I do a fair amount of strategic coaching with fellow info-entrepreneurs as well as corporate and specialized librarians, and one issue that frequently comes up is having to pull back from providing the level of information services that we want to provide. How so?
Early in my library career, the library budget was cut significantly. Our reaction was to cut back on staff, reduce the funding of professional development, and otherwise cannibalize our operation. Then I watched as Congress cut the Department of Interior's budget, which resulted in a severe reduction in the funds for the National Park Service, which is under Interior. How did the NPS react? By making Congress hurt. They very publicly closed the Washington Monument, with a sign directing unhappy tourists to the other end of the Mall, where members of Congress had their offices. It usually took no more than a few days of being flooded by unhappy constituents for Congress to rethink its spending priorities and restore the NPS budget.
I learned from that, and the next time the library budget was cut, the first thing I eliminated was the popular daily news digest. I announced to all the readers why it was being "suspended", and asked for their comments on whether this service should be re-funded. Sure enough, it didn't take long before I had the budget restored. It's not a pretty process, but neither is eating into the behind-the-scenes budget and not allowing library clients to see the impact of the lost funding. Instead, bringing all the library's stakeholders into the discussion ensured that the people who held the purse strings knew that we had a posse.
I just put this principle of "share the pain" into action again, but it was hard. I extensively edit a client's newsletter which she sends out to her key contacts. She recently had to cut my budget significantly and we agreed that I would do only a small amount of high-level editing instead of my full editing services. I still find myself tempted to just tweak the wording a little bit to make it clearer, or dig into the web sites of a company she is profiling, or just clean up this chart a little... Then I remind myself that, if she can't see a significant drop in the amount of editorial support I give, she will never bump me up to my original fee. So I sit on my hands as I read, now, and just keep reminding myself that the only way she will decide that my editorial skills are worth the added expense is to be without them.