Enduring The Economy — Staying Afloat

With print sales down around 2 percent last year, and projected by NAPL to be down in the 2.5 to 3 percent range for 2009, Paparozzi doesn’t anticipate a meaningful upturn until the end of the calendar year. Still, he warns that circling the wagons and hunkering down until the economy improves can be a fatal mistake. Why?

A recent NAPL economic report indicated that the gap between industry leaders and the rest of the pack widened during the 2001-2003 recession. The leaders, Paparozzi explains, were willing to make the moves during the recession that would enable them to capitalize better than most when the economic clouds parted. And, with our industry undergoing structural changes—such as shifting trends in how clients choose to market and advertise via electronic sources—Paparozzi’s old adage of a rising tide lifting all boats no longer holds true.

He was gracious enough to share an executive brief that he penned with Joseph Vincenzino and Kong Wang, titled “Choosing Not to Participate in the Recession.” The paper, abridged from NAPL State-of-the-Industry presentations and reports produced by its Printing Economic Research Center, offers eight tips for emerging from the economic downturn in a stronger position. A brief look at each:

Take financial actions. Some suggestions include having a short-term cash budget, securing a secondary “backup” bank and scrubbing accounts receivable.

Create a cost reduction task force. Find the fat, and take care not to cut into lean muscle.

Step up marketing.
Don’t deem this area as expendable. Review your programs and kick them to the curb, if they’re not working.

Control the external message. Don’t let customers wonder how you’re doing. Stay in front of them via marketing and one-on-one meetings.

Control the internal message. Perhaps the only thing worse than the truth is the unknown. Make employees feel like they are a part of the solution by providing them with status reports.

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