Recent surveys from the National Federation of Independent Business and Warrilow and Co. indicate an unease has set in for small-business owners, who are less able to cope with economic hard times than are large corporations, writes USA TODAY columnist Steve Strauss. "Starbucks can close 600 stores and save a wad of cash when things go south, but all we can do is to try to somehow wring out a tad more savings by tightening the belt and to keep hustling for business." Strauss offers strategies for lean times that he has gleaned from other small-business owners.

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