What could be more important for a successful business than having a solid idea and tons of quality merchandise to sell?  How about this?

BUSINESS CARDS
This is very, very important. Like I said, I walked into a restaurant last year wearing one of my shirts and the server was interested in the design.  He couldn’t believe I did the work myself and wanted to show my site to his brother, who was overseas. Since I didn’t have a business card, I had to scribble down my website address, which looks horrible when written out.  Had I been carrying a business card, I could have just tossed him one instead of scribbling it down on his notepad and been secure in knowing that once I walked out the door, he would still been able to read it and not ask questions.

My mother-in-law used to pound the idea of business cards into my wife’s head. My wife teaches private piano instruction a few nights a week and, unfortunately, her client base is slowly dwindling because the kids are growing up and moving off to college. She’s not in too much of a hurry to get more right now but she really needs cards. Her former piano teacher has a side job repairing clocks. He has business cards. He gets lots of business. Everyone needs business cards for when they are away from the online world because most people won’t remember a website address if you tell it to them. And since there are so many ways to word things in a website address, you could be losing potential clients because they spelled a word differently or didn’t include a dash in the URL.  Of course, if you are really good, you should have name recognition online.  Typing Mongo into Google doesn't get you much, but typing "Mongo Angry!  Mongo Smash!" into Google fins me with the first result.  But not everyone has the Internet immediately accessible to them.  Ok, I don't.  I use my phone for the archaic practice of calling people.  Sorry, that's just me.   Anyway, until that person gets to a computer it would be nice if they had a snazzy reminder of who you are.

Oh, but business cards cost money, right? Well, yeah, they do. That’s probably why it took me year to get off my butt and order them. Since I am the low overhead kind of business model I didn’t want to spend money up front and order cards if I didn’t have any sales. That speaks to a lack of FAITH. Well, in a year’s time I’ve made some money. Then, I had to design them and that took time. That speaks to a lack of DISCIPLINE. Now that I have them, I can hand them out to my AUDIENCE. It all ties together folks. If you build it they will come but only if they know how to find you. Just because you work in an online environment, it doesn’t mean you should neglect the tangible proof of existence in business, the card.

Lastly, the fifth thing you need to be a successful shirt shop owner. I’ve had it in spades.

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