Franchise Success Is Helping Others Achieve Success

PostNet Head Shots Brian Spindel and Steve Greenbaum

Steve Greenbaum, Co-Founder and CEO of PostNet, is passionate about helping others achieve success. His definition of franchise success goes beyond franchisees achieving their own idea of success to also capture PostNet’s clients. It is in the mission of every center to help their clients achieve success in their businesses through the services they offer. For Steve, franchise success is about contributing to something bigger such as the lives and dreams of others, his franchisees, and the people in their communities.

I had been eager to talk with Steve for a while. I kept hearing how well he is liked and how much people respect and admire him. In the world of franchising Steve is known as a student of the business, and as someone who is always ahead of the game, and who never misses an opportunity to learn.  After talking with Steve, I believe that it is his unequal commitment to learning that has kept PostNet a leader even during tough economic times and technology shifts that killed many other franchisors.

While listening to Steve, the image of the mythological Phoenix that consciously consumes itself in flames to be reborn new from its ashes kept coming up for me. The Phoenix’s demise and rebirth describes the transformation that we must undergo when we need or want to reinvent ourselves to create a better version. Steve Greenbaum has led PostNet through two major economic downturns, wars, and the demands of shifting technology which led to the metamorphosis of a mail and parcel business into America’s neighborhoods business centers. Zealously embracing change and leading transformation has been the number one driver behind the success of PostNet. But we all know that driving change alone does not create the type of loyalty that is evident within PostNet’s network of franchisees and the clients they serve. There has to be more, and Steve answers that question for me when he says: “We have an honest, open, and inclusive policy with our franchisees. We illustrate our company culture and values. We don’t simply talk about it, we live it.”

Steve Greenbaum has an infectious enthusiasm for his company, its mission, and its core values. He shares: “At PostNet we have a saying, ‘Care for the Whole.’ To us that means to be thoughtful and considerate of others, to make a difference in someone’s life, to go the extra mile. It’s not just about the individual, but the greater good of the organization. We want to partner, employ and participate with people that ‘Champion Change’ and always look for opportunities to improve. We believe in personal responsibility or ‘Owning It’ and also believe in being engaged to ensure everyone is adhering to the same system and standards. We know that ‘Attitude Plus Execution Equals Performance’ and that one without the other is not excellence. And finally, we will strive to ‘Lead with Clarity’ and purpose to ensure a positive image and experience with our organization and brand. These are the core values that we use as a filter when hiring, managing, training or growing our organization.

In order to thrive during the last 20 years, PostNet’s business model has required transformation of unusual magnitude in the world of franchising in response to change in consumer demands and the rapid as well as massive technological advances experienced during this time. Yet, Steve Greenbaum’s greatest challenge has not been devising the appropriate response to these concerns. He clarifies where the real effort has gone: “Not all people move at the same speed, nor are they able to equally embrace change. And, when you are dealing with more than 700 locations worldwide, leading and driving change well can be challenging.”  “So, how do you do it?” I ask him. “It really comes down to creating and leveraging the culture and the values that drive our organization. We lead with clarity. We articulate the reasons for change and are clear about the change itself. We start early with each franchisee prospect, helping them understand that in order to be ‘the business behind every small business in America and other countries,’ we must learn to live and operate in a dynamic state of change,” Steve explains.

In Steve’s experience the key to replicating success in franchising is to ensure the simplification and standardization of the business’ processes and procedures. PostNet has been able to successfully grow the business exactly that way. He shares: “For us, the breakthrough came when we realized we had a three-legged stool for everything we did. Selling process, use of tools and our technical platform are the three legs that we can consistently apply to every one of our products and services. Once franchisees master the methodology, then they can apply it successfully over and over again across the business.” Steve adds: “Of course, you need to start with an executable business model; then you must make sure your franchisees fit your ideal candidate profile in terms of skills, attitudes and talents. And, you must provide the systems, tools and processes that will give them every possible opportunity for them to succeed. But simplification and standardization help people learn quickly and replicate successful outcomes.”

What could a man that has successfully led his company away from so many challenges and through continuous transformation into an improved version possibly want to do differently? Steve Greenbaum’s answer is short and powerful: “I would have more company-owned units, because it allows us to be more hands on, and being responsible for the daily operations of a location motivates me and inspires me. It always has. Owning more corporate locations also allows us to test and put into practice changes before rolling them out to the entire system. I think it is a key component of responsible franchising.”

When it comes to advice to people considering franchising their company, Steve says: “The last thing I want to do is to sound discouraging, but it is crucial for people considering franchising their businesses to make sure they are doing it for the right reasons and to be careful of what they wish for. Franchising is not for everybody, nor is it a quick get-rich scheme. It is a great responsibility. You are dealing with real people who trust you with their lives and the future of their families. You need to weigh the benefits and the risks and decide if you will be able to do it right.”

Every franchise system requires a certain level of reinvention from time to time, perhaps not to the extent required by PostNet, but change is a must to sustain franchise success. The question is: How can companies weather the storms, learn, and evolve the way PostNet has done? For the answer, we only need to look at the leadership of the organization. To be like a Phoenix and consciously choose transformation into a better, improved company takes the courage, passion, commitment to learning and caring for others that Steve Greenbaum exhibits.

 

NOTE: If you want to learn more about Steve Greenbaum and PostNet, make sure to watch Undercover Boss, Season 4 Episode 5.

 

Comments

  1. True. We’re not only helping people but the our country’s economy as well. Great post. – Manang of Franchise Philippines

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