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Fast Forward

We're thinking small – business, that is

By , - Last modified: June 7, 2013 at 11:07 AM
Hope Stephan. Photo/Amy Spangler
Hope Stephan. Photo/Amy Spangler

Standing out on the edge of the known world, peering into the future, I see – small businesses!

The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation earlier this month put out a report predicting that one of the unintended consequences of Obamacare will be a burst of entrepreneurialism. Because employees with bright ideas won't be locked into their jobs by employer-provided health insurance, they will be free to pursue their dreams.

The country should be bracing itself for a similar acceleration in self-employment as baby boomers approach retirement age. Those itching to strike out on their own will also be free – and perhaps more anxious to try, as their timelines shorten – to shake off the benefits shackle and be their own bosses.

Where that leaves you, as an employer who needs that energy, experience and innovation on your team, is something you should be preparing for. As the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act takes hold, other tangible and intangible benefits – such as work culture, personal attention, training and opportunities – may become more important as you compete to hire and retain those who prefer working for someone other than themselves. Here are 15 suggestions; notice that none costs money, but all require you.

That's not to say everything is going to be rosy for the risk-takers. Starting your own business is far from easy. This blogger and business owner was impressed by a speaker who cautioned that if you want to own your own business, you can have that business and "one other thing" in your life. If you try to do more, everything will suffer.

The week ahead

This coming Friday's Business Journal is a special edition, devoted to small business in the midstate. Our theme this year is "Small Business Rocks!" Ahead of the SBA's Small Business Week, which is June 17-21, our staff identified a number of local enterprises that rock their industries with their ideas, products and, in many cases, global reach – all while staying "small" (a word that has big dimensions in the SBA's lexicon); more than one business profiled consists of just one or two people doing big things.

And don't forget to register for our Small Business Week kick-off event June 17 at Clair Brothers Audio Systems in Manheim Township. You'll learn from the horses' mouths how three small businesses from Lititz are rocking the music industry and learn who won this year's video contest.

You can find a calendar of other Small Business Week events going on around the midstate here.

Meanwhile, this week around the midstate:

On Tuesday, The York County Economic Alliance honors George W. Waldner, president of York College of Pennsylvania, at its 2013 Business Achievement dinner.

On Thursday, The Pennsylvania Education Summit brings together in Harrisburg business leaders, teachers, school superintendents, curriculum specialists, state lawmakers, legislative staff, executive agency professionals, workforce investment board members and other education stakeholders to discuss what Pennsylvanians need to do to ensure our young people are "career and college ready."

On Friday, SEDA-COG presents a seminar on Doing Business with the Commonwealth (and also July 18) in Harrisburg to update businesses on changes in programs for small businesses regarding state contracting. The free sessions run from 1- 4 p.m. at the Harrisburg Regional Chamber & CREDC, 3211 N. Front St., Suite 201.

If your dad's a car buff, Father's Day can start early with The Elegance at Hershey. The charity event Friday through June 16 at The Hotel Hershey features some of the world's best vintage race cars and finest collector automobiles.

The rewind

Almost a third of Pennsylvania's soybean crop is produced in the midstate – close to 6 million bushels last year. Perdue AgriBusiness' plan to build a $59 million soybean plant next to the Lancaster County Solid Waste Management Authority's waste-to-energy plant in Conoy Township is starting to draw more attention since the Business Journal first wrote about it back in early March.

Which brings me to this item forwarded last week by a former Pittsburgh colleague – it's about bald eagles successfully nesting along the Mon. As a western Pennsylvania native, I've watched the Steel City reinvent itself as steel mills closed and heavy manufacturing gave way to high-tech industries and white collar jobs. Though I'm not that old, I remember seeing blast furnaces in action and saw probably the last of the working beehive coke ovens as a – very tiny! – child, which should give you some idea of how long the "old" Pittsburgh hung on.

As my friend notes, these are the first bald eagles in the area in probably two centuries.


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