As I was scrolling through my Twitter feed yesterday, I came across another report proclaiming to have determined the best states for business — this time from CNBC.

CNBC’s report hits most of the right notes in identifying what makes a location ideal for businesses: a well-educated workforce, the cost of doing business, the number of business regulations, quality of life, and access to venture capital. Still, I almost always hesitate to use reports like these in my articles. Simply framing a state as good or bad for business is misguided, and I’d caution startup leaders in Heartlandstates against reading too much into lists like these.

In my opinion, the biggest issue tech startups in the Heartland face is not starting up, but scaling quickly enough to become an industry leader — without burning out. What’s needed to do that are factors that are hard to quantify: executives and venture capitalists who know how to properly steer a fast-growing business, as well as customers and local talent who are willing to take a chance on startups.

These reports also miss whether a city is becoming a leader for businesses in a certain industry, like manufacturing or SaaS. No city or state is going to be an ideal location for every type of business — nor should it be.

Do you find that “best places for businesses” reports typically get something wrong about your city or state? Send me your thoughts via email. And as always, thanks for reading. You can also sign up here for VentureBeat’s Heartland Tech newsletter to get this column in your inbox weekly.

Anna Hensel
Heartland Tech reporter

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Check out this video from CNBC, on how the CEO of Cincinnati’s LISNR went from a cushy corporate job to $100,000 in debt running a startup

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