THERE'S A TIME TO REAP AND A TIME TO SOW. Right now, the data say there's less sowing going on. The number of startups continues to fall (chart). But young companies are doing well: 85% of CEOs at 451 outfits surveyed by PricewaterhouseCoopers report conditions are favorable. On average, revenues rose 22% last year, with 25% increases expected in 1999. Four out of five are planning new hires to boost their workforces an average of 16%. Rather than bulking up with new facilities or buyouts, these companies plan to firm and tone operations--spending on technology, marketing, and product development. Even among the less sexy small companies in a National Federation of Independent Business survey, the number planning capital spending in 1999 is at an all-time high.