I think a lot of people try to make this harder than it is. Business is always about increasing revenue and cutting costs.
In a recession, now is a good time to look at those expenditures you've taken for granted. Renegotiate with suppliers for better terms, shop your insurance coverage, pay less for advertising, which leads to the next point.
I said pay less, not cut. In a down economy, you've got to get your name out there more. Look for alternative ways to do so. For the right business, a creative and strategic social media campaign can give incredible results at a fraction of the cost of traditional media. At the very least, a business should be able to renegotiate better terms with their existing marketing partners.
Lastly, form new 'partnerships'. Give other people and businesses a reason to promote you. Who has a vested interest in your company's success? What other companies out there are constantly looking for the same kind of client you are? Forming a strategic alliance with them can decrease your marketing costs while increasing its effectiveness.
Furthermore .... gaining a reputation for exceptional service is one of the primary keys to success in this economy.
Managing your costs, regardless of whether the product you are providing is service or hard goods, is critical.
Determining the optimum price point for your product or service, such that your customers and clients feel that they are getting “real value” for what they are spending.
… and I know that this is a 4th point, but …
Small business owners need to be adaptable to change in customers needs or wants, unless you are fortunate enough to “corner the market” on something unique or that is a necessity ... but that usually has a limited "shelf life". Whether you can influence the change in your customers needs or wants through being innovative in what you are providing, or whether it is the market that you are in which is changing, being proactive or responsive quickly to changes may be critical.. A small business cannot survive, even by providing the very best of service, if the “product” they are providing is no longer “relevant”.