Now's the time to recognize your own limitations. If you often feel as though you're winging it when it comes to the intricacies of financial management, here are two worthwhile guides:

Financial Basics of Small Business Success (Crisp Publications, 415-323-6100, 1994, $15.95), by James O. Gill, helps business owners decide "which reports to read and understand." Bravo. Discussions of tools such as pro forma cash-flow charts may seem off-putting at first, but anyone willing to devote a few hours to this 235-page guide will enhance his or her ability to analyze the financial realities of a growing business.

Budgeting for a Small Business (also from Crisp Publications, 1994, $15.95), by Terry Dickey, places the emphasis on all aspects of the financial-planning process -- including useful breakdowns of the different issues concerning start-ups and "surviving" businesses, as well as companies that are expanding and seeking capital.

* * *