Your tax dollars at work. Imagine yourself a novice entrepreneur, thinking (as many are) about starting a business in your home. Imagine that you turned to your government -- that's right, the Small Business Administration -- for advice, ordering Starting and Managing a Business from Your Home and The Business Plan for Homebased Business.

Well, we did just that, only to find our worst fears about the SBA confirmed. On page one of Starting and Managing we were told to ask ourselves, "Do I have what it takes to be an entrepreneur?" We had figured we'd find that out by starting a business -- but hey, you can't be too careful. So we took a quiz to determine our Entrepreneurial Quotient. Sample question: "In courting the opposite sex, did you tend to go for one person at a time as opposed to playing the field?" Aw, shucks. "Most entrepreneurs preferred one person because to play the field would have taken too much time away from business activities."

In search of more solid information, we turned to The Business Plan. Alas, it began not with an explanation of P&L statements but with yet another quiz, this one on evaluating our business idea. We proposed, uh, selling iguanas by mail -- then we scored ourselves, one to 10, according to the booklet's instructions. My level of interest: 10. Personal strength: 9 (nobody's perfect). Market strength (let's be honest): 2. Total: 21 points out of a possible 30 -- "probably a winner," according to the SBA's start-up gurus.

Still, we have our doubts. Both about iguanas by mail and about the net worth of these publications.