We know we promised to unveil the winner of our Business Bake-Off once January rolled around. But the overwhelming response, and our desire to give each entry its due attention, have conspired to threaten our January commitment.

So we'll need an extension, which we assure you will not go beyond President's Day, for our verdict on who should be carved into Inc.'s very own Rushmore of entrepreneurship.

One thing I can report, though, is that the entries roamed far and wide over the topography of the American economy, and from companies in various stages of development. We heard from technocrats and tinkerers, college students and cranks, and a passel of entrepreneurs targeting the New Age, Conscious Consumer.

There was also a wide range of submissions themselves, ranging from a corporate brochure to more detailed business information. I have to say, though, that overall, it wasn't an impressive display of business skill. That's the whole idea of the Bake-Off, true -- to help a worthy company market itself.

Nonetheless, the struggle that so many had to present even a basic picture of their companies -- let alone a disciplined, differentiated, market-driven case -- reminded me, candidly, of why the failure rate for new businesses is so high. Life is tough enough for entrepreneurs. Too many of them make it even tougher.

Stay tuned.