Suzanne McGee's October article, "Breaking Free From Budgets," reminded me of how I once heard budgets referred to as "pornography"--a fantasy about how the author would like the world to look, having no relation to reality, designed to titillate, stimulate, and motivate the reader, but ultimately resulting in alienation and despair!

Michael Shekter
Director of Innovation
Maple Leaf Foods

If you can accurately report your expenses and revenues, and you have plans for growth and emergencies, you have a budget. Calling it something else might make it sound less intimidating, but won't essentially change the process or its value. Whatever new acronym or excuse anyone wants to use to avoid them, formal budgets work for my clients and myself.

Hank Rowley
ARQ Consulting

Rites of Passage

I was saddened to learn of the passing of Bernie Goldhirsh, Inc.'s founder, in Bo Burlingham's moving "Legacy" article [September]. Reflecting on my own contact with Bernie made me realize how much influence Inc. has had on my entrepreneurial journey. It was Inc. that first helped build my confidence to take the start-up plunge in 1988 and then provided crucial knowledge about growing a company that just wasn't available anywhere else. From open-book management to use of core values, I can trace most of my company's key business tenets to the pages of Inc.

Fifteen years after my company's launch, I remain an avid Inc. reader and a huge beneficiary of the magazine's multifaceted impact on the entrepreneurial climate. My regret now is that it took me too long to realize it was the efforts of Bernie Goldhirsh that set the stage in enabling the personal development that was instrumental to my starting and growing a company.

Martin Babinec
President and CEO
TriNet Group Inc.
San Leandro, Calif.

I was sorry to read about the loss of the founder of Inc. magazine. I have been a subscriber since 1983, when I started my first consulting business. At that time, yours was the only source of information that focused on the entrepreneur.

I never knew who the founder of Inc. was until now. But I can understand his passion and curiosity about all things. I'm glad that his legacy lives on. Please pass my condolences as well as those of all Inc. readers on to his family.

Ed Weber
Northville, Mich.
Less Is More for Entrepreneurs

Elizabeth Wasserman's article "Fixing the SBA" [September] offers some good suggestions for adjusting the agency's financing approaches. But what she fails to recognize is that most small businesses are founded not with strong financial resources but with a huge entrepreneurial drive and passion to succeed.

Venture capital is less popular since the fall of the dot-coms, and maybe that's a good thing. Many entrepreneurs have seen what happens when money is readily available and handed over to concepts with no effective model for generating revenue. Furthermore, as SBA administrator Hector Barreto pointed out in the story, "A loan of $50,000 is much more able to create jobs than necessarily a loan of a million or $2 million." Wasserman failed to give proper credit to that critical fact. Instead, she mocked the job creation statistic by saying that a $50,000-created job is "neither as well-paying nor as secure as one created as part of a $2 million investment, we're willing to bet." She offered no hard evidence for that theory.

Though many would love to know what it feels like to have "too much money," the best entrepreneurs succeed by maximizing their limited resources and creatively marketing themselves to their target customers. The SBA helps small-business owners leverage the loans it gives by also serving as an incredible source of information, guidance, and support to these small-business owners.

Nancy Michaels
Impression Impact
Concord, Mass.


On page 35 in the October issue, we incorrectly stated that the mathematician Archimedes discovered a method to determine whether a crown was made of pure gold while bathing at home in Athens. Archimedes made his discovery in Syracuse. On page 69, we misspelled the name of Monica Chitnis.

Tim Edmondson is the co-founder and chief designer of American Ironhorse Motorcycles. His name was spelled incorrectly and his current title was misstated in the 2003 Inc. 500 issue. In the same issue, the middle initial of Campbell Alliance CEO John J. Campbell was incorrect. Inc. also wrongly implied that LeRoy Robbins, CEO of TruStar Solutions, was a major league outfielder for the Oakland A's. Robbins played for the A's in the minors. On page 105, we incorrectly implied that Sports Clips was an Inc. 500 company. The photo of Daniel Crockett on page 58 was by John Chiasson and the photo of Greg Koch on page 61 was by Diana Koenigsberg. Both photographs were wrongly attributed to others.