Inc.: How PostNet Printing Franchise Identified Its Best Customers

Inc. writer Jeff Haden interviews PostNet CEO Steve Greenbaum to figure out how the business transformed from a mailbox rental into a full-service printing franchise and business services provider

Every successful business evolves. Maybe they come up with a new menu item, add a new service to their repertoire, or use technology to add extra convenience for their customers. Evolution is to be expected. What’s harder to pull off, though, is a complete metamorphosis. That’s the feat that PostNet has managed by evolving from a consumer-focused pack-and-ship business into a printing and marketing franchise that is focused on supporting small businesses.

The transformation of the highly-rated 700-location franchise has drawn a lot of attention in the business world, and Inc. magazine writer Jeff Haden recently spoke with PostNet CEO Steve Greenbaum about what inspired the change.

Some excerpts from the article:

So how did you go from predominately B2C to a heavier focus on B2B?

We’ve always known the best way to grow a business is to listen to customers, find out what they need, and help them easily get it. So we grew from packaging/shipping and copiers, into something much more sophisticated in the last five years.

We studied our higher revenue franchisees and realized they had a higher average transaction and lower customer count. That’s interesting, because in the industry as a whole the model is high volume, moderate margins. The average transaction is $10 to $15. That’s part of the challenge of that business.

So we started studying our higher producing centers and discovered they had found a niche in their communities by serving small businesses. They were doing print production, receiving packaging, returning items, printing materials, and forwarding to events. They were handling multiple transactions for one customer.

That led us to the realization there was a hugely underserved niche for small businesses.

Serving that market meant a massive shift for your operations, though.

But that’s where the real opportunity was and is. Small business owners needed somewhere they could solve their daily challenges: marketing, customer acquisition, SEO, websites, digital marketing. Solopreneurs like lawyers, professionals, accountants, consultants, etc. are good at what they do but they don’t necessarily have broad business skills. And they don’t want to learn about, say, integrated marketing: They just want to do their thing. We realized we could create a great business by helping them do all the stuff they don’t do well so they could focus on doing what they do well.

Shipping and copying is a commodity, roughly speaking — we decided the way to grow an exciting business is to add more value to the transaction.

Now that you’ve shifted focus, what’s next?

We’d like to have 500 domestic and 500 international centers over the next three to five years.

We don’t need 2,000 centers. Our goal is to increase the revenue and profitability of the centers we have. We’d like to double the average revenue of a franchise, and we’re on track to hit that.

Profitable and successful franchises make for happy franchisees — and that makes for a great business.

Interested in starting a PostNet?

PostNet began franchising in 1993 and has consistently won accolades throughout the franchise industry for its innovation, as well as its support of franchisees. To learn more, check out the research pages at You can also go to the blog to read reviews from PostNet franchisees and learn more about the digital printing and marketing services industries. Interested in having a conversation? Call 1-877-373-6734 or fill out a form to download our free franchise report, as we’ll be in touch soon. We look forward to getting to know you, and giving you a chance to get to know us.