By Josephine Sabin, Marketing Manager at DesignCrowd.co.uk

A business card is often the first thing, beyond yourself, that people see regarding your business, and therefore can influence the all-important first impression that so often lingers as your relationships build. With that in mind, it's extremely important to keep your business cards up-to-date and looking great. It might only be a tiny piece of cardboard, but it can say a lot about your business, employees and the overall personality of your brand.

1. Create a business card that represents your brand - the colour, texture and shape can all play a role, it’s extremely important that your business card not only reflects your personality, but also gives all the information needed. For example, a divorce lawyer's business card had a perforated line through the middle so it was easy to tear in two. Simple but effective.

2. Your business card should have the standard details - company name, card holders name, role, email, phone number and address, so people can get hold of you in various ways. Although business cards have performed the same function for centuries our digitised world has changed habits and preferences - consider including important online details - such as a web address, Twitter handle, QR Code and more, for maximum engagement.

3. Keep to the standard business card size so they're easy to store in rolodexes and wallets – moving away from regular sizing can mean your cards are relegated to the recycling.

4. However – you can still differentiate yourself with creative shapes that fit within that size, particularly if you’re a creative company who’s just starting out and looking to really distinguish themselves from the crowd. A photographer can have a business card in the shape of a camera lens, for example.

5.Visuals are really important - you only make one first impression, so make sure you are memorable for the right reasons! If your personality and those of your employees are integral to your proposition, think about including a headshot on your business card, or alternatively a fitting image. For the 'wow' factor, you could ask a designer to convert a photograph into a digital hand-drawn illustration to stand out. This can be a great way to show off your brand as a whole and provide a more graphic idea of your business.

6. Look to utilise the front and back of the card, whether this through including an enlarged logo, additional image, your business mantra, or a quote from a mentor.

7. There’s no shame in asking for professional insights, getting your business cards right is a long-term investment in the relationships that the cards will ultimately help you build. Enlist the help of a professional designer for some creative inspiration and expertise to make sure it ties in with your business vision as a whole and you make a lasting, positive impression.