INC.'s first Special Report on the state's small business climates must be read with care because it is a first report. We know from our experience with similar surveys that it takes two to three years of doing a particular report to find the best and most comprehensive ways of compiling them. We think this first report on the states gives as fair and accurate a picture of those factors analyzed as possible. We also know that each state can make a better case for its own achievements in its appeals to some particular kind of business or industry.

We will, however, engage in a continuing technical review of how to improve this report during the next year. We will talk with state officials, academic specialists, and small business leaders. And we will be particularly interested in our readers' response to the report, for which we've provided a postpaid card bound in at a page 94.

During the next months, we will also study what the executive and legislative branches of each state's government is doing to specifically improve its attractiveness to small businesses. We will select for special citation those states that haven taken the most promising steps for small business in certain areas: taxes, regulation, paperwork, capital, credit, procurement, data collection, management assistance, and others.

In 1980, the National Governor's Association adopted a resolution at their annual meeting in Denver, Colo., which signaled a higher priority for small business at the state level. In part it said, "From a state and local economic development standpoint, small businesses offer considerable potential for ensuring economic diversity, stability, and long-term growth. The governors pledge their cooperation in working at both the state and national levels to encourage the growth and development of America's small business."

Since that conference, we've heard of some promising beginnings in what we think could be called the "50 State Small Business Sweepstakes," in which there are literally no losers.