Review every service. Occasionally we use business services for ages without recognizing that there may be cheaper and better alternatives on the market. Consider your computer, fax machines, printers, and telecommunications. For example, you might want to try out services like Skype, wireless phones or VoIP with calling circles to cut corners on telecommunications expenses.

Expect technology to become more efficient. A lot of us may not be utilizing technology to its highest potential. Look for ways to use it to help bring down other expenses and bring in more sales without being forced to hire more people. Consider free or almost free technology from the Internet, such as Google Apps for business, iPhone in Business and many more.

Marketing is a must! When consumer spending lags, be sure it's your competitors' sales that drag, not yours. Be more in-your-face and creative at marketing than your rivals. It’s a chance to bring in customers and help expand your business when the economy picks up.

Concentrate on acquiring more sales from existing customers. It can be cheaper and less intense to sell more products or upgrades to current customers than to produce new ones. If you have to make a decision, center on upselling current customers against new customer acquisition.

Start selling now! If you operate a startup, don’t wait until the last minute when your product is absolutely perfect. And if your primary product isn't a big-ticket item with extended sales cycles, think of some lower-priced products to sell. Negative cash flow is the killer for smaller firms, you do not want to run out of money before the real race starts.

Pay your accountant. How you manage your cash can make or break you during hard times. Now is the time to take control of your business numbers. Once a week—even daily—attending to your numbers will give you a forecast of problems and buy you more time to adapt.

Let go of current staff as a last resort. Many small businesses don’t have a lot staff in the first place. So relinquishing staff frequently means breaking your business off at the knees. And every layoff may have a depressing effect on the other staff. I’d rather ask staff to take temporary pay cuts, or get rid of a few benefits, than let go of people… unless backed into a corner.

"Nothing in the world can take the place of persistence. Talent will not; nothing is more common than unsuccessful men with talent. Genius will not; unrewarded genius is almost a proverb. Education will not; the world is full of educated derelicts. Persistence and determination are omnipotent. The slogan "press on" has solved and always will solve the problems of the human race." ~ Calvin Coolidge