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Fast Forward

Helping you look ahead each week

Hope Stephan. Photo/Amy Spangler
Hope Stephan. Photo/Amy Spangler

Are you a 98-percenter? According to a Forbes Insight study released last year, only 2 percent of business executives said they never worked at night or on weekends.

At the other end of the scale, 17 percent of respondents — 534 decision-makers, from small independently owned companies to global corporations with revenues exceeding $1 billion annually — said they worked every night and weekend. If you fall anywhere on that spectrum, Fast Forward is for you.

You are a planner. You are obsessive about your business. You're connected to a wide network of business associates, customers, potential customers and community leaders, and you make the most of those connections. You eat, sleep and dream your business. It comes home with you every day, follows you on the weekends and won't let go on vacations.

You go online and you check your email one last time every Sunday night because you're trying to get a jump on the week ahead: Where do you need to be? What fires are waiting to be put out in the morning? Which clients demand your attention? Where might opportunities await to grow your business? Who is asking for your time and expertise?

Starting April 7, I'll be here with Fast Forward every Sunday with highlights of what's expected in the coming week that might help you sort through the noise — from events and reports to a preview of upcoming Business Journal stories.

If I discover an interesting statistic or article, I'll provide a link. But I'll keep it short. You're busy.

The week ahead

It's the beginning of a new month, ushering in a slew of reports: Monday, manufacturing and construction; Tuesday, factory orders and motor vehicle sales; Wednesday, payroll and non-manufacturing; Thursday, jobless filings; and Friday, nonfarm payrolls, unemployment rate and trade gap.

With so many benchmarks, and so many interpretations, be prepared for a lot of spin and pseudo-analysis. According to this analyst, you may be better off paying attention to the drive-thru at your local McDonald's.

Last week, we learned from the Confidence Board (not a government agency, by the way), that consumers aren't feeling very upbeat about the economy in general or their prospects in particular. If they're under 30, they may have more reason than most to feel glum.

Bottom line, as always, though — How is your business doing?


Friday: It's Good Friday, so many employees will be off and some businesses — including the Central Penn Business Journal — will be closed.

The Business Journal will publish as usual, however. In our March 29 issue, we tell you why you should be taking a closer look at your utility bills (and it's not about switching suppliers) and how TV shows like "Amish Mafia" may not be as bad for the midstate as we think. (There's video, too.)

What? You don't watch the hit "reality" series? Never heard of Lebanon Levi? Never fear.

Next week (the April 5 issue), we'll have a closer look at a state pension reform proposal that might gain traction and take you inside a Lancaster County retail development project slated to break ground soon.

Saturday: York County Convention & Visitors Bureau hosts its Mason-Dixon Wine Trail Tour de Tanks event noon-5 p.m.

Tuesday: Gov. Corbett is scheduled to meet with U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius to discuss Medicaid expansion.

Wednesday: Lebanon Valley chamber's "Meet the Presidents" breakfast: 7:30-9 a.m. with speakers: Lewis E. Thayne, president of Lebanon Valley College, and John J. "Ski" Sygielski, president of Harrisburg Area Community College. More info: Jessica Stankovich,, or 717-273-3727.

April 10: West Shore chamber hosts its Taste of the Chamber from 4-7 p.m. in Silver Spring Township; details:

The rewind

Here's a CPBJ story on why it's still taking a long time to match employers and job seekers in Pennsylvania.

And here's an eye-opener on the importance of sleep to a healthy weight, and why it might be a good idea to let your employees nap once in a while.

Hope Stephan is editor of the Central Penn Business Journal. Fast Forward will usually be posted on Sundays (though you got to see it early this week thanks to the long Easter weekend) to give you a jump on the week ahead. Contact her at

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