by Bryan Gray
The USPS is has been in the news quite a bit lately as it battles plummeting volume, high fixed costs and massive losses.
Proposing no Saturday deliveries and raising stamp prices merely strikes at the branches and does not deal with the root issue of whether our beloved USPS is still relevant.
The truth is – Saturday deliveries or not – this downward spiral will continue to occur. When the USPS has to keep increasing fees to continue covering losses, it drives more and more communication on-line. With such a high fixed cost structure, the Post Office will be forced to continue drive prices higher and send their customer base scrambling to consider more economical modes of communication.
The heart of the issue here is our Postal Service is no longer relevant.
A few years ago I was asked to keynote a national panel of CD and DVD duplicators/replicators about the future of their industry. Guess what, it didn’t go over too well…
As a tool to measure relevancy, I presented a concept of the “recovery time.” I simply asked the audience to consider the ramifications of eliminating their products and services from the marketplace. The “recovery time” is the degree of pain the market would endure before the product’s replacement leaves us no longer wanting what we once had.
In addition to its application for the CD/DVD industry, I asked the audience to consider the “recovery time” of the newspaper industry, the corner video store, and the Postal Service. Think of the long-term disruption if each of these were yanked away never to return.
Think about your own business and more specifically, how relevant are you to your clients and prospects? If you’re feeling the world would have a short recovery time in your absence, it’s critically important start defining your real value by asking a few questions:
- What would your 10 best customers say they value most about you, beyond your product and service?
- What root issue, pain, or gap does your organization’s product or service solve/fill? (Think transportation not wagon wheels, think editorial content not a physical newspaper)
- What are your organizations unique talents?
- What are there things you ask your customers and clients to pay a premium for, because you do them better than anyone else?
By asking yourself these sometimes uncomfortable questions and framing your discussions around them, you are addressing your business challenges at the root, and you may just find the additional relevancy and margin you’ve been seeking.