For instance, he advises that you take the repeated non-return of your phone calls by a prospect as a sign that s/he does not feel a compelling need for your product or service. Instead, divert that marketing energy and expense towards recruiting NEW prospects.
I believe a business card with the right balance of USP information and aesthetic appeal, can help a business owner use his/her business marketing time/effort more effectively and efficiently. This is because s/he will be able to use the card to create opportunities for discussions about useful benefits of the products and services s/he sells, in a way that will impress a prospective client or customer who happens to be looking for such returns.
It is true that "buyers" tend to be undecided when considering a purchase, but when the "seller" points out the USP s/he offers, AND IF they coincide with the buyer's felt needs, the buyer can become quite "sure" of what s/he wants, to the point that other "sellers" would be unable to influence him/her. Think about some products or services that many people use year in and year out(inspite of the presence of many competing brands), and you will find that they do so because certain needs they consider important are being met through the continued use of those products and services.
Designing your business card the way I describe is more likely to result in the card continuing to "sell" you to a prospect, even after you've parted ways with him/her. The card - each time s/he looks at it - will through its contents remind him/her that you offer THAT unique benefit s/he wants or needs. Of course not everyone you give your card to, will call you back to give you work! Life itself is about percentages. So, what I am saying is that a higher percentage of those you give out your cards to, are likely to get a better understanding of what you can do for them(or for someone they know), and so call(or recommend you). You'll consequently get more sales leads, and/or opportunities to close more sales.
Your Cards Cost Money - Aim To Get A Return On Your Investment In Each!
Print Them Cost-Effectively: I believe most individuals who work for themselves might find it more useful to design and print their own business cards in the quantities they require them. Due to the unpredictability of business generally, one or more bits of information on the card you use may change in a way that will make it necessary for you to re-print another set. If you already have thousands of cards printed, and suddenly discover a need to re-print, all the money spent producing the obsolete set would effectively go down the drain.
You can avoid this. If you have a template setup in Corel Draw to print ten standard size business cards on an A4 sized embossed card paper, for instance(and have used colors economically in the design) your home/office printer should be able to generate a set of cards for your use over a few weeks at a time. As your business operations grow, and you become more certain for the long term about the information you have to put on the cards, you may be able to more safely produce larger quantities of cards.
Think Before Giving Them Out: Considering that you would want the cards you give out to have a pleasing appearance, that complements the USP information printed on them, one expects they will not be "cheap" to produce. That's why you may want to make sure every one you give out counts.
If you can form the habit of thinking of your business card units in monetary terms(each of mine costs approximately $0.143 US Dollars equivalent), it might help you decide whether or not to put it in an envelope to just about anyone you're mailing something to, even when you don't know who they are or what they do. That would be like shooting in the dark - only this time you would be doing so, with MONEY!
If I send out twenty five letters in envelopes to different prospects for instance, and put a card in each, I know it implies I have spent at least $3.575 US Dollars(aside from the cost of envelopes, paper, stamps etc).
Business marketing yields better results when properly targeted at the right audience. You could for instance staple your business cards, to letters you are sending out to CEOs of certain organisations you hope will find your products and services potentially useful. Every time I want to give out a card, I ask myself: Am I sure this is going to help me get increased marketing exposure for my work, that could lead to more business? You might want to ask yourself a similar question periodically.
ONE LAST THING: Read Michel Fortin's Ten Commandments E-book
What I have proposed in this article will require anyone who wishes to try out my ideas to re-visit his/her business concepts and philosophies with a view to distilling the "value" s/he is truly capable of delivering to customers. To do this successfully, I want to seriously suggest you download and READ Michel Fortin's "Ten Commandments of Power Positioning" e-book.
Visit his website at http://www.successdoctor.com and learn how you can get a copy of his excellent e-book(I got mine about 4 years ago). It offers many very practical and tested ideas about how you can market yourself or business more effectively to customers, so that they see you as their preferred provider of your product and/or service range.
To accurately define keywords and phrases that best capture the VALUE you can deliver to your customers, the "Divide and Conquer" concept described by Fortin in his e-book, when properly applied, will help you arrive at the most appropriate ones. Fortin also provides practical real-world relevant tips for crafting YOUR OWN tag lines and elevator speeches; developing press kits etc.
Read that e-book(I actually printed mine out and had it sprial bound) from first to last page as many times as you need to fully understand it, and try applying what you learn to your business through the exercises suggested. By the time you are done, you will know what to say about your business(and also HOW to say it) in your speech, and on any of your business marketing media such as business cards, signs, flyers, letterheads, website etc.
Question: How will you judge whether it's working or not?
Answer: (1). If more prospects make contact with you as a result of your re-vamped business marketing - which incorporates your re-designed business cards - THAT will be evidence that it's working. (2). When your newly acquired clients/customers continue to patronise you and DO NOT express any regrets for doing so(by way of product returns or unwillingness to give referrals/repeat business), THAT would reasonably suggest they are satisfied you deliver the value you "promise".
Without the development of the printing press in 1445 the Renaissance may never have happened, and Johann Gutenberg the inventor certainly did not know he was sowing the seeds of the business card entrepreneur's bonanza we have today. What civilisation gained from Gutenberg's invention is incalculable.
Visiting cards (also known as calling cards) first appeared in China in the 15th century, and the earliest European form of visiting cards appeared in France in the 17th century during the reign of Louis XIV - "Le Roi Soleil". They were normal playing cards on which visitors wrote their signatures, promissory notes and other messages. The cards were just a little smaller than the size of a man's hand. As time went by, these visiting cards further developed into greeting and other cards.
The business card evolved from the Visiting card over time, but through it's evolution it's purpose remains the same.
Trade cards, another early form of the Business card, existed in England around the same time. Trade cards were used as a form of advertising and sometimes contained a map directing potential customers to merchant stores, as there was no form of street numbering system at the time.
Other printing materials, such as newspapers, has not yet caught on as a vehicle for business marketing, so the earliest Trade cards were printed and issued using a letterpress method. However, copperplate engraving became the most popular method of producing the cards by the 18th century, and up to the 19th century, Trade cards were printed using a single colour (monotone). But as businesses thrived throughout the Industrial Revolution, so did the production and distribution of Trade cards.
Around 1830, lithography using several colours became an established method in Europe and was the primary method for printing cards. As printing techniques became increasingly advanced, Trade cards became more elaborate, with pictures and full colour designs. Since colour images were not widely available, these cards became collector's items, and as the hobby elevated, many tobacco companies put the sporting celebrities on one side and photos with text about their products on the reverse. This was the start of the modern day trading cards. Meanwhile, Visiting Cards arrived in Europe around the middle of the 1800's.
Calling Cards arrived
Visiting Cards, or "Calling Cards" as they became known, were essential to the 19th century middle classes.
The initial letters on personal Visiting "Calling Cards" denote French words:
p. f. - congratulations (pour feliciter)
p. r. - expressing one's thanks (pour remercier) - even if one is presented with flowers
p. c. - mourning expression (pour condolence)
p. f. N. A - Happy New Year (pour feliciter Nouvel An)
p. p. c. - meaning to take leave (pour prendre conge)
p. p. - if you want to be introduced to anybody, send your visiting card (pour presenter)
Soon, the Business card evolved from a fusion of traditional trade cards and visiting cards. A distinction between "business" and "visiting" cards quickly developed with the ornate Visiting card serving social obligations only, whilst Business cards on the other hand, were used solely for promoting business. It was considered to be in very poor taste to use a Business card when making a social call.
These days, the modern business card is used primarily for the purpose of promoting a business, but it also serves as a calling card.
First Salesman's Business card
Whilst Visiting Cards were at first the domain of the upper classes, and trade cards were made to advertise and promote particular firms, the salesman who did the footwork calling on prospective clients needed a means to exchange information in a simple, concise manner. To fill this void the Business card was introduced with address or telephone contact information in fancy printing and graphics.
Today, the salesman's Business card takes on many forms, including custom die cut shapes and sizes, with glossy coatings and top quality photo graphics.
Business Card Printers Turn to Plastic
Known for their durability, plastic business cards were manufactured using a variety of plastic substrates, including but not limited to: Polystyrene, Polyvinyl chloride (PVC), Polyethylene, Polypropylene, Polycarbonate, Polyester and synthetic Papers.
20th century advances in printing technologies and synthetic materials made it possible to print liquid inks onto plastics. In addition to the wide range of commercial applications of this technology.
Today in the 21st century the more adventurous entrepreneur Business card printer has developed an array of sophisticated products. These include Silk art board, single and double sided Business cards, quality labels, complimentary slips, letterheads for all industries in superior quality papers, and laminated single and double sided Postcards for all occasions. All of which can be designed on line and uploaded to your personal computer. A boon to the busy firm requiring special needs.
For the rest of the world, the exchange of business cards has become common even for social introductions. Even today, some people still carry "personal" Business cards which contain only personal contact information and have no relation to their employer or business.