What kind of student were you back in high school or college?

Did you study a little bit every night for weeks leading up to the exam or just pull an all-nighter?

Did you plan out that presentation word for word and practice it 30 times in front of the mirror or did you just jot down a few points and wing it? Maybe you fell somewhere in between these two extremes.

Even the most well-intentioned business professionals likely felt like a teenage procrastinator at times during 2020. Because by March and April, let’s be honest—we were all just flying by the seat of our pants. Any business plan or goal we had going into the year was brushed to the side when the pandemic gripped our nation.

With so much focus on business forecasting and predictions these days, 2020 definitely grounded us a bit. We can plan all we want—but bad stuff (I could use a stronger word) happens and there is nothing you can do to prepare for it.

But that doesn’t mean goal setting is meaningless. Without it, we are meandering through the year without a game plan—we are a 19-year-old without notes for a big presentation. We need to have some idea of where we are headed, even if we don’t end up there exactly.

That’s the goal of our Market Report issue, starting with our main feature on page 25. We asked economic development leaders from each of the five localities that make up greater Lynchburg to share what they plan to focus on in 2021. You’ll also find a list of “Businesses to Watch” on page 8. We are looking ahead in other parts of the magazine as well—including what you may expect in the real estate and financial industries.

To all of the employees and businesses owners who are still struggling to overcome setbacks from the past year, I hope and pray that 2021 is kinder to you. That there are fewer moments of “just winging it” and more moments where you can say all is going just as planned.

Shelley Basinger, Managing Editor