I am one of those having trouble staying afloat in a declining economy and the current "fear of flying" epidemic doesn't help much either. As my income is based on tourism, these two things are very difficult (but not impossible) to contend with.
Had it not been for WmW, I would undoudtedly already be out of business. I am and have been in the unfortunate (or fortunate) situation of *living on the edge* and within weeks of bankruptcy for more than a year and a half ... and since the nortorious Inktomi crisis which nearly toppled me.
However, my disadvantages over this past year and a half are rapidly becoming my advantages. My competitors will now HAVE to downsize and tighten their belts and some won't be able to.
My overheads are very, very low and my web site visibilty is climbing exponetially with each passing SE update. After September 11th, I didn't have a sale until yesterday when I rec'd two, very lucrative sales. One came from Google, the other from Yahoo. Both were as a direct result of the last Google update and a climb in search results.
One of my biggest competitors has already gone under and I heard that they haven't had a single sale in two months. There are grumblings throughout the industry and my guess is that by December or January, I will have 2/3 the competition I have today.
If and when I can manage it, I intend to submit more pages to Yahoo and will likely get involved in Google's adwords programme to try to increase the site's visibility even more.
I agree that a downturn in the economy can serve to bolster those companies who are prepared to suffer the immediate loss of sales. Since I can't get much lower ... I have nowhere to go but up. At least that's my story and I'm sticking to it!
In the meantime, I am diligently working at making my site number one through providing the best content out there and spending all my spare time reading WmW and learning as much as I possible can about Google, Fast, Wisenut and Teoma.