The Frost is on the Pumpkin-Big Time!

By Dawn Lospaluto
In October 31, 2011

It snowed in Denver last week and it snowed here in New Jersey this weekend. Now October snow may not be news in Denver, but it certainly is in New Jersey. We had anywhere from 6”-12” or so of the (anything but fluffy) white stuff, and our Connecticut neighbors fared even worse, with upward of 20” on the ground.

Last Friday we were laughing off the predictions of snow with typical Jersey attitude—we won’t have any real snow before Halloween, the forecasters are just making a big deal out of nothing, we’ll probably just get a little dusting on the lawn. By Saturday afternoon, with the wind howling, the temperature falling through the 30s, leaf-covered tree limbs crashing down on every block from the weight of water-logged snow/ice, and power out in neighborhood after neighborhood, the humor was long gone.

This was no teenage mischief-night-eve prank; it was a no-holds-barred full-scale Halloween weekend trick Mother Nature had pulled on us.

After the shoveling and scraping, with the chain saws and chippers still in full force and many residents seeking warmth in the homes of relatives and friends unaffected by the power outages, one thought remains: No matter what you’ve experienced before, no matter how sure you are that something is unlikely to happen, something you never thought would happen actually can, and probably will, at some time or another.

You might say we’ve had a similar “trick” pulled on our industry when it comes to the storm of the Great Recession. While we were already battling the impact of structural change, along came a dreadful economic cycle that proved far deeper and longer than anyone had a reasonable right to expect. Yes, there were warnings, but no warning could have convinced us that things would be—and continue to be—this bad.

The lesson from the storm—and the economy—is a simple one. Be prepared for anything. Run worst-case scenario projections and make real-world plans to deal with them if they should materialize. As we move into 2012 budget season, there is no better time to think about what you would do if you lost a key customer, found that you had depended too heavily on old services now falling out of favor, or decided to turn a blind eye to digital media that are part of most of today’s communications packages.

Decisions have consequences. Deciding to be prepared even for the things you don’t think—or don’t want to think—will happen may be the most prudent decision of all.

Dawn Lospaluto

Epicomm Senior Director of Communications, Dawn has been the editor of Epicomm 's "Bottom Line" magazine and its predecessor publications, "NAPL Business Review," Printing Manager," and "The Journal of Graphic Communications Management," for 20 years. She also writes and edits several Epicomm member print and electronic newsletters, including [Re]View, Management Bulletin, Highlights, and Discover; press releases; and various marketing materials; and oversees Epicomm 's book publishing program. Dawn previously served as corporate managing editor for Allied (now Honeywell) Corporation and as a reporter and editor for New Jersey's largest evening newspaper. She is a graduate of Douglass College (Rutgers University) and holds an M.A. degree from Fairleigh Dickinson University, where she has served on the adjunct faculty.

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