This report is based in part on an executive compensation survey conducted by INC. and Peat, Marwick, Mitchell & Co., the accounting and management consulting firm. A four-page questionnaire was mailed to a random sample of 22,500 INC. subscribers in February and the 516 responses were tabulated and cross-referenced by Peat Marwick.

The respondents represent small companies -- 95% of them privately held -- in 48 states and the District of Columbia, with 21% headquartered in the Northeast, 15% in the Southeast, 34% in the Midwest, 9% in the Southwest, and the remainder in the West.

By industry category, the responses were 27% business services, 20% professional services, 22% wholesaling/retailing, 13% durable manufacturing, 7% nondurable manufacturing, 7% construction, and 4% finance/insurance.

INC. senior editor Mark K. Metzger coordinated the project. Peat Marwick's participation was provided through its Human Resources Consulting Group, with analysis by PM/Pay, the firm's compensation survey unit. Technical support was supplied by Peter T. Chingos, national practice director of Peat Marwick's Executive Compensation and Personnel Practices.

Complete results of the survey are available in a 25-page report published by INC. and Peat Marwick. The confidentiality of all responses is protected. To obtain a copy of the report, send a written request and a check for $55 to INC. Executive Compensation Study, Attn: John Titus, 38 Commercial Wharf, Boston, MA 02110, or call (800) 372-0018. In Massachusetts, call (617) 227-4700.