I want to share the editorial letter I wrote for the November / December 2021 edition of MBC Today (volume 23 issue 6). Following it, I'll share an article that was published in the same edition that I co-wrote with my dear friends and colleagues, Seema and Fahim. This is the article referenced in one of the Ask Uncle Marty™ letters that I shared in yesterday's from-the-archives post.
The message of relationship-based business practices is something Seema, Fahim, and I have been pushing in our coaching and consulting for years, and something that we've been also promoting heavily through our work with the non-profit AMBC (Association of Mail & Business Centers) for which all three of us are all former board members; Fahim and I are also former board chairs, currently serving as official advisors to the board and ex officio Director of Motivation and Director of Communication, respectively).
Letter From the Editor
"What if the only things we woke up with tomorrow
I've seen and heard the above quote mentioned a few times in different places and different iterations, but can't find where it was first said. Most recently, I read a version of it in Jim Kwik's book, Limitless, which Fahim recommended in a recent issue of MBC Today. Regardless of its origin or exact phrasing, the quote has power. Gratitude is so important. Gratitude reminds us of what truly has value.
Speaking of gratitude, Thanksgiving will be here before we know it, and then the holiday rush will be in full swing. Are you ready for it? I've been connected to this industry for over 30 years, with plenty of holiday shipping seasons under my belt, and I have a gut feeling that this year will be entirely unique. I don't know exactly what to expect (other than to expect the unexpected), but I do know that it's essential that we get ready early and make it the best it can possibly be!
One of the best holiday preparation tips I've heard this year is to order early. Get the supplies you'll need to make it through the holiday shipping rush in hand as soon as possible. With supply chain issues all over the news and their effects very real on our own pending back orders, sourcing frustrations, and feelings of still-in-this-pandemic angst, there's a very good chance that ordering at what you in other years may think is a normal time will in fact be ordering too late. Make sure you have enough thermal labels, receipt paper rolls, tape, boxes, bags, and bubblepack in back stock before the bustling busy season begins.
Send your business's holiday cards as soon as possible so your clients and contacts know you're thinking of them. Decorate early. Blast those festive tunes. Brighten your neighborhood with sparkly displays and colorful lights and spread holiday cheer in your stores with warmth, kindness, and abundant gratitude.
Thank your guests and clients for their loyalty and support through the past nearly two years of trying times. Thank your teams for continuously doing their best to show up and work with you, despite what challenges they may be facing at home or school. Thank your family and friends for their patience with you as you've navigated recent uncertainty. And thank yourself for not giving up, but instead buckling down, pivoting, and growing through it all.
Please enjoy this issue of MBC Today. It's chock full of important articles, reminders, ideas, and stories that speak to gratitude and the relationship-based business model that we push at AMBC. We remain so grateful for all those who submit content, and for all of you who take the time to read this publication cover to cover...and then implement what you've gleaned from it in your businesses and lives.
As this is the November / December MBC Today issue, per tradition we'll be mailing it not only to all of our current AMBC Members, but also as a special gift to all of AMBC's contacts, including former members, prospective members, and friends of our non-profit organization. If you're getting this magazine only once per year, please visit and check out the benefits of membership, then log in to see your current membership status. We sometimes find that folks who get our eblasts and follow our social posts may not realize that they're not actually current AMBC Members and are missing out on so many of the other benefits of membership, including the other five issues of MBC Today that we send out each year. If you have trouble, email and Kim or Brad will get you set up.
I'm really excited to see all of you in Memphis next June! It's been so long since we've been able to have an in-person event and we're gearing up to make AMBC's Meetup in Memphis an outstanding four days of awesomeness, networking, education, and enjoyment. There are so many new AMBC Members to meet and so many old friends to catch up with. I can't wait!
With care and gratitude,
The Power of Relationship-Based Businessby Seema Mojawalla, Fahim Mojawalla, and Marty Johnson
This past summer, an energetic retired couple walked into Uncle Marty’s Shipping Office toting a heavy antique Singer sewing machine. They had just driven almost three hours across Upstate New York to get to Ithaca from Schenectady, based solely on a recommendation from a friend of theirs that Uncle Marty’s was going to give them the best service and packing expertise that they could find anywhere. The Singer machine was very important to them and needed to be packed as safely as possible, then shipped to their daughter in Scotland.
Seema and Fahim don’t allow bad words to be spoken at their store. They don’t use them in their own conversations, they don’t allow their team to use them, and they try their best to limit their guests from using them. It’s a simple choice that makes the environment at their business, Island Ship Center (ISC) in Grand Island, New York, a more positive, inclusive, non-offensive, and welcoming place. Do you know what one of the most-banned bad words at ISC is? It’s the word “customer.” And why is that a bad word? Well, “customer” refers to a transaction—an exchange of money for goods or services with not much deeper value to the interaction or relationship than that.
Marty met Rosie at a gift show a number of years ago. She had a booth selling her delightful line of greeting cards, Rosie’s Wonders. Marty loved her line and ordered a small tabletop display, picking out his favorite styles to sell at his shop. The quality of the cards was great and he thought they’d appeal to his market, adding more flavor to his catered, hand-selected mix of unique and hard-to-find greeting cards that Uncle Marty’s has become well known for.
Like most businesses, Island Ship Center (ISC) was dramatically affected by the pandemic. Being seven minutes from the Canadian border, ISC has many mailboxes (virtual and physical) for their Canadian guests. Fahim, Seema, and their entire team have personal relationships with every mailbox holder at ISC; they even purchased a separate iPhone in January 2021 to keep in touch with every mailbox and package holding guest via text message, making it easy to connect and follow up with their needs. As a result, they’ve seen an increase in their international shipping (specifically to Canada) by 35% in the past year; many clients who were frequenting other businesses for their mailbox needs switched to ISC’s mailbox and package holding services based on this relationship model and ISC’s service flexibility.
Positive relationships are essential, but keep in mind that some people just aren’t going to be your people...and that’s okay. There are jerks, egomaniacs, and all kinds of unkind, selfish people in this world. While you can’t always avoid them completely, you don’t have to give them any more of your time, effort, or emotion than absolutely necessary.
Relationships are found in all areas of business. We build them with our coworkers and teams, with our suppliers, with our carriers, with our drivers, with our communities, with our fellow entrepreneurs, with our neighbors, and with our clients and guests. Like most good things, relationships often start simply with a smile, a kind word, a show of faith, or a little encouragement. Once established, they may take some care to nurture, require a little more effort to build, and then come full circle when they get to the point of trust, advocacy, and genuine care for each other’s best interests. Really, it all boils down to the golden rule: treat others as you’d like to be treated yourself. With this simple formula, you have nowhere to go but up.