The Real Problem with the U.S. Post Office

The U.S. Post Office (USPS) was in the news again because of delayed mail as the result of an aging delivery system and the need for a financial bailout.

When Benjamin Franklin, one of America’s greatest visionaries, was appointed the first postmaster general in 1775, the USPS was optimistic about what it could become in the future.

They would serve “all Americans, regardless of geography, at uniform price and quality.”

However, even though USPS has exclusive access to mailboxes marked U.S. Mail, it must compete against UPS, FedEx, and Amazon for package delivery. Likewise, the written letter and birthday card are mostly replaced by email and text messages.

So, what is the real problem with the USPS? A lack of vision.

Let me explain. When Fredrick W. Smith was just a student at Yale Business School, he wrote a paper and the plan for overnight delivery of packages, which would someday become Federal Express. He got a C on that paper because the professor, like USPS, said who needs overnight packages when we have the Post Office that can get it there in a few days?

Here’s the proof, in 2019, FedEx’s gross revenue was $17.8 billion.

Instead of saying we’re the “Post Office,” what if USPS thought like FedEx or Amazon and said, “How can we get mail to people faster?” Maybe instead of being the last resort for sending a package, they would be first.

What if when email came out, USPS would have instead said, “We already have a relationship with everyone in America, what if we offer everyone an email account from” Maybe then they could have tied the tracking of your letters right into your email or created an ebilling platform so you could pay your bills through them and not PayPal.

The reality is that “The Post Office” has lacked vision for the last 50  and if things don’t change, I believe it is safe to say, they will lack vision for the next 50 years – if they can last that long.

The moral of the story is, as business owners, don’t become complacent, think ‘that’s the way we have always done it’, or not be willing to change. Look for opportunities to go higher, faster, and longer than you ever have before. Adapt your business model to the ever-changing world we live in.


David Justus is an author, speaker, and Guinness World Record Holder. As the founder of Northcoast University, LLC and The Self-Coaching Vault, he shares his insights as a life and business coach to help people achieve greater success and more happiness.

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