I also agree with Lombard’s assertion that promoting multiple businesses at one time can be confusing when talking to a new connection. One definition of a serial entrepreneur is “madly off in all directions!” You certainly don’t want to leave that impression with someone you have just met.
In my business I offer solutions for problems faced by many businesses: technical writing, affordable legal services, cloud-computing solutions, identity theft protection, speech coaching & corporate training related to meetings, communication, violence in the workplace, conflict resolution.
Similar to the original question, I have a diverse menu of business services that I offer. This can be confusing when I meet people for the first time and sometimes for quite a while truth be known.
As you can see in the picture above I combined all of my offerings under the title of Small Biz Resource Consultant on the front and on the back I provided the benefits of doing business with me vs the features i.e. Helping your business grow, helping your business produce and helping your business express. When I promote my business and cite the helping businesses grow etc. it opens the door for a follow-up question of “how do you do that?”
My challenge has been compounded by the fact that I wear many different hats. I have business cards for other roles I have in organizations not related to my business.
In regards to carrying all the cards around, I use a technique that works for me. I usually wear a sports jacket and slacks to a business networking event. I place five cards or so in each of my pockets. I have multiple elevator pitches prepared and use one that is appropriate for the event that I am at. If I am at a union-related event, I would offer my union role elevator pitch and provide my union calling card. This wouldn’t be appropriate if I was at an event with senior managers in my organization.
If I am at a business networking event I would promote my business, not my job or other roles that I would have. However, if the conversation with my newly met best friend swings to other topics and I just happen to have a card in one of my pockets, well I will present it. An example of this is when I mention that I love public speaking and am a speech coach and somebody responds with “Oh, I could never do that!”, I just happen to have a business card in my pocket inviting them to my Toastmasters club. If they don’t have the time for Toastmasters I tell them I can fast track their skills by coaching them.
Having said that, I am currently reading a book entitled “Endless Referrals” by Bob Burg that disputes all of our answers. It is written in 1999 but I don’t think his system can be written off by virtue of the date of publication. He says, and I paraphrase, “It doesn’t matter what you put on your business card. Nobody cares about your business card except you. The sole purpose in having a business card is so that you can give it somebody else, so you can get theirs. When you have theirs, you have access to all of their connections. In time, this contact will get to know you, then you can push your own business.”
It is definitely a different way of looking at things, however I still believe that there is good value in having business cards to promote various businesses. In writing this answer I am prompted to create some business cards for some of the books I have written. “So you are a shy networker … I just happen to have a business card about that subject. Here you go “Rae Stonehouse Author,Tips & Techniques for Moving from Shy to Sly!
Okay enough of the self promotion … thanks for your question!
as originally answered on Quora.com