When I was a sophomore in high school, our teacher tasked us with the arduous chore of reading in its entirety The Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin. Between the colonial language and small font, many of my classmates never made it through. I, however, for some strange reason, was taken with the audacity Franklin displayed. He seemed bent on the attainment of moral perfection and shared in detail his methods for doing so. But even Franklin eventually realized the futility of such a goal and decided instead to appreciate the improvements he made despite never achieving “perfection.”

And that’s the real lesson, isn’t it? Improvement is the goal, not perfection.

In looking ahead to 2016, there is much to consider. On a local front, we wanted to provide a number of resources that can assist you in working towards both personal and professional improvements. I would suggest starting with our regional economic forecast on page 18 where several local experts share their observations on where the region is headed—the good and the challenging.

Then, turn to page 34 where regional leaders offer insight on coming developments for the Greater Lynchburg community. Finally, our annual construction focus brings us an in-depth look at the commercial market, along with a “cheat sheet” of real estate resources, courtesy of resident commercial real estate expert Billy Hansen. G

In terms of business ownership, who isn’t looking for ways to improve the bottom line? Kendrick Brunson provides a step-by-step breakdown for improving profitable revenue on page 15. In terms of Human Resources, Colleen McLaughlin shares potential changes to HR policy and how they can affect business owners on page 41. As Franklin would say, “An investment in knowledge pays the best interest,” so that’s our goal with each of these industry columns.

And outside of business, what should you be prepared for? Several of our experts take a closer look at estate planning and financial investments for every stage of one’s career on page 20; they also debunk some common myths such as “estate planning is only for the top percentage of earners.” Keep in mind another “Franklinism” that’s become relatively mainstream: Failure to plan is planning to fail. When it comes to leaving a legacy for your loved ones, a well-constructed plan is one of the best gifts you can give them.

As we move towards the beginning of 2016, I’ll leave you with these final words from Franklin. Of his 13 virtues for moral perfection, number four was “Resolution.” He advised, “Resolve to perform what you ought; perform without fail what you resolve.”
Cheers to a 2016 of productivity!

Jennifer Redmond, Managing Editor