I know you’re weathering the storm of the economy these days, trying to keep that snorkel above water, and wondering how you’re going to get from Q3 to Q4 and then hopefully to Q1 again. As much as you have tried, there is a good chance that cost cutting is inevitable for you. But if it is, make it invisible. I have a friend who works in a resort community where skiing is the primary focus. During the winter, all the shops and restaurants in the community are open long hours, seven days a week. But, come May, you’re lucky if you can find an open store to buy a roll of toilet paper. Businesses close their doors because there is no traffic, which equals no sales. It is the time when these communities, where business is driven by the season, cut back. And it is clearly visible. But during a down economy, where it’s external forces (and not the weather) that may be forcing you to re-assess some of your line items, consider what your customers see and experience with you – and then stay away from those areas completely! If a customer needs technical support at 5 p.m., there had better be a service provider available via phone to help. If you shorten your customer service hours, it will be visible. Look at the areas of your business that your customer doesn’t see. How can you reduce your expenses here, without sacrificing what you provide to your customers? If you can do this successfully, the loyalty you earned from your customers during the good times will get you through the bad times. Otherwise, you’ll be starting from square one very quickly.