U.S. Postal Service on the Decline

The U.S. Postal Service has been in operation for the past 238 years, but its future is looking bleak. The institution is losing $25 million every single day, which could potentially lead to the end of daily mail delivery within the year.

“Neither snow nor rain nor heat nor gloom of night…”

We know these things won’t stop the mailman from delivering our daily mail, but what about the recent financial crisis and the availability of digital resources?

The U.S. Postal Service has been in operation for the past 238 years, but its future is looking bleak.   The institution is losing $25 million every single day, which could potentially lead to the end of daily mail delivery within the year.

The Los Angeles Times just published an article outlining the Postal Service’s recent decline.  Last year alone, the Postal Service lost $15.9 billion and reached its borrowing limit with the federal Treasury.  Since it no longer has the financial support of the Treasury, the Postal Service has tried to implement various reforms to increase savings, but to no avail.

Postal officials have suggested ending Saturday delivery, replacing doorstep delivery with curbside delivery, and closing rural post offices, all without congressional support.  The changes that have been put into effect, including staff reductions and mail facility consolidations, have not compensated for the revenue decline.  Based on the current trends, the decline is only expected to continue into the future.  According to a report released by the Government Accountability Office, mail volume is only at three-fourths of what it was in 2006.

What is causing these changes in mail delivery?

The reality of the situation is that Americans are moving towards a paperless culture.  They email instead of write letters, read their news sources online, and opt for online bill pay.

Jeff Jarvis, author of Public Parts: How Sharing in the Digital Age Improves the Way We Work and Live says, “The very idea of the letter is becoming rapidly extinct.  With the shift of marketing dollars from paper to digital, at the same time with the growth of parcel delivery (by private firms), we’re going to see continuous disruption.  That changes everything about the postal service.”

Magic-EnvelopeSo what are you to do if the U.S. Postal Service collapses?

That’s where we come in!

While our Magic Envelopes are a great resource for completely eliminating paper clutter, our digital submission options are great when considering this shift away from physical mail delivery services.

The Shoeboxed Receipt and Mileage Tracker for iPhone, iPad, and Android allows users to easily snap pictures of and upload receipts to their Shoeboxed account.  This way you have complete digital access to all of your receipts with the click of a button.  Shoeboxed users can also forward documents already on their computer to receipts@shoeboxed.com, as well as clip and submit receipts from any browser using our Shoeboxed Web Clipper.  With these digital tools, we don’t even see the need for paper transfer!

Imagine how these paperless options could be the new mail delivery, especially if partnered with resources like Dropbox that allow for the easy transfer of digital files from person to person.

If the Postal Service as we know it does end, Shoeboxed and digital resources will be a great digital sharing replacement.

Can you imagine a world without mail delivery? Are you looking forward to a more paperless world? Let us know in the comments!

The Shoeboxed Team Spotlight: Anjana

In this month’s Shoeboxed Team Spotlight, we chatted with our Head of Product, Anjana Mohanty. Read the interview to learn more about how she juggles working long hours and parenting her precious Shiba Inu puppy, Wasabi! Spoiler alert: cute puppy pictures inside!

anjana mohantyIt’s time for everyone’s favorite monthly feature: The Shoeboxed Team Spotlight! Each month we interview a member of our team so you can get to know the people helping you get organized.

This month the spotlight is on Anjana Mohanty, our Head of Product. Anjana makes sure all the Shoeboxed products are functional, fantastic and moving forward.

Shoeboxed: So, Anjana. Tell us a little about yourself!

Anjana: I was born and raised in a small town in Maryland before coming down to North Carolina to attend UNC. I love cooking, dancing, all things motorized (cars, motorcycles, power tools) and sushi!

SBX: How did you come to join Shoeboxed?

Anjana: I joined Shoeboxed in May of 2011 as an intern– basically I bugged our COO & CFO Tobi until he hired me!– and I have been here ever since. My path so far has been an interesting one. I started helping out with customer support and marketing as a Lead Customer Advocate/Marketing Manager, then I moved into our product team as a Junior Mobile Developer, then Lead Product Manager, and now Head of Product. I’ve loved every minute of it and am a strong believer that I wouldn’t have been afforded the same opportunities anywhere else.

SBX: So, what exactly do you do around here every day?

Anjana: I have the amazing opportunity to maintain and advance Shoeboxed as a product and service! This means I interface with multiple departments here at Shoeboxed, listen to customer feedback and conduct a good deal of research to determine what features we want to improve or build next. Then, I translate this into specs and user flows and manage our development team to see the features to completion.

Anjana in Bucharest with our CEO Taylor.
Anjana in Bucharest with our CEO Taylor.

SBX: Wow– no wonder you’re always so busy! What’s your favorite part of working at Shoeboxed?

Anjana: My favorite part of working here is the people. Whether that means getting to work with our different departments, the developers or interface with our users – I love the opportunity to learn what other people do, how they think and how I can improve their experience.

SBX: We are absolutely lucky to have such an amazing team here. Now here’s a tough task: describe yourself in three words.

Anjana: Colorful. Resourceful. Mobile.

SBX: When you’re not working, what would we find you doing?

Anjana: When I’m not working you’ll find me either in the kitchen (check out my creations at instagram.com/anjanoms), busting a move (Indian classical dance) or playing with my new puppy Wasabi!

SBX: We can certainly vouch for your cooking– it’s our favorite part of celebrating team members’ birthdays at the office! Okay, here’s another tricky one: give us one tip for staying organized!

Anjana: Something I learned from my dad – to do lists! Writing (or typing) out the tasks I have at hand gives me the best picture of what is to be done and how to prioritize and allocate time amongst it all. Also, it always feels great to cross things off. :)

SBX: Indeed, it does. So, all of us love our location in downtown Durham. What’s your favorite part of living here?

Anjana: The growing food, drink and small business scene. Even outside of being a huge foodie and startup enthusiast – it’s great to experience the area around you evolving in a positive direction, and to feel like you’re a part of that growing community.

Anjana's puppy Wasabi, who joined the Shoeboxed team at a Durham Bulls game this spring.
Anjana’s puppy Wasabi, who joined the Shoeboxed team at a Durham Bulls game this spring.

SBX: Another tough one: What’s the best purchase you’ve ever made?

Anjana: Wasabi (my Shiba Inu puppy) – albeit very recent, its definitely one of the most rewarding and fulfilling purchases I’ve ever made – a gift that keeps on giving!

SBX: Good answer– we love it when Wasabi visits Shoeboxed HQ!

Thanks for chatting with us, Anjana! Stay tuned next month for an interview with another awesome Shoeboxed team member.

Stay Organized,
The Shoeboxed Team

Checklist: Is Your Small Business on the Right Track?

When you own a small business, it can be hard to focus on the big stuff and not get tied down in the details. Use our handy checklist to make sure that your small business is on the right track — the track to success!

This guest post is brought to you by WePay – the easiest way to accept credit cards online.

Where is your small business headed? We all have grand dreams for our companies and big plans to see them through. However, just how sure are you that the plan you have is going to come off without a hitch?

If you’re not looking ahead, you’re likely to get blindsided by even the smallest setback. One bump in the road and suddenly your plan for the future takes a completely different turn. It happens to businesses all the time and the worst-case scenario can see you shutting your doors forever!

Instead of getting blindsided, go through the following checklist to get a head start on the rest of your business life. Do you know…?

Where the Money Goes

Do you have a bead on where all your money goes every month? Just how much are you spending on supplies, rent and gas money for trips? Until you know the particulars of your budget you really don’t have a firm grasp on your company. Simply understanding where all your money goes can separate you from 99% of other business owners.

Who My Best Customers Are

Another aspect of your business you should master is who butters your bread – who are your best customers and why do they love you so much? Truly understanding why certain people love your product more than others can make a huge difference in your wallet. Now you know what niche to attack and where to focus your marketing efforts.

What My Weaknesses Are

No business owner likes to sit and think about how much they stink. If you don’t look at your flaws, though, they will absolutely sneak up on you and nip you in the rear. You may not automatically fix everything, but understanding your shortcoming will allow you to predict bigger problems before they happen. If you’re not very detail-oriented, for example, you can turn down nit-picky gigs instead of suffering through them.

How People Find Me

You’ve put ads up online, sent out samples to locals, spent hours on social media pages, and done lots of community service in the name of your business. So – which avenue brought you the most business? If you don’t know, it’s time to find out. Then you can build up that marketing channel even more so your audience continues to grow. Do a survey or use a tool like Google Analytics to track how prospects found you and decided to become a customer.

It’s Easy for People to Pay Me

How many forms of payment do you accept? If you’re sticking to just cash and checks, then somewhere down the road you’re probably going to have a problem. As it has become the norm to accept credit cards online, companies that don’t provide easy ways to get make payments may see a dip in sales and cash flow. The last thing you want to do is appear outdated. If you’re not accepting credit cards these days, you might as well ask for payment in Confederate dollars via carrier pigeon.

I Have an Endpoint

As a small business owner, you may daydream about amazing wealth and success. Whether that day comes or not, at some point you will have to figure out what to do with the business. What’s the end you have in mind for your endeavor? Sell it off? Retire from it? Close it in five years and pursue something new? The sooner you figure that out, the sooner you can direct your company in that direction.

How many items did you check off the list? Which one do you need to work on?

If you enjoyed this post, check out another great article by the team at WePay: “How Do I know if I’m Over- or Under-Promoting Online?