NFL owners are meeting this week to discuss the status of negotiations with players. The goal is to ink a new collective bargaining agreement.

But for all the attention the lockout is getting from sports fans, it’s small business owners who could suffer the most if the professional football season doesn’t start on time. Indeed, many small businesses that rely on the NFL to keep their business running.

"We have a number of clients-from hotel operators to restaurateurs-that are concerned about defaulting on their loans if there were a lost NFL season," says Doug Long, president of Covendium. "Our clients have already seen a drop in revenue from the economic downturn, and the banks are not willing to bridge any gap caused by the lockout-for those clients we must go to private capital to line up emergency lines of credit."

So what can your small business to do minimize the impacts of an NFL lockout? Well, revert to what you would do in a bad economy, which shouldn’t be too hard since we’ve just survived one. Hopefully, the NFL will not strike and business will continue as usual. But if it does, here are seven things you can do to help make your business more resilient, now courtesy of American Express Open.

  1. Look to “low-hanging fruit” technology to become more efficient.

  2. Re-examine every one of your operational services.

  3. Cut existing staff only as a last resort.

  4. Don’t cut marketing.

  5. Focus on getting more sales from existing customers rather than new customers.

  6. For start-ups, start selling something ASAP.

  7. Don’t skimp on your bookkeeper or accountant.

Check out the latest update on the NFL lockout: