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Gonna Be A Tough Year Survive '09 by reducing expenses and watching cash flow.

By Mark Henricks

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

The last year of this decade is shaping up to be the most challenging in a long time for entrepreneurs. A range of statistics, from credit availability to consumer spending, appear to point toward a 2009 that will be, if not a train wreck, at least a time for caution. Economists tracking the indicators say that entrepreneurs have plenty of cause for concern, although not all the indices are negative.

Perhaps the most telling statistic is the sharp increase in the number of business owners planning to reduce business and capital expenses. In August 2008, 49 percent said they intended to cut back, and by October, that figure had risen to 69 percent. "That's huge," says Alice Bredin, a small-business market researcher and advisor to OPEN from American Express Small Business Monitor. "That's a lot of businesses not spending."

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