Expected reduction in services will impact small businesses
With the numerous reports of problems at the US Postal Service, we can expect to see changes which are going to impact just about everyone in the US. There are probably going to be closures of distribution centers, closer of some local post offices and first class mail taking longer to be delivered. If you rely on the US Postal Service for sending and receiving mail, now is the time to take a hard look at what other options you may have. With obvious delays in getting mail delivered, alternatives may make you more efficient.
The US Postal Service has a monopoly for mail delivery, but there are some other alternatives, such as UPS or FedEx. These are obviously more expense than what the post office provides, but you are pretty much assured that it will arrive by a specific time. With delays by the post office, that may longer be the case. And for your small business, relying solely on them is going to make it more difficult in the future. You need to move as much of your business dealings as possible to electronic transaction instead of paper based involving US Mail services.
Paying your personal bills online through your bank is very common place now and this is a free service being provided by them. You are already comfortable working with email and if you are reading this, you are comfortable accessing the web. Now is the time to look atlternatives to reduce your reliance on the post office. Paying your business bills electronically is the first place you should start. While not everyone can receive electronic payments, if they have a bank account, there is a way to move money around.
PayPal is another alternative which a growing number of businesses are using to receive and send payments. There are other like services if you do not want to take advantage of the services of your bank. All of these are related to receiving payments or sending payments. You should move to using email to communicate with clients when sending them invoices for payments and not US Mail.
If you are using US Mail to advertise your business in mailers or through other services, now is the time to look at alternatives. There is Google Places for instance which you can use to show your business locally in Google searches for like services. You can advertise through online services, such as Google’s AdSense. There are varying costs and methods on how that process works. If you are interested, there are a number of resources on the web. You can also create mailing lists just like some have done years in the past collecting addresses. Instead you are collecting email addresses. You can then send out emails to promote your business.
Obviously, having a web site to represent your business is key to your strategy. People need to be able to find your business. With the move to mobile devices and searching for things on those devices, you need to make sure you consider making your web site readable by mobile devices. In a few more years, searching on mobile devices is going to exceed searches by computers. You must be prepared for that.
With changing technology, things are changing from what has been done from over 10 years ago. And it is the continuing changing of technology that you must keep up with. UPS, FedEx and others will still be around to deliver packages to destination, but your concern should be methods to reduce your dependence on US Mail as its future is uncertain. You can expect to see costs increase and service levels decreased. As a business owner, now is the time to reevaluate how your business is using technology and how you might use more of it.