Spring training is a chance for baseball managers to get to know the newly acquired players in key positions on their teams and to reacquaint themselves with the returning talent already in place for the season.


Smart business managers take the same approach with their companies and get to know the new products and services available that could save them time and money in the New Year, while reacquainting themselves with the reliable, secure systems already in place. One way to make sure that you get the most out of your team this year while also managing your business practices and costs is to build a quality relationship with your local post office. Here is a list of ways to help build that strong relationship.


As a business mailer, there's a place for you in your local Postal Customer Council (PCC). To join the PCC nearest you or to get information on upcoming meetings, events and more, visit the National PCC website at www.usps.com/pcc. You can register from this site to receive the PCC Insider, your electronic gateway to information about the U.S. Postal Service, PCCs and issues that affect the mailing industry. Your local PCC can also host a Professional Certificate Program or request USPS guest speakers to address postal topics that will help you grow your business.


Read your trade magazines. Just like this one. They contain information on new products and services to keep you up to date on key issues.


Ask your letter carrier to have your local small business specialist contact you. These Postal Service employees are located throughout the country and would love to help you with your mailing options and solutions.

Stop in at your local post office and ask to speak to the postmaster. Postmasters are happy to talk to their local patrons. Not only does it build better relationships with their customers, it helps postmasters in a new USPS program called Business Connect. The program is designed specifically to get them in contact with local business owners you to find out what your needs are and look for ways to make doing business with the Postal Service more "Quick, Easy, Convenient."


Find the areas on the Postal Service website that are designed with business customers in mind. These sections highlight the online areas that business owners find most beneficial. Just log on to www.usps.com/business/.


If you'd like to find new postage printing equipment or look for a rate-shopping system, the USPS has partnerships with  companies like Endicia, Stamps.com and Pitney Bowes and others. Working through these partner companies allows you to rate shop or print labels and postage more quickly, saving you time and money on your shipping. Remember, most outside companies charge a registration fee. Your local PCC or small business specialist would be happy to explain these companies to you and show you what each one has
to offer.


USPS Business Development Centers are being rolled out nationally. These postal
facilities are designed specifically to help local business shippers and mailers with advice and information to make using the Postal Service easier for its customers.


The Postal Service is continuing to share its message of "Quick, Easy, Convenient" shipping. We are doing this through lobby activities, networking events, hands-on classes, trade shows, expos and seminars. At these events, business owners can learn about new products and services or find a local contact to visit your site and assist you with your mailing needs. For a list of events in your neighborhood, contact your local post office small business specialist.


For more information about the items listed here, who your local contacts are or other questions, email the Postal Service at: packageservices@usps.com. A postal rep will get back to you with answers or the name of a local contact person.


If you do large mailings, you may want to speak to your local post office's bulk mail
acceptance clerk. The clerk can go over guidelines, answer questions, assist with forms or offer advice on how to expedite the mail acceptance process.


Need help designing a mailing or checking if the piece you've created meets mailing requirements? Contact your post office or small business specialist and ask to speak to your local mailpiece design specialist, whose job it is to assist customers with meeting the mailing requirements for their pieces. He or she can assist with label placement issues, size and shape limitations, postage placement options and more.


The Postal Service has products and services to help companies, large or small, do business. We continually strive to make it easier to use the Postal Service. With more than 50,000 locations to purchase stamps, the usps.com website, partnerships with online postage providers, Automated Postal Centers and employee outreach programs designed to build business relationships with its customers, the opportunities are endless for building a quality relationship that will prepare your team for the future. Not just this season, but every season.