Leading Silicon Valley venture firm held an emergency meeting Tuesdayto tell its portfolio companies to get ready for the worst, GigaOm reported Wednesday.

To drive the point home, startups arriving to the gathering were greeted with a grave stone that said “RIP: Good Times.”

Many Silicon Valley companies have been wondering how — or if — the larger economic crisis may affect them. This is perhaps the surest sign yet that there’s no “if.”

“Things could get a lot worse than people think, and it will be a ‘more protracted downturn,’” Sequoia partners told companies, according to the report.

Startups are being told to cut expenses, and somehow survive a downturn that the firm thinks may last years. This wasn’t just general advice — presenting partners went through various components of company operations and specified how to cut.

Sequoia held a similar meeting when the last Silicon Valley bubble burst, as GigaOm’s Om Malik points out. Sequoia then managed to come out of that local recession with a huge exit from Google a few years later. The firm has a track record of bust survival not unlike its scarred but still-surviving namesakes up in the Sierra Nevadas.