Many of the UK’s vast army of small and start-up businesses have no idea what their business card really says about them, claims Davinci Virtual, the UK’s largest provider of virtual offices, telephone answering and virtual PA and staffing solutions.

“Most SMEs realise the benefits that having a virtual presence at a prestigious business address can deliver to their business,” comments Steve Golding, Davinci’s UK General Manager, “but often overlook the importance of getting the right messages onto their business cards.

“First impressions are all too important to those running small businesses and poorly thought out business cards can be a real turn-off. We surveyed some of our 1,500 UK virtual office clients and found that the biggest no-no was to include just a mobile phone number on a card. Use of a landline implied longevity, stability, security and also gave the impression of being a sizeable business.

“We found that the use of just a mobile number implied the business is small and probably run by a sole-trader. Using a PO Box number for a mailing address also gave potential customers a lack of security and an inability to contact the supplier if dealings did not go as planned. On the other hand, having a London virtual office for example with a central London address implied the business was established and secure and gave potential customers improved peace of mind.”

Another indicator to business size was the lack of a web address. “Most 21st Century businesses have access to a computer and so having a website is viewed as an essential tool of an established business,” continues Steve Golding. “Successful businesses are those that have a simple and easy to remember domain name and one that doesn’t divert to a rival or gets lost in cyberspace if it is miss-typed.

“Email addresses also reveal a lot about the quality of a business. The most professional addresses use the first initial and last name layout rather than the use of just a first name, which implies the card holder is either the founder of the business or running a very small operation.

“Lastly, the quality of the business card itself also reveals much about a business. Thin shiny cards imply that they were printed by a machine at the local railway station and most businesses overlook the opportunity to print a list of their USPs on the reverse. Overall, designing and printing a dynamic and entertaining business card is probably one of the best kept secrets in business today.”

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