PostNet Franchise Review: Q&A with Marisa Lenci

PostNet Franchise owner Marisa Lenci talks about her twilight career

Marisa Lenci’s PostNet Neighborhood Business Center is in downtown Bethlehem, Pennsylvania.

Marisa Lenci’s PostNet Neighborhood Business Center is in downtown Bethlehem, Pennsylvania.

Marisa Lenci was done wondering when her next promotion would come or if her company would have layoffs. So the 49-year-old chose a new path, beginning what she likes to describe as her “twilight career” as a PostNet franchise owner. Having opened her PostNet center just a few months ago in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, Lenci is still getting things off the ground. But she is excited about the future. The franchise, a sort of culmination of her previous positions and experience, is what Lenci plans to take her into retirement.

What were you doing before you opened your PostNet Franchise?

Before I bought the PostNet franchise my most recent corporate stint was with Motorola, and I worked with them for 13 years. I started out as supervisor and just rose up through the ranks to a director level in the service and support organization. So I had team of managers and probably 52 or so individual contributors at one point. I wanted to try something different. I was pretty fatigued with the corporate scene, and I was kind of uninspired and unmotivated. I was making a lot of money, but I was really bored.

PostNet is an interesting culmination of really my whole career. Early in my career I worked in the shipping industry. I was a sales rep with Emery Worldwide, which was an air freight company, and I did that for several years. I was in desktop publishing and digital press for a little while, and I worked in the Internet realm for a while. So I’ve got a little bit of shipping, a little bit of printing, a little bit of the pre-press. This just took everything that I’ve done over the course of my career and put it under one roof, if you will.

I was familiar with some of the other local printing franchises, and that is where my interests were headed. As I was doing my research activities, PostNet kept coming up in my searches on the Internet. Eventually I was like, “Okay, I should probably check this out.”

What was the process like when you started learning about PostNet?

I started doing some investigation, and I downloaded PostNet’s Free Franchise Report. A salesman called me, and I talked with him. It was a great process, to be honest. What was interesting is … I was trying to get out of the corporate world, and PostNet’s competitions kept feeling like they were way more corporate. PostNet had a more personal feel to it, and that resonated with me.

[My old career] was very bureaucratic — so much red tape, hard to get stuff done. I think we were bought and sold and bought and sold and had multiple layoffs every year … it just wasn’t fun anymore. PostNet offers customers more of a one-on-one personalized approach that people appreciate, and I believe that’s what customers are looking for — one-on-one consultation, addressing individual needs and not being too cookie-cutter.

Who is your typical customer?

The majority of the business I am doing right now is through the local BNI chapter, the networking group I joined over a year ago. BNI members are primarily small businesses. But people come in for copies, reports, booklets that they need for various reports, and wide-format printing. We’ve done a lot of faxing services for people, as well.

Banner printing is just one of the many options PostNet can provide to customers.

Banner printing is just one of the many options PostNet can provide to customers.

How was the opening process? What type of support did you receive from headquarters?

Before I opened up I was very fortunate to train at a couple of different stores in New Jersey, so I have spent some time with other PostNet owners checking out their operations. There was a period of time, maybe three or four weeks in a row, where I was at one of the stores in New Jersey for two days a week. It was definitely like drinking from the fire hose, but it was good exposure to see what some of the possibilities are in terms of the types of projects and staff and how long it takes to succeed. It also helped set my expectations.

How different is owning your own business?

Years ago in my career it was always: “What’s the next big thing I am going to do? What’s the next promotion I am going to get? What am I striving for? What are the goals?” That’s just not where my head is right now. I have taken a significant step back from all that. Ten years ago I would be a pit bull, but my wiring has changed and I am taking it one day at a time right now.

Describe a typical day? How do you spend your time?

It’s a mix. I work on a lot of the estimates — I get a lot of estimate requests from my BNI chapter. Today I am researching options for a Christmas house tour booklet. I have a couple of production jobs to run. I have a couple of estimates to follow up on. So I just try to balance the operations in terms of making estimates, running jobs, following up on estimates and handling foot traffic.

What is your ultimate goal?

I want to be able to maintain the lifestyle that I’ve had. I have a partner who is still working full time, and eventually we would like to bring her in so we can be doing this together full time. Then eventually have other folks running it full time and not necessarily being here day in and day out. I look at this as my twilight career.

What kind of personality traits do you need to tap into to be successful?

I am a mix of an introvert and extrovert, and I think my extrovert side needs to come out a lot more. And then I also think from a personality perspective, just to be open and warm and inviting with people — honest and down to earth — and also at the same time be cognizant of what the customer needs.