I haven’t seen a commercial from the US Postal Service in awhile, and I’m finding that a lot of entrepreneurs have forgotten how they can help you be more productive.
- Order free packaging from their Web site. I keep a supply of Priority Flat Rate envelopes and Flat Rate boxes with postage already applied. And, their regular envelopes with the postage already on them come in handy too.
- Keep various denominations of stamps on hand. I always have Priority Mail and other denominations of stamps with me when I travel. I keep them in a pouch with each type separated. When I’m in my office, I use my LabelWriter(TM) Twin Turbo by DYMO. I can print my own stamps in any denomination, and also use it to print shipping labels. It’s much simpler for me to do this than go to the USPS Web site, complete all the information, pay for the postage, print the label, then affix. When I need to send email shipment notifications to my customers so they can track a shipment, I use the USPS printed stamps. (Update: You can also buy stamps at local businesses such as Office Depot, Staples, Wal-Mart, and more. Just look for the USPS Buy Stamps Here logo.)
- Have your postal carrier pick up your mail. If you’re shipping at least one Priority Mail package, the postal carrier will pick up your shipment for free. I love Federal Express and UPS, but I don’t ship enough to justify paying extra for pickup. With the US Postal Service, I schedule the pickup on their Web site, (https://carrierpickup.usps.com/cgi-bin/WebObjects/CarrierPickup.woa) and leave the package on my front porch. That’s it.
- Mail it when you can’t fax or email. I don’t have a fax machine and my combo printer/fax/scanner/copier is broken. So, when I can’t email it, I mail it. It’s funny how people have forgotten about that option. I also receive faxes in my email using a free service from efax (http://home.efax.com/s/r/efaxprint). I’ve also gotten very creative about running my business without a printer and will blog about that later.
There is one thing I wish the US Postal Service would offer. I’d like to be able to get self-adhesive, coded labels that track and bill my account. Then all I’d have to do is affix my shipping label and their computers would track the cost of the postage and bill me later. I have this with Federal Express and love it.
The next time you’re standing in line at the post office, ask yourself why. Instead, use these steps to help you be more productive and get the most out of your day.
Peggy Duncan, SCORE Atlanta
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I’m a productivity and technology speaker, trainer, author, and consultant. I own The Digital Breakthroughs Institute in Atlanta GA.