In the end, it’s all about performance. And when times get hard and budgets get tight, performance should be high on the list of online businesses.
The issue that I see when I work with online firms is that the first item to be on the chopping block is the performance budget. Performance appears to be equated with expense.
What name I have in the arena of Web performance that I do have I made during the last economic slowdown in 2000-2002 by writing and evangelizing some very simple facts:

  1. HTTP compression is easy to set up and can reduce the bandwidth that your text files require to download. This is even more important as more and more companies build complete applications in Javascript.
  2. Allow others to cache what is cacheable. Offload your site to edge and corporate servers, and let them do the heavy lifting.
  3. Enable HTTP persistence. Fewer TCP connection requests make downloads run more effectively and take advantage of the benefits of the efficiencies of built into TCP.

Steve Souders’ book reminds people that designers can help this process by designing a proper page. Andy King’s book (my review) reminds people that Business and Technical Operations need to work together to reach the same goal.
So, rather than seeing this time of contraction as a challenge, take it as a chance to solidify your performance position. Retrench, re-examine, and reveal your performance issues. Integrate Web performance into the day-to-day operations of the entire business, and work within your current configuration.
The companies that learn to work more effectively and efficiently with a reduced budget and fewer people will come out on the other side as those poised to take advantage of the opportunities that are still out there.