How to Set Up Simple Print-and-Cut Business Cards in Microsoft Word

You want simple, nice, and professional looking business cards.  Easy, Peasy, right?  Unfortunately, creating business cards from scratch can be a little intimidating for even a tech-savvy person.  Thankfully, Microsoft Word actually makes a decent amount of business card templates available to you.  While the focus is clearly quantity versus quality, their templates do save you a number of groundwork steps, so they are a good place to start.  You can go from a blank Word document to print-ready business cards in only ten steps. . . . 

(For a personalize-and-print option for $6, skip to the end.)

1.  From within Microsoft Word, go to File > New and type “business cards” into the search box. 

Scroll down through the search results to the vertical “flower personal business cards”.

Press Create.

2. Right click the cross within a square at the upper left and choose Table Properties.

Select Table > Borders and Shading > Border and set the Setting to All, the Style to dashed, the Color to light gray, and the Width to ¼ pt; press OK.

Then go to Cell and set the Vertical Alignment to Centered and press OK once again.  You now have business cards that are horizontally and vertically centered with very faint visual guides for cutting.

3. Delete all the content from the first card, insert your logo, and size to your liking, keeping in mind you will need space for your contact information.

4. Press enter to advance to the next line and set the font to Calibri, the font size to 11, and the font color to black.  Press Ctrl + D for advanced font and character options.  Click the Advanced tab and set the Character Spacing to Expanded By 3 pt.  Press OK and turn your Caps Lock on.  Type your name.

5. Press return to advance to the next line.  Change the font to Calibri Light and the font size to 10.  Click Ctrl + D, change the character spacing to .5 pt, and press OK; then, type your title.

6. Press return to advance to the next line and change the font size to 7.5.  Then include your contact information, limiting yourself to three lines. 

7. Place your cursor after your logo, right click, and go to Line Spacing Options.

Within Indents and Spacing, set the Spacing After to 6pt, and press OK.

Set the cursor after your title and repeat.

8. Once you’re happy with your layout, select the entire contents of that card, and copy by pressing Ctrl + C.  Then, select the contents of another card, press Delete, and Ctrl + V to paste your new design.

Repeat the process for the rest of the page.

9. Save your file and print; be sure to set your printer Print Quality to the best available option. (When choosing your paper, I recommend a quality cardstock in between 80 and 100 lb — any thinner, and your business card will be too flimsy; any thicker, and you risk problems using the paper in a conventional home printer. A matte versus glossy finish is really a personal preference, but you do avoid any potential for fingerprints on a matte stock.)

10.  Then, cut!  For the cleanest and straightest edges, use a paper cutter.   

A Note About Business Card Fonts and Colors:
While the instructions described above will achieve the simple and modern design pictured, you can (and should) customize the look for your business. If you’ve been brand building from the start, you already have a Style Guide in place, and your business cards should reflect the guidelines you’ve set for your logo usage, fonts, and colors. If you’re new to branding, be sure to review our story on The Role of a Brand Style Guide.

Personalize-and-Print Template

If you would prefer to forgo the instructions above and purchase a preformatted template, the file is available for $6. In this version, you need only enter your information into one of the cards, and the rest will populate automatically. Simply type your info, print, and cut!

$6.00

The Simplest Social Media Strategy

JUST DO IT . . .

To shamelessly borrow Nike’s slogan, forward movement is the best route for small businessowners looking to broaden their marketing and branding efforts into social media.  If you’re a large company with a department or firm devoted to your marketing and branding, you likely have a person or staff of people responsible for social media, and they can analyze demographics, develop goals, create a content inventory, and schedule posts.  If that’s a feasible undertaking for your business, this web site probably isn’t for you.  Our target is the small businessowner, who is looking to embrace social media while simultaneously doing most everything else . . . which could include staffing, management, finances, strategic planning, daily operations, sales, and customer service as well as marketing and branding.  Dedicating a huge amount of time and financial investment to social media simply isn’t feasible and is frankly unnecessary in order to be successful. 

JUST DO WHAT?

So how do you move forward into this new corporate endeavor?  Focus on what you know.  For example, if you don’t have a personal twitter account and aren’t really sure what or why one would tweet, that’s probably not the best place for you to start.

We’ve recently decided now is the time to start promoting our blog content on social media.  Personally, I currently frequent Facebook and Pinterest.  Bob, the other voice of Brand Building for Small Business, frequents Facebook.  (Frequent is actually probably an overstatement, but he occasionally visits Facebook.)  Since we have real experience with these platforms, we have a pretty good idea of who else is using them without any research.  However, a quick glance at the following chart, and we can solidify our understanding of the demographics of the most popular social media platforms.

Facebook and Pinterest’s demographics sufficiently align with our target audience.  We also know from experience that our content would be an appropriate fit. . . .

“CONTENT IS KING”

What can you, on behalf of your business, contribute to social media (with the expectation that a meaningful contribution yields dividends for your business)?

At the risk of sounding repetitive . . . focus on what you know. You are likely an expert in your field.  You may have managed to generate an income selling your products or services.  You possibly generate revenue that supports a small staff of people.  Or maybe you just started out and are hopeful about the profits to come.  Regardless, you likely have a wealth of focused knowledge.

You also no doubt have a personality.  I’m sure you’ve got a pretty great one at that.  You may be clever, witty, cultured, or sarcastic.  You may be optimistic, dark, curious, or creative.  You have a voice.  Hopefully, that voice is reflected in your brand, and you can express yourself and your brand on social media, resonating authenticity with your audience.

A FEW GREAT EXAMPLES . . .

Pop-Tarts

The popular brand of toaster pastries Pop-Tarts has a Twitter account bursting with personality. . . .

Pop-Tarts’ parent company, Kellogg’s, has a more conservative brand and voice.  They have approximately 98,000 Twitter followers while Pop-Tarts has 205,000.  With a 280 character limit (up from 140 a couple years ago), a little bit of creativity goes a long way.

Wayfair

A provider of furniture and home goods, Wayfair utilizes the visual nature of their business on a platform optimal for visuals.  Wayfair has approximately 1.3 million followers on Instagram, and they most often post pictures of their products with simple captions that engage, entertain, or educate.  Many posts will lead you to the link in their bio, which ultimately leads you to shop the pictured items on their web site.

Mashable

Digital media website Mashable uses Pinterest as an outlet to reinforce brand awareness and drive traffic to their web site.  They have 58 boards, ranging in topic from “3D Printing Creations” to “WTF” . . .

Mashable has 10 million+ monthly viewers on Pinterest.

A JOURNEY WITHOUT A MAP

Let’s say you glean some inspiration from these social media giants, and you create accounts for your business on the platforms you frequent; you begin regularly posting content – at least once per week – that is optimal for that platform (based on your personal experience), your products or services, and your unique brand; you promote your social media presence as part of your brand on all advertisements, correspondence, etc.; and little by little customers AND potential customers start following you.  Fantastic!  What now?

According to Comm100, some commons social media goals are to:

  • Connect with Customers
  • Increase Brand Awareness
  • Drive Traffic to Your Website (directly from social media and indirectly by enhanced search engine results)
  • Generate Sales and Leads
  • Boost Brand Engagement
  • Increase In-Person Sales
  • Build a Community
  • Improve Customer Service

While one or two items on this list may be more important to you than others, all of the goals are worthwhile in some respect.  See what develops for you as time goes on.  You may find that your most useful outcome of social media is invaluable market intel that comes from the comments on your product posts that you originally hoped would generate sales.  Or perhaps people start leaving reviews for you on Facebook, which become an important tool in converting leads into sales.  Maybe you find that you get complaints via social media that provide an opportunity for you to offer outstanding customer service in a very public way.  Navigating without a roadmap means you need to pay attention to your journey.  Try to find an opportunity in the issues that arise.  Be open to suggestions.  Think of creative ways that you can utilize and expand upon the positives you encounter.  Grow and evolve.  And be patient.  Good luck!

P.S.  Read more as we begin our social media journey on Pinterest and Facebook.

Creating a Review Request Sign in Microsoft Word

Reviews have become an important part of our lives.  We look at them when choosing a restaurant, selecting a contractor, watching a movie, or even buying a new pair of jeans.  As a result, having an abundance of glowing customer reviews can have a big impact upon your business.  However, you know that already, which is why you’re here.  So, let’s get started. . . .

I do believe the most effective way to convince a happy customer to go the extra mile for your business is to personally take the time to ask for a review.  However, a personal request isn’t always feasible.  For those occasions, a sign placed in a prominent area (possibly next to your register) that makes the request visually can be a good idea.  I’ll show you the steps to create such sign in Microsoft Word.

1. Open Word, create a new blank document, and insert a rectangle.  (When your cursor turns into a plus sign, you’re able to draw your rectangle.) 

By default, mine was blue.  Right click on the rectangle and select More Layout Options.

Set the properties to . . .

  • Size: 10” in Height and 8” in Width
  • Text Wrapping: Behind Text
  • Position:
    • Horizontal – Absolute Position of .25” ‘to the right of’: Page
    • Vertical – Absolute Position of .5” ‘to the right of’: Page

Right click on the rectangle again and select Format Shape.  Set the Fill to No Fill, and set the Line to a Solid Line, Black Color, and .5 pt Width, choosing the Dash Type selection shown below.

2. Click inside the rectangle and type “Review Us”.  Change the font to one that works as your heading and increase the size as needed to appropriately fill the space.  Set the Alignment to Centered.  I went with the font Georgia in all caps at size 60 and added a space between each letter.

3. Press enter to advance to the next line and then insert a star. Once your cursor is a plus sign, draw the star about a half inch or so in size. 

Right click your star and select More Layout Options: within the Text Wrapping tab, select In Line With Text from the Wrapping Style section; within the Size tab, make the star .7” in Width and Height; press OK. 

Right click on the star once again and select Format Shape: set the Fill to No Fill; for the Line, select Solid Line, Black color, and 1.5 pt Width. 

Right click on the star one last time and select copy.  Add a space and paste your star.  Repeat three more times. 

4. Press enter and add your company name.  I used the same formatting as the “Review Us” heading but decreased the size to 36.

5. Press enter and include your review request.  I went with: “Your feedback is extremely important to us. Take a few minutes to share your thoughts and help us spread the good word.”  I kept the font the same and just changed the font size to 24.

6. Next, decide which review platforms you would like to feature.  I decided to use TripAdvisor, Facebook, and Google.  Then, go to Google Images (https://www.google.com/imghp) and search for the logo of one of the companies.  I searched “tripadvisor logo”.

Save your selection to your desktop.  (I chose the 4th logo of the top row. )  Press enter to add a line space to your Word Document and insert the logo.

As you can see, the logo is quite big.  Since I plan to include three logos, I decreased the size a bit. 

Repeat the process for each logo you would like to include, adding a line space between each one.  If you extend onto a new page, don’t worry.

7. The last step in Word is simply a final tweaking so that everything looks nice and professional on the page.  I increased the line spacing after the company name, the paragraph, and in between the logos, and decreased the size of each of the logos.

8. Then, save, print, cut, and frame!

Happy designing! 

Shameless Plug:
While our preference is always DIY, a ready-to-customize templated version is available from my shop in case you’re extra short on time this week:  https://www.instant-invitation.com/listing/668274665/review-request-sign-template-printable

Where to Begin?

“Cha Ching,” my phone sang.

Was that what I thought it was . . . my first sale?!?  I vividly remember the thrill and excitement I felt that evening.  I basked in hugs from my husband and kids, texted my close friends and family, and uncorked the champagne (well, sparkling Moscato actually; it was only a $12 sale after all). 

Fast forward one year ahead when the profit from my sales was about half my full-time income, and I was equally thrilled and excited at the idea of quitting my day job to pursue my business full time.  I couldn’t wait to be able to choose the way I dedicated my work hours, to have creative freedom, to balance my work schedule with my home life however I saw fit, to be directly responsible for my earnings . . . my list could go on and on.  The entrepreneurial allure was holy grail level for me.

Once I gave my three weeks’ notice (which my former boss and now blog partner masterfully managed to extend into three months’ notice), I was officially on cloud nine.     

Fast forward once again to my first day “unemployed” and me staring at my computer screen.  I had so many new designs I was looking forward to creating and so many ideas for new products.  My mouse and my keyboard and I forged ahead at full speed.

* * *

Up until that point, I had spent the entirety of my career in marketing communications.  I studied organizational communications and marketing for my undergrad and graduate degrees, I taught college public relations courses, and I worked for almost 15 years in the corporate world as an important contributor of a national, billion-dollar brand. 

The first item on my new business to-do list – in bold print – should have been to create a marketing plan. 

In reality, that’s not even close to what happened.  Why?  In writing this all down, I actually needed a couple minutes to decide exactly why, and I think it’s the more immediate sense of urgency you get when your business is responsible for your livelihood.  You want to focus on the areas of your company that are as tangible as your mortgage payments . . . and groceries . . . and kids’ back-to-school clothes.  I effectually went into survival mode.  Efforts producing and sustaining immediate profits were crucial while time for endeavors reaping long-term dividends felt like a luxury.

Don’t get me wrong. I had put in place certain basic brand fundamentals from the beginning.  Long before my first sale, I had decided on a name and colors, secured a web site address, and created a logo.  I even had a pretty clear sense of the qualities that would differentiate my company from others.  However, the idea of taking my brand basics and then creating and executing a blueprint for building a strong and successful brand WHILE running my business was completely and utterly overwhelming to me.

* * *

Well, as they say, the journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.  Once my survival instinct numbed a bit, I decided to take one single step.  I addressed one new activity per week.  Since I still had very little “free time” in my business AND had no real marketing plan, I didn’t give myself any constraints on the duration or direction of my efforts; just the quantity – I just needed to do one brand building task per week. 

So one week, I created an Instagram account for my business; another, I researched local venues to get my brand name out in my community; still another, I researched blogs that I could partner with to promote my brand, etc., etc., etc.  In essence, I did what I could/when I could, knowing that as long as these activities reflected my brand basics, my business would reap long-term benefits.

Over time, I mastered my one-a-week goal, and I built on that momentum – once a week, I now had to do one maintenance branding task (writing a blog posting, attending a local “expo/show,” posting content on my social media platforms, etc.) in addition to my one brand building task (researching, expanding into new venues/platforms, etc.). 

If this is starting to sound like a lot, take a breath.  There’s no need to get bogged down with specifics at this point.  We’ll cover them all as we go, and we’ll help you get your system into place.  We’ll focus on the areas we think are most beneficial to start with first, and we’ll teach you how to execute those initial steps; then, we’ll focus on building that brand – one task at a time.  Soon, you’ll find that your successes will justify the time you invest, making the process much easier.

* * *

Next up – What’s in a Name? . . . The first in a series focusing on the initial steps in building your brand.