Should I get business cards?
Now that I am back out on my own again, one question that comes up is whether to get business cards. One issue is that I may move after my apartment lease comes up for renewal at the end of May. One solution to that would be to have a card that only uses an email address and web site address rather than my work address (which happens to be my home address.) But since I can order 250 full-color business cards from VistaPrint for $4, there is no harm reordering business cards in two or three months.
In truth, since so many of my contacts are via email and the Web, I rarely need a business card anyway. Still, on those rare occasions it is uncomfortable to not have one. Besides, it is so much easier to exploit serendipity if you can simply hand someone a business card.
A second issue is what name to operate under. For almost 20 years I operated as a DBA (doing business as) sole proprietorship, with a DBA of Base Technology. Since I do not currently offer a product or service other than my personal service and my online web sites and blogs, a business name is not essential. I may simply operate under my full, legal name, John W. Krupansky. Or, I could use my familiar name, Jack Krupansky, as my DBA.
I could simply revert back to my old DBA, but one question is whether the name is still appropriate, relevant, or even has much business value. In truth, people always knew me more by my own name than my business name. I did have a software product for a while, but that was quite a few years ago.
Or, maybe I should invent a new business name to represent my new "brand", whatever that might be.
What is my brand? I do several different things:
- Independent computer software development consultant/contractor.
- Independent software developer for my own products and services (not currently.)
- Independent writer of technical articles, web pages, and blogging.
- Independent research and writing about software agent technology and semantic web technology.
- Independent writer of technical articles, web pages, and blogging about Entrepreneurial Engineering.
Now, if I can only resolve my business name and address, I could order 250 full-color business cards from VistaPrint for $4.
Another complication about my old business name is that it is too blandly descriptive and not very distinctive. I once had a registered U.S. trademark on it to protect my web site, but I have let the trademark lapse. I also had been talking with a Canadian company using the same name to sell my domain name to them. I would like to resolve that issue soon.
So, on the one hand there is some advantage of continuity with the same name, but the value is somewhat minimal since there is only a modest association of my name with that business name. OTOH, I do have thousands of web pages that say "Copyright John W. Krupansky d/b/a Base Technology." That fact alone leads my to want to stick with Base Technology.
I was hoping to sell the domain name and consolidate the pages from that web site under one of my other web sites, but that was before I decided to go out on my own again.
Part of me really wants to come up with a new business name, to start fresh, but since I don't have any big new business prospects other than my personal service consulting, research, and blogging, it is not an urgent priority.
I suppose my default will be to resurrect my old Base Technology DBA as well as my old "title" of "Software Entrepreneur." My domain name registration is paid for another two years and my web host is paid for another 10 months. Besides, I could change the name in a year or so anyway, once I have a clearer direction for my new independence.