Operating a business in the present economy can be tough. Operating it at a profit is tougher yet. It takes courage, a thoughtful approach to every dollar spent, and the cooperation of the entire personnel force of a company- among other things we should probably add. Reduction in the number of personnel employed might be as starting point. Marginal or nonproductive employees must be weeded out. Further, management can adopt the practice of simply not replacing certain of the personnel who leave for one reason or another. Whereas the usual budget routing is to start with last year's budget, try the angle of zero budgeting, which means that each overhead account is built up from zero rather than on a basis of what the customary budget has been. Another approach to overhead costs is called participative budgeting. This means asking the person involved in a particular expenditure how much of an item is needed rather than just taking a wild guess on the basis of previous years' usage. Other ideas: in advertising, try for referrals; they're the best form of ad. For bad debts, hire an attorney who is really experienced in collections. Some attorneys have no real interest in this type of work and it will be of only secondary priority in their effort. For communications, plan long distance phone calls carefully. Time their placement for when you feel relatively sure the person called will be in. Person to person calls are good economy if you're pretty sure the person will not be in or if you have learned from experience that there will be a long wait before he comes on the line. For miscellaneous accounts, get rid of this type of account. Assign necessary items to a standard account.