The recession's slow recovery has many small businesses reluctant to shift out of survival mode. The U.S. Small Business Administration compiled a list of 14 guidelines and practices designed to help business owners manage through the economic downturn and offers advice on how to add them to their operations toolbox as growth returns. We've listed the main points below, but check out the full list for more information on each topic. Thanks to the Southern Building Material Association for pointing out this list.

  1. Watch your inventories carefully, but don't hold them down so tight that you'll lose sales.

  2. Monitor your cash flow dilligently.

  3. Prioritize, and eliminate nonessential expenses.

  4. Reduce or stretch out debt and build up captial.

  5. Become more aggressive with collections.

  6. Spend smart while ensuring that you have the capacity to effectively do business.

  7. Strengthen your banking relationships, but make them aware of your financial position.

  8. Sublet rented space to reduce overhead and generate income.

  9. Look into new markets.

  10. If you need to hire, consider part-time and contract workers

  11. Make sure that customer service improves as your customer base grows

  12. Focus on short-term, tactical advertising and marketing campaigns

  13. Use this "slack period" to improve employee training

  14. Ask for employee input when making decisions about boosting productivity, cutting hours, or reassigning jobs.