What's it really like to start a business today? In its January 2000 issue, Inc. magazine started following the sagas of five young companies over a one-year period. The conclusion 12 months later? "Nothing -- nothing -- went as expected," according to Inc. magazine's update in the January 2001 issue.

Unanticipated events continued even after the January 2001 issue had gone to press. In early December 2000, edu.com, one of the five young companies included in the Start-Up Diaries, laid off 39 employees, approximately 40% of its workforce. "It was heartbreaking," founder Adam Kanner reported to Inc. on December 19, 2000. Because of the timing and the magazine's deadlines, the layoffs are not reflected in Kanner's diary entry in the January 2001 issue of Inc.

Want to follow these young companies' stories? Here are all five installments of the Start-Up Diaries.

January 2000 issue: The Initial Profiles
edu.com: Mother Is the Necessity of Invention
Edu.com founder Adam Kanner needed the highest-powered talent he could get. And he thought he knew just where to find it.

Application Technologies: Plan B-Minus
His business plan didn't make the grade, but Johann Verheem got high marks for vision.

10 Minute Manicure: Three Women and a Kiosk
The founders of 10 Minute Manicure dreamed up the business in just one hour by the pool. Their idea ofoffering fast manicures in airport kiosks was a simple one.But would it fly?

Fúxito Worldwide: The Player
Why would Richie Powell, a college student and talentedathlete, ditch the sport he'd worked his whole life tomaster? For the dream of an Internet start-up.

Inca Quality Foods: Moonlight over Indiana
Luis Espinoza had been moonlighting to build a Hispanic food distribution business. But there was no way he'd quit his day job. What's a two-career guy to do?

Updates
April 2000 issue: The Forks in Their Roads
June 2000 issue: Gone: One Cover Boy
August 2000 issue: A Vexing Catch-22
January 2001 issue: Year One.

Copyright © 2001 G+J USA Publishing