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  • 01-Apr-2014 10:51 AM | Steve Royal (Administrator)

    Michael Van der Gaag embodies the consulting spirit

    By Ruth E. Thaler-Carter

    For most RPCN members, consulting is a new venture growing out of a traditional career that ended either voluntarily – on retirement or through burnout – or more forcibly, through layoffs, downsizing and other corporate events beyond our control. For outgoing RPCN president Michael Van der Gaag, principal consultant at Beyond the Interface, consulting has always been his form of work, even when working for others.

    The New Jersey native came to Rochester when he was looking to broaden his scope after working in an internal consulting role at Bell Labs. He found an opportunity here with Essex Corporation in 1980 and spent three years on a contract with Xerox for Essex until “I got caught up in layoffs.” He started thinking about his own business and pitched his services to Savin Corp., only to be hired full-time as manager of industrial design and human factors and usability. After a year-and-a-half there though, that consulting urge kicked back in. “I called a friend at Xerox who kept me busy with projects for several years,” he said.

    For full details of how Van der Gaag developed his consulting niche and came to serve as RPCN president, read the story on the RPCN website. Click here for a video interview where Michael talks about how the RPCN has helped him with his consulting business.
       
    Ruth E. Thaler-Carter (www.writerruth.com) is a freelance writer, editor, proofreader and speaker.


    RPCN is on a roll

    By Michael Van der Gaag, President

    Bravo for the boot camp!

    Congratulations to Bob Lurz on the successful completion of a most excellent boot camp. I was a participant in the previous program in 2012. This one was even better! Among the highlights: Bruce Katcher, author of An Insider’s Guide to Building a Successful Consulting Practice, “Skyped” into one of the  sessions, live. He engaged individually with several volunteers from the group, asking about their business focus and vision, and providing one-on-one and group guidance and insights. The participants had a blast. Thank you, Mr. Katcher. You have some serious fans in the Rochester area.

    For the final two sessions, participants had the opportunity to present their businesses’ value propositions to a panel of judges. We extend our thanks to Jim Echter, Jean Kase, Bob Kot and Doug Mabon, our esteemed review panelists, who provided such useful insights and sage guidance.

    We would like to acknowledge the contributions of the many presenters who gave so generously of their know-how, providing helpful hints on how to become successful. Special thanks to Lynn Dessert,
    Jim Echter, Charlie Hancock, Bob Kot, Jon Lazenby, Doug Mabon, Barbara Moore, Kelly Mullaney, Rich Notargiacomo, Jim Payne and Beth Sears. 

    The word is out and we are already receiving inquiries about the next one … So, Bob, are you ready to do it again?

    Can we top this? Well, we can come close

    There is another TrendTalk on the horizon. On the evening of May 15, our dinner panel discussion will focus on “Challenges and Opportunities in the Human Services Sector.” We have engaged three highly respected leaders, well-known for their contributions to helping grow organizations that address the needs of the community: Carol Love, a nonprofit leadership consultant with 46 years of experience in nonprofit management with a number of organizations; Marlene Bessette, president and CEO at Catholic Family Center; and Michelle Prohov, founder of Working for Nonprofits and HR manager at the Center for Disability Rights. The panelists will touch on their backgrounds and career paths and then discuss their visions of the needs of the community and how we, as consultants or entrepreneurs, can do business in this sector. 

    Whether or not your current focus is on human services, you may be surprised at the opportunity this event will provide for learning about this sector and how it can use your support and guidance. You will also have a chance to network with other consultants, business owners and members of the community who may be your future clients or collaborators. We look forward to seeing you at the May 15 TrendTalk.

    Stepping out of our space

    On Wednesday, April 9, 2014, RPCN will exhibit at “Success Stories that Impact the Bottom Line,” the upcoming regional conference of the American Society for Quality-Rochester section (ASQRS). This all-day conference will cover topics like ethics, green production, the importance of body language, and quality and sustainability.

    Among the speakers is our own Bob Whipple, whose member story recently appeared in our newsletter and on the RPCN website. [Ed. Note: In addition, RPCN member Vince Vezza is chairing the event and Steve Whittaker is coordinator for the five presenters, as well as a presenter himself.]

    Whether you are a quality consultant or a provider of quality consulting, this mini-conference will have a topic of interest to you and your business. To volunteer at our booth, contact Bob Lurz or me. See you there.

    Thanks for your input

    Thanks to those of you who took a few minutes to answer the questions in our last newsletter. We will be taking the results to the board and addressing your suggestions in upcoming programs.

    If you have an idea or want us to pursue a program of interest to you, feel free to get involved.

    Your thoughts and comments are always welcome. Here’s to your success!


    Picture Yourself…

    •    Enlarging your business  
    •    Developing your reputation as a consulting expert
    •    Focusing on your client’s bottom line and reputation

    Picture Yourself … at MCC on October 15 learning these and many other skills.

    The RPCN will hold a full-day conference called “Picture Yourself …” on Wednesday, October 15 at MCC. The conference will focus on ways and tools to grow and expand your small/consulting business. Details on opportunities to exhibit, present and attend will be coming in the next few weeks.

    If you are interested in helping with this conference, we’d love to have you. The committee’s next meeting will be held at the Corner Bakery Café at 3300 Monroe Avenue in Pittsford (across the street from the Pittsford Plaza) at 3:00 PM on April 1 (no, really, it’s not an April Fool’s Joke, we are going to be meeting then and there).

    Regardless of your skill set, we have a subcommittee that can use your skills. Helping with the program is a great way to get to know other RPCN members and demonstrate your skills. If you’d like to help, or just know more about the conference, please join us. Contact Dave Bassett at (585) 739-9726(585) 739-9726 or dbassett@bassett.pro for more details.


    Of interest

    Technical communication: The Society for Technical Communication of Rochester hosts Spectrum 2014, its 55th annual conference, on April 13–15 at Rochester Institute of Technology. With a theme of “Communicating to Understanding: Core Competency, Core Value,” the conference seeks to empower technical communication professionals to build a business case for new ideas and technology, share their knowledge and lead change in their organization. RPCN members Judith Shenouda and Ruth E. Thaler-Carter are among the presenters. Click here for more information and to register.

    Freelancers' conference: RPCN members are eligible to use the colleague’s discount for “Be a Better Freelancer! (Re)Invent Your Business,” the 2014 Communication Central conference for freelancers, Sept. 26–27 in Rochester, NY, with an Editorial Bootcamp on Sept. 28 at the same location. Keynote speaker is Jake Dr. Freelance Poinier. Click here for more information and to register. Laura Poole will present the Editorial Bootcamp, with a discount for conference attendees. Registration info is included in the conference registration PDF.
     
    RPCN improvises: There certainly was a lot of energy in the room as RPCN members and guests “whooshed” and “grooved” as part of the March 14 program on
    Improvise Your Way to Successful Collaboration with Caitlin Drago of Inspire Improv. Click here to view the video on the RPCN YouTube channel.

    YouTube: Did you know that you can subscribe to the RPCN YouTube channel? Check it out to view short RPCN member profiles and keep up on the latest RPCN news and features.

     

     

     

    In this issue:


    We want you!

    The RPCN newsletter welcomes news, success stories, tips, resources, events and other items that would be of broad interest to consultants. Submit a newsletter item by email to the Communication Committee. RPCN members also may write articles for our website; submit articles here. In the newsletter, we'll highlight submitted articles aimed at helping consultants make their businesses better.

    If you have newsletter questions or suggestions, or ideas for how RPCN could improve communications, contact the Communication Committee:
    Janice Hanson, Chair
    Barbara Moore
    Ruth E. Thaler-Carter
    Steve Royal

    Please send articles for the May newsletter by April 15.


    Upcoming events

    Technical Forum
    facilitated by Steve Royal
    Friday, April 4, 2014
    8:00 AM - 9:30 AM
    Pittsford Community Library

    An informal, facilitated roundtable discussion of any technical issues that consultants encounter in running their businesses, including computers, the Internet and phones. Wondering what kind of questions people are asking? For a list from recent forums, click here.

    Technology for Consultants: An Overview
    presented by Nick Francesco
    Friday, April 11, 2014
    8:00 AM - 9:30 AM
    Brighton Town Hall - Downstairs Meeting Room

    An overview of the newest technologies and best practices for consultants, including hardware, software, security and videoconferencing. You will learn how to begin making a selection among the latest hardware, some of the best choices for creating and backing up documents, and the importance of keeping your computer virus-free and helping your clients do the same. Francesco writes a weekly computer column in the Democrat & Chronicle newspaper and co-hosts Sound Bytes, a weekly radio call-in computer show on Jazz 90.1. Here is a short video in which Nick discusses his presentation.


    Business Forum
    facilitated by Bob Lurz
    Friday, April 18, 2014
    8:00 AM - 9:30 AM
    Pittsford Community Library
       
    An informal, facilitated roundtable discussion of issues regarding starting or running a consulting business. Wondering what kind of questions people are asking? For a list from recent forums, click here.

    RPCN Board Meeting Friday, April 18, 2014
    10:00 AM - 12:00 PM
    Pittsford Community Library

    RPCN’s monthly board meeting begins at approximately 10:00 AM, after the Business Forum. Everyone is welcome to attend, but only board members may vote.

    How to Effectively Use Google AdWords
    presented by Paul Gallipeau
    Friday, April 25, 2014
    8:00 AM - 9:30 AM
    Brighton Town Hall - Downstairs Meeting Room

    This program will teach you about Google AdWords and how to effectively use this tool and track your results. We will also cover common problems and how to avoid them. Paul Gallipeau of Paul Carl Digital specializes in pay-per-click management and has spoken at the Creative Collaboration, Rochester Wordpress Group and Rochester Brainery. Here is a short video in which Paul discusses his presentation.


    New members

    RPCN welcomes the following new members. Click on the links below to view their profiles.

    L. Joseph Biddle

    Marcia Bornhurst Parkes

    Eric Frye

    Melanie Hiranandani

    Jim Johnson

    Herbert Lawrence

    Joe MacDonough

    Robert Manard

    Gregg Meyers


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  • 27-Feb-2014 2:52 PM | Steve Royal (Administrator)

    Bob Whipple builds his business through trust

    By Ruth E. Thaler-Carter

    Many RPCN members provide consultation on product development and systems or organizational management. Bob Whipple is unusual in providing something more ethereal and esoteric – but equally valuable: thought leadership on trust.

    Whipple launched his consulting business, Leadergrow, Inc., and his Trust Ambassador brand in 2003. He has been speaking, teaching, writing and consulting on leadership and trust ever since, providing insights into the benefits and strategic advantages of creating and strengthening trust in the workplace. Based in Hilton, NY, he usually works with clients onsite and does some coaching by phone.

    Like many RPCN members, Whipple was an executive with Kodak before becoming a consultant. He went into consulting because “I didn’t want to jump into another full-time job after I retired from Kodak in 2001,” he recalled. “I kind of backed into consulting through teaching and writing, and always enjoyed working with groups. I felt I could help people and am glad that they will pay for me to do so.”

    Whipple has benefited from many relationships in building his consul
    ting business: “It’s always people – people helping people” that are the most valuable. “The key thing [for success] is not to be confined to Rochester,” he said. “Get known around the country.”

    Whipple’s advice to colleagues fits nicely into his involvement with the RPCN and other organizations: “Don’t be a hermit. Be out there as much as you can. Opportunities will only come to you if you’re [visible and involved].”

    Read the full story to find out what he does to promote his business, how RPCN has helped him and a tip on how to take control of a busy schedule. Click here for a video with Whipple’s advice for new consultants.
      
    Ruth E. Thaler-Carter (www.writerruth.com) is a freelance writer, editor, proofreader, desktop publisher and speaker.


    Helping you be better consultants

    By Michael Van der Gaag, President

    Consulting Boot Camp

    I gave the welcome at the first session of the 2014 RPCN Boot Camp, produced by Bob Lurz, and listened to Bob’s intro, “What Consultants Do,” and Bob Kot’s own story, “A Consultant Entrepreneur’s Journey.” I met all the attendees and exchanged elevator speeches and business cards. What an impressive group of attendees … each a motivated entrepreneur with a dream and a lot of drive, ready to jump in and get started.

    I also attended the second session, to hear Jon Lazenby’s “Legal Issues for Consulting Entrepreneurs” and to see Lynn Dessert’s workshop on “Creating Your Entrepreneurial Personal Development Plan.” Jon’s presentation was very informative and left the audience wanting more. Lynn’s workshop was inspiring, making us glad we made the choice to be consultants, while realizing there is a lot yet to do.

    The classes so far have been spot-on in helping participants develop their visions. The participant feedback was highly gratifying and, as they reported, the readings (such as Bruce Katcher’s An Insider’s Guide to Building a Successful Consulting Practice) made them realize how much it really takes to be successful – the effort, the planning, the marketing.

    By the end of the second session, I realized that there is still much that even the experienced among us can learn by re-visiting the early phases of our development. In the two years since our last Boot Camp, there is even more to learn about strategies to improve one’s business.

    Ed. note – You can view more photos from the first session of the 2014 RPCN Boot Camp on the RPCN Facebook page. While there, “like” the page to keep up on the latest RPCN news. (Photo: Janice Hanson)

    Realizing RPCN’s mission

    The Boot Camp is just one way in which the RPCN is fulfilling its mission to enable its members to develop premier consulting businesses that deliver customer-centered solutions that are better, smarter and more innovative.

    The four approaches that work together to address the mission include helping members: be better at business, understand our region’s economic opportunities, better market what they do and, finally, be better at consulting.

    The Boot Camp gets you on the road to starting your business or improving what you have already started. Our upcoming October conference is going to bring the interests of start-ups together with those of already-practicing consultants to help us take a more well-rounded approach to success.

    Programs

    Historically we have focused mostly on starting a business or improving business and marketing effectiveness. In the past few years, we have become more focused on understanding the economic state of the greater Rochester area. In the current season, we are including topics to help us be better consultants. Mary Burkhardt’s “Caring for Clients and the Power of Presence” in December was one such topic.

    The next two presentations at the Brighton Town Hall will expand on this theme. Charles Pfeffer’s Beautiful Questions to Guide a Consultant’s Career on Feb. 28 and Caitlin Drago’s Improvise Your Way to Successful Collaboration on Mar. 14 will help us come closer to achieving that elusive status of “premier consultant” by helping us see how we can improve how we engage and interact with our clients.

    To help us continue to improve our services to members and visitors alike, please take a moment to consider these questions:

    • If you want to be the best at what you do, what would it take?
    • Is there any way that the RPCN could help you achieve that “premier” status? 
    • Should “Improving your approach to consulting” be a part of the upcoming October conference?
    • If RPCN were to move toward providing more training opportunities, is that something you would support?

    Help us continue to improve the RPCN's offerings by taking a brief survey (click here) on these topics, or share your responses by emailing mvan@beyondtheinterface.com. Your thoughts and comments are always welcome.

    Here’s to your success!


    Save the date for “Picture Yourself” – Wednesday, October 15

    The RPCN will be holding a full-day conference on Wednesday, October 15, at Monroe Community College. The conference title will be “Picture Yourself” and the event will focus on ways and tools to grow and expand your small/consulting business.

    The committee’s next meeting will be held at the Corner Bakery Café at 3300 Monroe Avenue in Pittsford (across the street from the Pittsford Plaza) at 3:00 PM on Thursday, March 6.

    There are several subcommittees. Please join us if you’d like to help, or just know more about the conference. For more information, contact Dave Bassett at dbassett@bassett.pro or (585) 739-9726(585) 739-9726.


    Making your business better

    Consulting: Learn about the three R’s of consulting – Reputation, Recommendations and Relationships – from Democrat and Chronicle’s Nextpert Bob Lurz in his article Become a Top-Notch Consultant.

    Walking Meetings: In this TED Talk, business innovator Nilofer Merchant suggests a small idea that just might have a big impact on your life and health. Next time you have a one-on-one meeting, make it into a “walking meeting” – and let ideas flow while you walk and talk. Click here to watch the video.

    YouTube: Did you know that the RPCN has its own YouTube channel? You can view short RPCN member profiles, as well as introductions to upcoming RPCN presentations. Subscribe to the RPCN YouTube channel to keep up on the latest RPCN news and features.



     

     

     

    In this issue:


    We want you!

    The RPCN newsletter welcomes news, success stories, tips, resources, events and other items that would be of broad interest to consultants. Submit a newsletter item by email to the Communication Committee. RPCN members also may write articles for our website; submit articles here. In the newsletter, we'll highlight submitted articles aimed at helping consultants make their businesses better.

    If you have newsletter questions or suggestions, or ideas for how RPCN could improve communications, contact the Communication Committee:
    Janice Hanson, Chair
    Barbara Moore
    Ruth E. Thaler-Carter
    Steve Royal

    Please send articles for the April newsletter by March 15.


    Upcoming events

    Technical Forum
    facilitated by Steve Royal
    Friday, March 7, 2014
    8:00 AM - 9:30 AM
    Pittsford Community Library

    An informal, facilitated roundtable discussion of any technical issues that consultants encounter in running their businesses, including computers, the Internet and telephones. Wondering what kind of questions people are asking lately? For a list from recent forums, click here.

    Improvise Your Way to Successful Collaboration
    presented by Caitlin Drago, Inspire Improv
    Friday, March 14, 2014
    8:00 AM - 9:30 AM
    Brighton Town Hall - Downstairs Meeting Room

    Great customer service comes from listening to our clients and building solutions with them. In this interactive workshop, we will explore the exciting world of collaboration and listening through improvisation. In addition, the fun and creative spirit of improv will open us up to new possibilities and provide laughter along the way.

    Caitlin Drago has a background in theater and the performing arts. As a staff member at the McArdle Ramerman Center, she guides groups in personal development through improvisation. Here is a short video in which Caitlin discusses her presentation.



    Business Forum
    facilitated by Bob Lurz
    Friday, March 21, 2014
    8:00 AM - 9:30 AM
    Pittsford Community Library
       
    An informal, facilitated roundtable discussion of issues regarding starting or running a consulting business. Wondering what kind of questions people are asking lately? For a list from recent forums, click here.

    RPCN Board Meeting
    Friday, March 21, 2014
    10:00 AM - 12:00 PM
    Pittsford Community Library

    RPCN’s monthly board meeting begins at approximately 10:00 AM, after the Business Forum. Everyone is welcome to attend, but only board members may vote.

    The State of the Economy: Current Economic Trends
    presented by Kent Gardner, Center for Governmental Research
    Friday, March 28, 2014
    8:00 AM - 9:30 AM
    Brighton Town Hall - Downstairs Meeting Room

    Is recovery finally here? Or will the economy continue to rumble along in first gear, going forward, but slowly. Kent Gardner will discuss economic conditions since the beginning of the recession, how Rochester, Upstate and NY have fared relative to the nation and explore what lies ahead. Gardner is chief economist/chief research officer at the Center for Governmental Research (CGR) and leads CGR’s study of economics and public finance.


    Of interest

    Networking: The Rochester Women’s Network hosts a session on networking effectively for beginners and beyond. Sandy Sloane shares specific tools and techniques that will take your networking skills to a higher level and help you achieve your goals more effectively. The event is Wed., March 5, at 5:30 PM at the Cornell Cooperative Extension, 249 Highland Ave. Click here for more information and to register.

    Personal Cloud: Explore a top IT trend for 2014 – the ability to access all your data using all your devices. Leave with takeaways to improve your personal and business effectiveness. Hosted by Digital Rochester at the Locust Hill Country Club, 2000 Jefferson Road on Thurs., March 27, at 7:30 AM. Click here for more information and to register.


    New members

    RPCN welcomes the following new members. Click on their names to view their profiles.

    Amy Carey
    Laurie Enos
    Ian Cox


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    Copyright © 2014 Rochester Professional Consultants Network. All rights reserved.

  • 30-Jan-2014 4:45 PM | Steve Royal (Administrator)

    Imaging expert brings international flavor, local angle to RPCN

    By Ruth E. Thaler-Carter


    As an expert in the imaging arena, Peter D. Burns combines a uniquely Rochester business focus with an international flair as a native of England. His consulting business, Burns Digital Imaging LLC, helps clients develop and improve their imaging products or services.

    Burns worked for Xerox, Kodak and Carestream Health before going into consulting. “I have always been involved with the development and evaluation of imaging products and services,” he said. He was able to launch his consulting business on a firm basis after being laid off at Carestream two years ago because “I had been doing consulting for museums for about 10 years while working in-house,” he said. He also had worked in environments similar to a consulting business. “With applied science and engineering, experienced people often lead small teams and contribute as individual,” he explained. “This is similar to the type of consulting I currently do.”

    Although he calls himself a “natural introvert,” Burns does what it takes to build up his business, including networking through RPCN. He has become a familiar face at RPCN events, handing out nametags and greeting participants. “For me, it is important to make personal connections in both the larger – national and international – imaging field and the local business communities,” he said.

    Read the full story to find out why he came to Rochester, how he connects with clients and how RPCN has helped him with running his business. Click here for a video introduction.
       
    Ruth E. Thaler-Carter (www.writerruth.com) is a freelance writer, editor, proofreader, desktop publisher and speaker.


    Welcome to February –
    A big month for RPCN

    By Michael Van der Gaag, President

    I attended John Foote’s Annual Tax Update on January 10, 2014. John is a charter member of the RPCN and a very successful tax consultant in his own right. From what I heard from many of the attendees, this was one of his best presentations – full of informative tidbits and insights into how to get ready for the upcoming tax changes.

    At the end of his presentation, we had a pleasant surprise: John talked a bit about how, in the early days, the recently passed Dave Young helped him with the formation of and publicity for his business, Expert Tax Group. After describing how Dave’s help contributed to the success of Expert Tax Group, John then impressed us all by announcing the creation of an endowment in Dave’s honor. 

    This endowment will be kept separate from the RPCN’s Dave Young Service Award and will be used to advance the interests of the organization and benefit the membership.

    RPCN is honored and grateful. Thank you, John Foote.

    Consulting Boot Camp

    The 2014 RPCN Consulting Business Boot Camp is about to take off on February 4, in conjunction with Monroe Community College. (Note: early deadline extended through Jan. 31.)

    Bob Lurz has assembled a team of successful business leaders who are experts and consultants in their own right. They will guide participants through the process of getting started or re-envisioning their existing businesses. The Boot Camp will help entrepreneurs identify their services and validate the value they bring to their clients. They will learn the best structure for their businesses, and develop plans for entrepreneurial personal improvement. They will discover how to market those consulting businesses through strategies that:

    • Focus on prospective clients’ needs.
    • Employ marketing methods suitable for solo entrepreneurs, including social media.
    • Incorporate techniques that work for successful consultants.
    Finally, participants will have a chance to present their unique value propositions and receive feedback from a panel of business leaders. 

    If you want to get your business off the ground, or take it to the next level, check out this great opportunity at rochesterconsultants.org/bootcamp. (If you know someone else with similar goals or aspirations, send them there, too).

    Upcoming conference

    The RPCN Conference Committee, led by Dave Bassett, has been making strides on defining the content of the conference planned for October 2014. With the theme of “Picture Yourself in Business,” the conference will balance its emphasis between starting a new business and boosting an existing one. Dave has assembled a team focused on making this conference a success. If you would like to contribute your ideas and your talent, offer suggestions, or give time to organizing this event, contact Dave at dbassett@bassett.pro or (585) 739-9726(585) 739-9726. We want this conference to exceed the expectations of existing members and visitors alike.

    Presentations

    We have taken your suggestions for relevant and engaging bimonthly presentations. Don’t miss what we have planned in the near future! Thanks to Lynn Dessert for her assistance in finding speakers.

    If you think you know someone who may have a topic of interest to present to the membership, feel free to propose the person’s name, topic description and a summary of their qualifications.

    Reminders

    • Price of our Brighton Town Hall meetings for non-members is once again $10.
    • Online registration and admission payment is available.
    • Payment via credit card is available at the door.
    • Members can bring a first-time guest at no charge.
    • If you know of a full-time student with the talent and interest to become a consultant, let him or her know Student Membership is only half-price: $50.

    RPCN Consulting Boot Camp deadline extended

    The early-bird deadline has been extended through Friday, Jan. 31 for the RPCN’s 2014 Consulting Business Boot Camp in February and March at MCC.

    Presenters include: Bob Lurz, owner, Consultants Accelerator; Jon Lazenby, Esq., attorney and partner, Kaman, Berlove, Marafioti, Jacobstein & Goldman LLP; Lynn Dessert, leadership coach; Beth Sears, workplace communication coach; Charlie Hancock, medical sterilization consultant; Kelly Mullaney, website and social media consultant; Jim Payne, marketing consultant; Rich Notargiacomo, director, New Ventures and Commercialization, RIT Venture Creations Incubator; Barbara Moore, social media and computer consultant; Jim Echter, business coach, the Entrepreneur’s Network (TEN) and advisor to the HTR Launchpad; Jean Kase, director, TEN of Monroe County; Bob Kot, director of New Ventures, HighTech Rochester (HTR); Doug Mabon, past chapter chair, Rochester SCORE.

    The Boot Camp takes place Feb. 4, 11 and 18 (8:30 AM - 12:30 PM) and Feb. 25 and March 4 (8:30 AM - 4:30 PM). All sessions are at the MCC Corporate College, 1057 East Henrietta Road, across from main campus. For registration, go to: rochesterconsultants.org/bootcamp.


    RPCN’s Member Referral Program

    Do you know someone who is considering becoming an RPCN member? Are you considering RPCN membership? If so, you could become eligible for a $25 gift card.

    RPCN has introduced a new Member Referral Program that provides incentives to both current and new members.

    Here’s how it works. Each quarter, we will conduct a drawing that includes the names of new members and anyone who referred a new member within that quarter. (We collect referral information when new members join.) We will draw one name from each group – a current and a new member – and each will receive a $25 gift card.

    • The drawings will be held at one of the Friday meetings.
    • The winners will be notified by phone/e-mail, if not present at the meeting.
    • The winners’ names will be included in the newsletter.

    Congratulations to the winners for the second quarter of the new program:

    Mary DeFranco
    Bob Lurz

    For more information on the benefits of joining the RPCN, click here.


    New Members

    RPCN welcomes three new members this month. Click on the links below to view their profiles.

    Robert Frye
    Christopher Harness
    Thomas Zamiara



     

     

     

    In this issue:


    We want you!

    The RPCN newsletter welcomes news, success stories, tips, resources, events and other items that would be of broad interest to consultants. Submit a newsletter item by email to the newsletter editor. RPCN members also may write articles for our website; submit articles here. In the newsletter, we'll highlight submitted articles aimed at helping consultants make their businesses better.

    If you have newsletter questions or suggestions, or ideas for how RPCN could improve communications, contact the Communication Committee:
    Janice Hanson
    , Chair
    Barbara Moore
    Ruth E. Thaler-Carter
    Steve Royal
    Please send articles for the March newsletter by Feb. 15.


    Upcoming events

    Technical Forum
    facilitated by Lori Cohen
    Friday, February 7, 2014
    8:00 AM - 9:30 AM
    Pittsford Community Library

    An informal, facilitated roundtable discussion of any technical issues that consultants encounter in running their business, including computers, the Internet and telephones. Wondering what kind of questions people are asking lately? For a list from recent forums, click here.

    The Greater Rochester Region - Poised for Greatness!
    presented by Claudia Burcke, Greater Rochester Enterprise
    Friday, February 14, 2014
    8:00 AM - 9:30 AM
    Brighton Town Hall - Downstairs Meeting Room

    Claudia Burcke is vice president, investor relations & business development, for Greater Rochester Enterprise. Rochester is known as an innovation hub thanks to our smart workforce, new emerging businesses, entrepreneurial spirit and creation of patents. We led New York State and the nation in terms of job growth over the past year. Attend this presentation to learn how your community engagement can also help strengthen the Rochester region’s economy.

    Business Forum
    facilitated by Bob Lurz
    Friday, February 21, 2014
    8:00 AM - 9:30 AM
    Pittsford Community Library

    An informal, facilitated roundtable discussion of issues regarding starting or running a consulting business. Wondering what kind of questions people are asking lately? For a list from recent forums, click here.

    RPCN Board Meeting
    Friday, February 21, 2014
    10:00 AM - 12:00 PM
    Pittsford Community Library

    RPCN’s monthly board meeting begins at approximately 10:00 AM, after the Business Forum. Everyone is welcome to attend, but only board members may vote.

    Beautiful Questions to Guide a Consulting Career
    presented by Charles Pfeffer
    Friday, February 28, 2014
    8:00 AM - 9:30 AM
    Brighton Town Hall - Downstairs Meeting Room

    More than 25 years ago, Charles Pfeffer made the leap from a job with a regular paycheck to the unpredictable life of a consultant, now as an executive coach. At crucial turning points, Pfeffer found himself asking himself questions at the heart of life and work: topics of identity, value, purpose, belonging, integrity, strategy and methodology. In this talk, he will share his story and invite participants to engage with him and with each other in asking questions that are foundational to the choice to be a consultant.


    Of interest

    Book Fair: If you’re thinking about self-publishing a book, attend the free Self-Published Book Fair at the Central Library of Rochester & Monroe County (115 South Avenue) from 10:30 AM–4:30 PM on Saturday, Feb. 8. While there, look for RPCN member Lynn Dessert, who was accepted as an exhibitor and will have information about her two career books. To register, click here.

    Consulting: Several RPCN members and the organization itself were prominently featured in a recent Democrat and Chronicle “Business” section article about consulting. Click here to read the full story.

    YouTube: Did you know that the RPCN has its own YouTube channel? You can view short RPCN member profiles, as well as introductions to upcoming RPCN presentations. Subscribe to the RPCN YouTube channel to keep up on the latest RPCN news and features.

    Advertising: The Rochester Ad Federation and AMA Rochester host the Super Bowl Ad Review on Tuesday, February 4. A panel of Rochester’s best ad pros give a play-by-play review of the good, the bad and the ugly from this year’s big game. Networking begins at 4:30 PM. Click here for more information and to register.


    Making your business better

    Pinterest: Barbara Moore lists eight ways businesses can use the social media site Pinterest to showcase their services in her Women at Work article "Pinterest can help out businesses."


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  • 01-Jan-2014 11:07 AM | Steve Royal (Administrator)

    A sweet spot: Lynn Dessert coaches others in their careers

    By Chris Swingle Farnum

    Not having to work 40 to 50 hours a week. The freedom to work from anywhere and with the type of clients she chooses.

    For Lynn Dessert of Brighton, who offers executive career coaching and life coaching, these are among the advantages to having her own business (Leadership Breakthrough) for the past dozen years.

    “I’m more balanced, and I’m a nicer person,” she says, compared to when she had full-time corporate roles. Also, “I’m in complete control of where I want to go.”

    Read the full story to learn about her career path, how RPCN helped her, how she found her first clients, what she tried that didn’t work out, and how she continues to learn and evolve professionally.

    Click here for a video about why Lynn Dessert joined RPCN.

    Chris Swingle Farnum (chrisswingle.com) is a writer and editor in Rochester.


    What’s up, RPCN?

    by Michael Van der Gaag, President

    I was thinking of writing about the success of the recent August Group/Monroe Community College (MCC) career fair, and how the relationship between the Rochester Professional Consultant Network (RPCN) and MCC is shaping up to be mutually beneficial. The December career fair had its largest turnout ever. Many people stopped at our table, and 35 requested more information and to be added to our mailing list – which is likely a record. There were multiple conversations about the benefits of RPCN membership and discussions on the value of mutual support and helpfulness of members to each other’s success.

    The passing of our friend Dave Young – and recent changes in RPCN leadership as some member-volunteers have either found careers elsewhere or had their businesses take off – gave me pause. What is the benefit of being a member of RPCN? Why do I come to all the events that I can, even if the topics discussed are (occasionally) of marginal interest to me? Why do many of our board and committee members put in almost full-time hours for no pay?

    Well, it’s not to smell the coffee! From discussions with others, I hear that members and visitors are here for a variety of reasons – some selfish, some not. Some people say, “I like the camaraderie.” Others say, “I like the thought of helping others grow their businesses.” Many say they are also looking for information and advice to help grow their businesses or solve tech problems.

    Personally, I like working with a team to achieve a goal beyond making money. Involvement in RPCN is a chance for me to grow, to apply my skills and to develop skills that laid dormant while working in corporate America. It is an opportunity to feel valued and a chance to get hints on how to grow from a one-person business to a small conglomerate (just kidding … a two- to three-person partnership would be fine).

    In our 24 years of existence, RPCN has attracted all kinds of folks looking for an alternative path to success. Most want to become consultants. Others seek their path in business. Some come to us while they figure out what’s next.

    We have all kinds of talent knocking at the door. All are invited in. Some even take advantage of opportunities to contribute. One can recognize the high contributors among us, because when they find success elsewhere, we thoroughly miss them.

    This year, there will be plenty of opportunities to get involved in helping build an organization that can help you grow and build your business. The Consultants Bootcamp, co-sponsored by MCC, is taking off in February, and a committee is actively planning a conference with the theme “Picture this: Developing a growing business.”

    Plans are in the works for the next TrendTalk dinner and panel discussion, which will be on challenges and opportunities in the human services sector. That promises to provide interesting insight into how consultants can apply our talents to helping agencies serve the community.

    To address member requests for evening events, we are also planning social gatherings on fifth Thursdays (or the night before a fifth Friday). Upcoming on Friday mornings in 2014, we have invited speakers to help us keep up with the tax laws, get ahead on marketing and economic trends, and guide us to achieve business success through consulting excellence.

    So why get involved? Because RPCN can help you:
    •    Expand your network and influence
    •    Become known
    •    Showcase your talents
    •    Establish a reputation as a consultant

    I’ll see you Fridays at 8 a.m.!


    RPCN Consulting Business Boot Camp

    Interested in learning how to successfully start a one-person consulting business or improve an existing one? Take part in the upcoming RPCN/MCC Consulting Business Boot Camp. RPCN, in partnership with Monroe Community College (MCC), Corporate College, presents this series of presentations, workshops and panel discussions for five Tuesdays in February and March 2014.

    Successful consultants and experts will share their knowledge and experience and you'll get hands-on, practical advice on topics like:

    •    Defining your consulting services, clients and benefits
    •    Choosing a legal business entity (DBA, LLC, etc.)
    •    Planning your personal entrepreneurial development
    •    Building your professional image
    •    Marketing yourself as a consultant, including social media

    You complete the boot camp by presenting your value proposition to a panel of evaluators who help you improve your message.

    The boot camp takes place Feb. 4, 11 and 18 (8:30 AM - 12:30 PM) and Feb. 25 and March 4 (8:30 AM - 4:30 PM). All sessions are at the MCC Corporate College, 1057 East Henrietta Road, across from main campus.

    Sign up early and save $50. You can register through MCC by clicking here. Early registration discount ends January 17, and there is also a $70 discount for RPCN members. (If you join RPCN for $95 for a one-year membership, you can save $70 on the boot camp, and get 20 RPCN $10 meetings for free).


    Benefit from the RPCN’s new Member Referral Program

    Do you know someone who is considering becoming an RPCN member? Are you considering RPCN membership? If so, you could become eligible for a $25 gift card.

    RPCN has introduced a new Member Referral Program that provides incentives to both current and new members.

    Here’s how it works. Each quarter, we will conduct a drawing that includes the names of new members and anyone who referred a new member within that quarter. (We collect referral information when new members join.) We will draw one name from each group – a current and a new member – and each will receive a $25 gift card.
    •    The drawings will be held at one of the Friday meetings.
    •    The winners will be notified by phone/e-mail, if not present at the meeting.
    •    The winners’ names will be included in the newsletter.

    Congratulations to the winners for the first quarter of the new program:
    •    Martin Brett
    •    Ernie Newcomb

    The drawing for the second quarter will be on Jan. 10. Click here for more information on the benefits of joining the RPCN.



     

     

     

    In this issue:


    We want you!

    The RPCN newsletter welcomes news, success stories, tips, resources, events and other items that would be of broad interest to consultants. Submit a newsletter item by email to the newsletter editor. RPCN members also may write articles for our website; submit articles here. In the newsletter, we'll highlight submitted articles aimed at helping consultants make their businesses better.

    If you have newsletter questions or suggestions, or ideas for how RPCN could improve communications, contact the Communication Committee:
    Janice Hanson
    , Chair
    Barbara Moore
    Ruth E. Thaler-Carter
    Steve Royal


    Upcoming events

    Technical Forum
    facilitated by Steve Royal
    Friday, Jan. 3, 2014
    8:00 AM - 9:30 AM
    NOTE: This Technical Forum will be held in the Downstairs Meeting Room at Brighton Town Hall.

    An informal, facilitated round-table discussion of any technical issues that consultants encounter in running their business, including computers, the Internet and telephones. Wondering what kind of questions people are asking lately? For a list from recent forums, click here.

    Annual Tax Update
    presented by John Foote, Expert Tax Group
    Friday, January 10, 2014
    8:00 AM - 9:30 AM
    Brighton Town Hall - Downstairs Meeting Room

    Learn about aspects of income tax (bracket amounts, credits, deductions, etc) which will apply when preparing taxes for the just closed 2013 tax year. This presentation will also focus on elements that can still be used to adjust taxable income such as retirement contributions, and will address various aspects of the economy and forecasts for planning purposes, as well as taxation that will affect tax year 2014.

    Business Forum
    facilitated by Bob Lurz
    Friday, January 17, 2014
    8:00 AM - 9:30 AM
    Pittsford Community Library

    An informal, facilitated roundtable discussion of issues regarding starting or running a consulting business. Wondering what kind of questions people are asking lately? For a list from recent forums, click here.

    RPCN Board Meeting
    Friday, January 17, 2014
    10:00 AM - 12:00 PM
    Pittsford Community Library

    RPCN’s monthly board meeting begins at approximately 10:00 AM, after the Business Forum. Everyone is welcome to attend, but only board members may vote.

    Practical Application of Web Technologies for Consultants
    presented by Rob Marriage & Dave Horan of Inductor Media
    Friday, January 24, 2014
    8:00 AM - 9:30 AM
    Brighton Town Hall - Downstairs Meeting Room

    Learn how to apply technology to common business problems you may encounter. Topics include: how to find the right-sized site for your business; leveraging Internet technologies into business processes; what is social media marketing and how it can benefit or hurt you; why mobile sites are becoming more important than ever; how to find a good web technology partner for your consulting business.


    Of interest

    Emotional Intelligence

    Digital Rochester hosts an interactive lunch-and-learn workshop on measuring your aptitude in areas like self-awareness, empathy and dealing sensitively with other people. Deepen your understanding of what emotional intelligence is, find out where you stand and begin improving your emotional intelligence at this event. Wednesday, Jan. 22, Irondequoit Country Club, 11:30 AM. Click here for more information and to register.


    New Members

    RPCN welcomes two new members this month. Click on the links below to view their profiles.

    •   Steve Davio
    •   Rosemarie Caillier


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  • 01-Dec-2013 11:33 AM | Steve Royal (Administrator)

    Where to from here?

    by Michael Van der Gaag, President

    December is a month for looking forward to exciting possibilities. At RPCN, we are planning a year of making strides toward growing even more relevant and valuable to our members and community.

    The Marketing Committee, under the leadership of David Powe, will help us better understand our stakeholders, both the membership and the non-member audience with whom we would like to engage.

    With the energy of Program Chair Mike Molaire, we continue to broaden our reach in the community. Our TrendTalk dinner series brings influential thought leaders face to face with members and visitors, to stimulate conversation and inspire us. These panel discussions focus on opportunities and challenges in various business sectors in the Rochester area. The first session on the high-tech sector turned out to be a great success. We had eight sponsors and more than 60 participants (including 16 Simon School MBA students and one faculty member). Future TrendTalks will focus on the human service and health care sectors, among others.

    Behind the scenes, we have a most industrious Communication Committee (chaired by Chris Swingle Farnum) that helps make every RPCN event a success. The "Using a Newsletter to Tell Your Story” presentation by the newsletter team of Chris, Janice Hanson and Ruth E. Thaler-Carter provided hints and guidance on using newsletters to market to your target audiences and the community at large.

    So, what’s next?

    In December, under the umbrella of “Learning from the Best,” we have Jim Ramerman coming in to share his secrets of consulting success. Jim is a very successful and highly experienced leader and an innovative organizational consultant. He believes that the essentials of a successful consulting business lie in building a strong, personal connection with each client.

    In the New Year, we plan to continue with presentations from leaders in various consulting fields, including some of our own highly successful members, as well as others in the community. We are considering workshops on:

    • Best practices in consulting
    • The support we can provide to our clients as extensions of our fields of expertise 
    • The keys to client success that will lead to our success
    • Trends in consulting that presenters have observed
    • How consultants can help each other to grow and succeed
    • What the RPCN can do to support the more advanced among us

    Starting in February, RPCN will continue to support startup and experienced consultant entrepreneurs with Bob Lurz leading the Consultants Bootcamp. In May or June, Dave Bassett will lead a conference on the talents and tools you need to get and keep your business rolling (see below). If you would like to be part of this rewarding event, get in touch with Dave.

    Tracey Aiello, in his recent presentation on “Having the Best Year of Your Life,” offered a number of guidelines that we should all consider as we make resolutions for the new year. Among them:

    • Keep your goals visible on your wall
    • Take one step toward a major goal every day
    • Have a big enough reason “why” to achieve each goal
    • Start today

    During the recent membership survey review, it was very clear that our members are enthusiastic, energetic and have some great ideas. We encourage you to get involved, to express your leadership skills and influence the direction of the organization: get known, showcase your talents, build your credibility.

    Until next month, have a great holiday season. Here’s hoping that 2014 is “the best year of your life” (thanks, Tracey).


    RPCN filled in the blanks for launching ROC Shots Video Services

    By Chris Swingle Farnum

    Many people wish their parents’ stories and wisdom could be captured and preserved for future generations. Todd Parker of Fairport has started a business to do just that.
       
    ROC Shots Video Services creates custom videos for families and small organizations to capture their legacies. A customer can choose a video autobiography with the option of adding family pictures, slides and video clips, or ROC Shots can create a video scrapbook from digital photos and scanned prints, with the option of narration.

    Parker launched the business in June 2013, after learning valuable tips and solutions through the Rochester Professional Consultants Network (RPCN). “RPCN has helped me fill in a lot of the blanks – how to create a business, how to manage a business and the day-to-day decisions,” says Parker.

    Read more about Parker, including how he changed his target market, why he made his mentor cry, and how he’s now using his skills to help RPCN and his new business. Click here for the full story. Here is a video interview with Todd Parker:

     

    Chris Swingle Farnum is a freelance writer in Rochester.


    Boot up your business

    By Bob Lurz

    It’s happening – we’re planning the next RPCN Consulting Bootcamp, for five Tuesdays in February and March 2014. You’ll have the opportunity to learn how to successfully start a one-person consulting business or improve an existing one. Successful consultants and experts will show you what’s unique about consulting and how to immediately apply the information to your business.

    Here’s a sneak peek at the proposed lineup so far:

    • A consultant’s journey to success
    • Define your services, clients and benefits
    • Decide on legal issues (DBA, LLC, S Corp, C Corp, etc.)
    • What it takes to become a consulting entrepreneur
    • Market yourself as a consultant
    • Build your image and reputation
    • Identify who needs your consulting service
    • Use social media to grow your business
    • Present your value proposition to prospective clients

    Save these five Tuesdays: mornings of Feb. 4, 11 and 18; full days on Feb. 25 and March 4. When registration opens on our website in December, sign up quickly – we’ll limit attendance to only 25 people.

    Stay tuned. Schedules, prices, location, etc., will follow.

    Bob Lurz is leader of the RPCN Bootcamp and president of Consultants Accelerator.


    Spring conference: building your business

    By Dave Bassett

    The RPCN plans to hold a full-day conference in May or June 2014 that will be open to members and non-members alike. Several members are forming a Conference Team and we are looking for additional volunteers to join.

    The theme is building your business and the program will be geared toward small-business topics such as:

    • Putting structure to your business
    • Effective collaboration
    • Effective interpersonal communication skills
    • Negotiating skills
    • Closing sales
    • Legal basics
    • Accounting basics
    Watch the monthly newsletter for more details.

    If you would like to join the Conference Team or let us know your thoughts about the program, contact me at dbassett@bassett.pro or (585) 739-9726. Your input is welcome.

    Dave Bassett is vice president of RPCN and president of Bassett IP Strategies.

    New members

    RPCN welcomes 1 new member this month. Click on the link below to view her profile.
       
    Mary DeFranco

     

     

     

    In this issue:


    We want you!

    The RPCN newsletter welcomes news, success stories, tips, resources, events and other items that would be of broad interest to consultants. Submit a newsletter item by email to the Communication Committee. RPCN members also may write articles for our website; submit articles here. In the newsletter, we'll highlight submitted articles aimed at helping consultants make their businesses better.

    If you have newsletter questions or suggestions, or ideas for how RPCN could improve communications, contact the Communication Committee:
    Chris Swingle, Chair
    Janice Hanson
    Barbara Moore
    Ruth E. Thaler-Carter
    Steve Royal


    Upcoming events

    Technical Forum
    Facilitated by Steve Royal
    Friday, Dec. 6, 2013
    8:00 AM - 9:30 AM
    Pittsford Community Library; free

    An informal, facilitated round-table discussion of any technical issues that consultants encounter in running their business, including computers, the Internet and telephones. Wondering what kind of questions people are asking lately? For a list from recent forums, click here.

    Caring for Clients and the Power of Presence
    Presenter: Jim Ramerman
    Friday, Dec. 13, 2013
    8:00 AM - 9:30 AM
    Brighton Town Hall - Downstairs Meeting Room
    Please note: The RPCN non-member meeting charge is now $10.

    Co-CEO and co-founder of the McArdle Ramerman Center, Jim Ramerman believes in building a strong, personal connection with each client, based on trust and authenticity. How does the consultant build that kind of relationship? What will be the results for both the client and the consultant? This will be a dialogue with time for interaction, reflection and questions as well as answers. Here is a video introduction to his presentation:


    Business Forum
    Facilitated by Bob Lurz
    Friday, December 20, 2013
    8:00 AM - 9:30 AM
    Pittsford Community Library; free

    An informal, facilitated roundtable discussion of issues regarding starting or running a consulting business. Wondering what kind of questions people are asking lately? For a list from recent forums, click here

    RPCN Board Meeting
    Friday, December 20, 2013
    10:00 AM - 12:00 PM
    Pittsford Community Library

    RPCN’s monthly board meeting begins at approximately 10:00 AM, after the Business Forum. Everyone is welcome to attend, but only board members may vote.

    No Meeting
    Friday, December 27, 2013

    Wishing you and yours a most wonderful holiday season!


    RPCN in the news

    RPCN is highlighted in a career story in the November/December issue of "55 Plus" Magazine. Career coach Lynn Dessert, owner of Leadership Breakthrough Inc., is quoted about the challenge of launching a new freelancing or consulting business in your field. "It may be scary," she says, "but the Rochester Professional Consultants Network may help. Check out a couple of its meetings."


    RPCN Membership Store

    By Jerry Seward

    Show your pride in your RPCN membership!

    The RPCN Logo Store is now online. In partnership with CafePress.com, RPCN members may now purchase merchandise imprinted with the RPCN logo. You may choose from various items, such as coffee mugs, shirts, hats, mousepads, calendars, tote bags, travel mugs and laptop sleeves.

    The link to the store will soon be on the RPCN website. In the interim, you can visit CafePress.com/rpcn to shop securely online.


    Making your business better

    Blogging: Hannah Morgan lists three questions you need to ask yourself before starting a business blog in her Democrat and Chronicle article To blog or not to blog.

    Compliments: Have you ever thought how your response to a compliment might differentiate you from your competitors? Bob Whipple explains why you should not “waste the opportunity with a throw-away line like ‘No problem’” in his blog post Response when people thank you.


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  • 02-Nov-2013 2:35 PM | Steve Royal (Administrator)

    Entrepreneurial success = risk + inspiration, panelists say

    by Michael Van der Gaag, President

    What a great event! Our first TrendTalk, “Challenges and Opportunities in the Rochester High-Tech Sector” on Oct. 16, was a complete success. Special thanks to Mike Molaire and the Communication Committee for a wonderfully effective job. We also extend many thanks to the three presenters, Chuck Provini, Bob Kot and Bill Pollock, and of course to our own Beth Sears, who did such an exquisite job as moderator.

    The three presenters, each pursuing different dreams and businesses, had in common the willingness to risk, vision and passion in their pursuit, and an ability to inspire others.

    Chuck Provini, a Naval Academy graduate and former Wall Street executive, believes that risk plus inspiration in the pursuit of the right technology will yield success. His Natcore Technology is creating safer methods for materials required to increase efficiency and lower cost while improving the total power output of solar-powered cells.

    Bob Kot, managing director for new ventures at High Tech Rochester, said that if you have the entrepreneurial gene, the energy you gain from accepting risk will allow you to pursue your dream. He often would wake up worried about various problems, he said, but the worry was energizing rather than debilitating.

    Bill Pollock, who grew Optimation into a 400-employee operation, was willing to risk it all in pursuing his dream. More recently, he leveraged this successful business to resurrect Kingsbury Corporation from bankruptcy, moving it to Rochester in 2012. The company recently signed an agreement with Kodak to manufacture touch-screen sensors based on photographic film technology.

    We learned a lot from these three panelists:

    • While many people avoid risk, risk is the source of energy and motivation for the successful entrepreneur (Risk = Energy + Motivation).
    • While fear and dread may be disabling to many people, fear motivates the successful entrepreneur to get up, find the right solution and get work done.
    • If you are passionate about the business you are pursuing, you can inspire those around you to pick up the cause. With the right talent, vision and inspiration, you can overcome any obstacles.
    • Be willing to make mistakes. Only by failure do you learn lessons for what to do better next time.
    • Connections matter. Seek out others who can provide you with feedback and guidance. Find the right fit and direction.
    • Be persistent in following your dream. Be fearless, accept risk, get motivated and inspire others: (Risk + Vision + Opportunity) x (Talent + Persistence) = Success.

    What does all this mean to members of RPCN? We are an organization of diverse individuals all united in the cause of pursuing excellence in consulting. We provide programs to help you develop your skills to be a better entrepreneur, a better consultant. We provide a safe place for you to test your ideas, express your fears and share your passions. Through RPCN’s relationships (alliances) with other organizations, we can help you develop your image and reputation, and pursue your dreams.

    We are working on future special events, including a TrendTalk on the challenges and opportunities in the healthcare or nonprofit sector for February, a Consultants Bootcamp for February, and a conference in mid-2014. All of these events will continue to encourage members and prospective members of RPCN to develop that entrepreneurial spirit as we pursue our dreams for our own consulting businesses and RPCN itself.

    One final thought: TrendTalk’s success was the result of one member, Mike Molaire, who had an inspiration and was willing to step up and drive the event to success. If you have ideas for future events or topics, please share them. If you want to ensure that these future events are as successful as the first TrendTalk, step up and help out. You’ll gain exposure inside the organization and in the community; you’ll have a chance to demonstrate your leadership and teamwork; and you’ll get bragging rights. More importantly, you’ll have some fun while helping the organization continue to improve its service to members.

    Ed. note: To see more photos from the TrendTalk event, visit RPCN's Facebook page. While there, you can "like" the page to see other updates. (Photo: Janice Hanson)


    Member of Communication Committee enjoys work/life balance thanks to consulting

    By Ruth E. Thaler-Carter

    Janice K. Hanson chose to leave a full-time job in search of a better work/life balance. She started JK Hanson Wordcraft in January 2012, and it has enabled her to take on volunteer roles that she enjoys in addition to her communications work.

    Hanson, a member of the RPCN Communication Committee who designs the monthly email newsletter and projects such as the promotional flyer and program for the first TrendTalk event, started her consulting business after looking into the process in detail. “I had done some research, and I had a one-on-one with SCORE,” she recalled. “The very next day, I went to the county clerk’s office for my DBA and shortly thereafter set up a business bank account.”

    Hanson moved to Rochester from Vermont in 2002 when her husband accepted a job with Kodak. Building on her marketing experience at an arts center in Burlington, she found a job in marketing at the Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra (RPO), handling the program book, e-mail newsletters and the website, among other projects. She left the RPO in November 2011 and took the next few months to start her consulting business, focusing primarily on editing and proofreading.

    To find out more about how RPCN helped her find a way to quickly and easily create a website when she was launching her business, what strategies she uses to find clients, and how she gives back to the arts community, click here.

    Here is a video interview with Hanson.


    RPCN Communication Committee member Ruth E. Thaler-Carter is an award-winning freelance writer, editor and proofreader. She can be reached at www.writerruth.com.


    Making your business better

    Influencers: More than 300 LinkedIn members are part of the LinkedIn Influencers Program. These members are thought leaders who share their insights directly via LinkedIn. You can follow any influencer without being connected to them. To learn more, read the post The Surprising Brilliance of the LinkedIn Influencers Program.

    Pinterest: Want people to pin your blog posts to their Pinterest accounts? Emily Carpenter tells you what to do in her post 10 Steps to a Pinnable Blog.



    Benefit from the RPCN’s new Member Referral Program

    Do you know someone who is considering becoming an RPCN member? Are you considering RPCN membership? If so, you could become eligible for a $25 gift card.

    RPCN has introduced a new Member Referral Program that provides incentives to both current and new members.

    Here’s how it works. Each quarter, we will conduct a drawing that includes the names of new members and anyone who referred a new member within that quarter. (We collect referral information when new members join.) We will draw one name from each group – a current and a new member – and each will receive a $25 gift card.

    •  The drawings will be held at one of the Friday meetings.
    •  The winners will be notified by phone/e-mail, if not present at the meeting.
    • The winners’ names will be included in newsletter.
    Click here for more information on the benefits of joining the RPCN.

     

     

     

    In this issue:


    We want you!

    The RPCN newsletter welcomes news, success stories, tips, resources, events and other items that would be of broad interest to consultants. Submit a newsletter item by e-mail to the Communication Committee. RPCN members also may write articles for our website; submit articles here. In the newsletter, we'll highlight submitted articles aimed at helping consultants make their businesses better.

    If you have newsletter questions or suggestions, or ideas for how RPCN could improve communications, contact the Communication Committee:
    Chris Swingle, Chair
    Janice Hanson
    Barbara Moore
    Ruth E. Thaler-Carter
    Steve Royal


    Upcoming events

    Technical Forum
    Facilitated by Steve Royal
    Friday, Nov. 1, 2013
    8:00 AM - 9:30 AM
    Pittsford Community Library

    An informal, facilitated round-table discussion of any technical issues that consultants encounter in running their business, including computers, the Internet and telephones. Wondering what kind of questions people are asking lately? For a list from recent forums, click here.

    How to Set and Achieve Goals for 2014
    Presenter: Tracey Aiello
    Friday, Nov. 8, 2013
    8:00 AM - 9:30 AM
    Brighton Town Hall - Downstairs Meeting Room

    Have you ever made a New Year’s resolution, not achieved it and then wondered why? Fewer than 3% of all people who make New Year’s resolutions actually achieve them. It is easy to set goals and harder to accomplish them. Learn not only how to set goals for 2014 but also how to achieve them to have the best year of your life. Presented by Tracey Aiello of Winning Career Strategies. Here's a video introduction:

      
    Business Forum
    Facilitated by David Powe
    Friday, Nov. 15, 2013
    8:00 AM - 9:30 AM
    Pittsford Community Library

    An informal, facilitated roundtable discussion of issues regarding starting or running a consulting business. Wondering what kind of questions people are asking lately? For a list from recent forums, click here.
       
    RPCN Board Meeting
    Friday, Nov. 15, 2013
    10:00 AM - 12:00 PM
    Pittsford Community Library

    RPCN’s monthly board meeting begins at approximately 10:00 AM, after the Business Forum. Everyone is welcome to attend, but only board members may vote.

    Using Newsletters to Tell your Story
    Presenters: Janice Hanson, Chris Swingle,
    Ruth E. Thaler-Carter Friday, Nov. 22, 2013
    8:00 AM - 9:30 AM
    Brighton Town Hall - Downstairs Meeting Room

    Should your business, organization or project have a newsletter? What are the pros and cons? How does a newsletter relate to your website, social media or other marketing efforts? How would you get started? What do you need to create and maintain a good one? What are the key problems you want to avoid? Find out the answers to these questions at this joint presentation by members of the RPCN Communication Committee. Here's a video introduction:


    Of interest

    Consulting bootcamp: Mark your calendar for the next RPCN Consulting Bootcamp, to be held on five consecutive Tuesdays starting February 4, 2014. Learn how to start or improve your consulting business. More info to come.

    Social media: Do you need to get more familiar with how to use social media to attract new customers and engage current ones? SCORE Rochester presents this workshop on social marketing for small business owners. Thursday, Nov. 7, 2013, 8:45 AM, Rochester Business Alliance, 150 State Street, Rochester. Pre-registration is required. Click here for details and to register.


    New members

    RPCN welcomes one new member this month. Click on the name below to view her profile.

    Kimberly Wilborn


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  • 27-Sep-2013 5:02 PM | Steve Royal (Administrator)

    Leaders among us

    by Michael Van der Gaag, President

    Once I became involved with the RPCN, it didn‘t take me long to realize that, for the organization to be successful, it requires more than vision, savvy officers or skilled committee heads. To produce even the smallest event requires the participation, zeal, energy and diligence of members who step up and take on responsibilities.

    The “Social Media: Ready, Set, Go” conference held last year took a team of 12 to bring it all together. Most conference-team members were not on the board, nor were they members of committees. They were just professionals who wanted to see the event and the organization succeed.

    This newsletter is another example. It is the fruit of the efforts of four dedicated and creative individuals who support each other and each of us. In addition to writing pieces of their own, they plan, edit, reformat and re-compose pieces that others contribute, assembling them all to become this most excellent publication.

    By the time you read this, we will have had our presentation on what we learned from the Member Survey and the implications as you, the members, saw them, and we will have started to prioritize how the organization should proceed to further our agenda for member business development and membership growth.

    Since that meeting likely won’t have included everyone, we need your input on prioritizing our group’s next actions.
    Click here to review the list of projects and prioritize your favorites.

    An equally important question: Are you willing to step up to make these visions a reality? There is a place at the end of the survey to fill in your name and contact info if you are willing to work on any of your high-priority items.

    Thank you for supporting RPCN and helping us grow to serve you better.


    Meet area tech leaders at first RPCN TrendTalk on Oct. 16

    RPCN’s first TrendTalk event, "Challenges and Opportunities in the Rochester High-Tech Sector," is coming up on Wednesday, October 16, beginning at 5 PM, at the Radisson Airport Hotel. Don’t miss this chance to hear from and interact with leaders in the high-tech sector, including solar energy and touch panel displays. Deadline for the best rate: September 30. The registration deadline is Thursday, October 10.

    The panelists for the evening event are Charles Provini, president and CEO of Natcore Technology; Bob Kot, managing director of new ventures at High Tech Rochester; and Bill Pollock, CEO of Optimation and of Kingsbury Corporation. Beth Sears, president of Workplace Communication, Inc./Good Enough to Great Coaching, will serve as moderator.

    The evening includes dinner (choice of London broil, lemon-pepper haddock or vegetable primavera) and tickets start at $30 for RPCN members when registering by Sept. 30. To register, click here.


    Sandy Zohari combines tech and art in two successful businesses

    By Ruth E. Thaler-Carter

    RPCN members may recognize long-time member Sandy Zohari ’s name because of her database management business (AzoTek Database Solutions), but she also has a jewelry business. She applies much of what she’s learned from RPCN to both enterprises – one right-brain, one left-brain, with a shared focus on design. “When I do a database, I do design,” Zohari says. “It has to look good and be easy for people to use. The elements have to fit together as an entity.”

    Zohari also applies her tech skills to her jewelry business. That may not be a consulting service, but “RPCN has been helpful regardless,” she says. The RPCN social media conference and a recent presentation on Pinterest were especially useful for marketing her jewelry.

    For the full scoop on how Zohari got started, balances her two businesses, has benefited from RPCN resources and advises colleagues for success, click here.

    Here is a video interview with Zohari.


    RPCN member Ruth E. Thaler-Carter is an award-winning freelance writer, editor and proofreader. She can be reached at Ruth@writerruth.com.


    Making your business better

    Scope creep: Learn how to effectively deal with a project that morphs into far more than you expected it to involve in the article “Freelancing Basics: Dealing with Job Creep and Interruptions” by Ruth Thaler-Carter on the Society for Technical Communication (STC) blog.

    Ah ha moments: On her Elephants at Work blog, Lynn Dessert writes about how a change in beliefs can lead to an “ah ha” moment.

    Abilene paradox: Robert Whipple writes about how to break the paradox of a group of people actually doing something that not a single person in the group really wants to do. Read more on his blog, The Trust Ambassador.


    Of interest

    Forums: The RPCN's monthly Business and Technical Forums give members and guests the opportunity to ask questions about your website, software, equipment, how to set your prices, building professional networks and other issues affecting your consulting business and plans. For the kinds of questions that get asked each month, click here.

    Social media: Arthur Catalanello, VP with Harvey Research, Inc. and social media strategist for The August Group, presents "Social Media and the Job Search." This overview will detail the roles of LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook and Google+ in today's job search. The presentation is Tuesday, October 1, from 7-8:30 PM at the Penfield Public Library on Baird Road. There will be time for networking before and after, as well as Q&A after. Click here to register.


    New members

    RPCN welcomes two new members this month. Click on their names to view their profiles.

    Dawn Hampsey

    Martin Brett

     

     

     

    In this issue:


    We want you!

    The RPCN newsletter welcomes news, success stories, tips, resources, events and other items that would be of broad interest to consultants. Submit a newsletter item by email to the Communication Committee. RPCN members also may write articles for our website; submit articles here. In the newsletter, we'll highlight submitted articles aimed at helping consultants make their businesses better.

    If you have newsletter questions or suggestions, or ideas for how RPCN could improve communications, contact the Communication Committee:
    Chris Swingle, Chair
    Janice Hanson
    Barbara Moore
    Ruth E. Thaler-Carter
    Steve Royal


    Upcoming events

    Technical Forum
    facilitated by Steve Royal
    Friday, October 4, 2013
    8:00 AM - 9:30 AM
    Pittsford Community Library

    An informal, facilitated roundtable discussion of any technical issues that consultants encounter in running their businesses, including computers, the Internet and telephones.

    Fraud Busting: Prevention and Detection for your Business
    presented by Paula Randall
    Friday, October 11, 2013
    8:00 AM - 9:30 AM
    Brighton Town Hall - Downstairs Meeting Room

    Certified fraud investigator Paula Randall of Alliance4Accountability, LLC, will talk about fraud prevention and awareness for small businesses, non-profits and individuals. Here is a video introduction to her presentation:


    TrendTalk: Challenges and Opportunities in the Rochester High-Tech Sector
    Wednesday, October 16, 2013
    5:00 PM - 9:00 PM
    Radisson Airport Hotel

    This new series of panel discussions on local business sectors kicks off with a discussion about the high-tech field, which is bustling in Rochester, including solar energy, battery technology, touch panel displays and biofuels. Come hear from and interact with three of the leaders making things happen locally in this sector. Discount ends Sept. 30. Registration deadline: Oct. 10.

    Business Forum
    facilitated by Bob Lurz
    Friday, October 18, 2013
    8:00 AM - 9:30 AM
    Pittsford Community Library

    An informal, facilitated roundtable discussion of issues regarding starting or running a consulting business.

    RPCN Board Meeting
    Friday, October 18, 2013
    10:00 AM - 12:00 PM
    Pittsford Community Library

    RPCN’s monthly board meeting begins at approximately 10:00 AM, after the Business Forum. Everyone is welcome to attend, but only board members may vote.

    Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, and Their Impact on Small Businesses
    presented by Jane Ahrens
    Friday, October 25, 2013
    8:00 AM - 9:30 AM
    Brighton Town Hall - Downstairs Meeting Room

    Jane Ahrens of the Ahrens Benefits Company will talk about the NY State Health Insurance Exchange, including who qualifies to use it, who is obligated to use it, how it will work, what impact it will have on health insurance rates and much more. Here is a video introduction to her presentation:


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  • 30-Aug-2013 2:29 PM | Steve Royal (Administrator)

    New ways to get involved

    by Michael Van der Gaag, President

    At the RPCN picnic in August, we were talking about the activities we are planning for this year and the hope we have for growing the organization, not just in numbers, but also in its relevance to members’ businesses and support of your success. Here are some of the things we have planned with that in mind.

    Our new TrendTalk series is shaping up quite nicely to be an opportunity to look to future challenges and opportunities in various business sectors. The first one, on the high-tech industry, is planned for the evening of October 16 and looks to be a great chance to network, not just with RPCN colleagues and alumni, but with members of the business community as well. Each event offers sponsorship opportunities to get your brand out there in front of the public. (We have eight sponsors and are past the sponsorship deadline for the October event. Watch the newsletter for the chance to sponsor February’s health care sector event.) These panel discussion dinner gatherings will be well-publicized and sponsors’ logos will be prominently displayed in promotional materials before and during the program.

    We also have had a conversation about expanding our offerings of evening events that would make it more convenient for some of you to participate. For instance, would a more informal Fifth Thursday Evening Networking Event appeal to you?  We would charge a nominal $5 to $7 to cover tapas and drinks.

    As you may guess, we have learned quite a bit from the June Member Survey. We plan to share the results with you at a special presentation meeting on September 27. Effectively using the findings to help RPCN grow and serve members better will require your involvement and your support. Come help us identify the survey’s implications for the RPCN and to prioritize our response through future events and programs. (Since we will be focusing on the RPCN, there will be no charge for this meeting at Brighton Town Hall.)

    Oh, by the way … we will initiate new online discussions (on Facebook, LinkedIn and the RPCN website) to collect your thoughts and suggestions on these and a variety of other RPCN topics. What’s your favorite platform? Tell us by clicking on this one-question poll.

    See you at our next Friday meeting. I especially look forward to the meeting on September 27. Get involved!


    Explore survey results and next steps at Sept. 27 meeting

    by Lori Cohen

    Did you know that 56% of our members set financial goals for their businesses and that 48% have reached their goals? These are just two of the facts that we learned from the Strategic Performance Survey that the RPCN conducted in June. We want to thank members who took part and provided excellent comments, suggestions and feedback. Below are more highlights from the survey, which had a gratifying response rate of more than 80%.

    Members’ experience

    • 80% have > 10 years’ experience in their fields.
    • 50% have > 5 years’ consulting experience.
    • 75% of our members have > 2 years of experience in consulting.
    • 54% of our members have a certification in their field of expertise.

    Members’ businesses

    • Almost 70% of our members have clients outside our local area.
    • 70% of our members rely on repeat customers for at least 25% of their business.
    • < 20% get the majority of their business from repeat customers.
    • < 20% get the majority of their business from referrals.

    What members said about the RPCN

    • Networking and learning about consulting combined account for about 60% of the reasons for joining the RPCN.
    • 67% of our members report that the RPCN meets their expectations.

    How do you interpret these results and what are the implications for the RPCN? Come join us on September 27 to explore the details and help identify the next steps we should take.

    Lori Cohen was a member of the RPCN survey team.


    Solving computer challenges with skills and a sense of humor

    by Chris Swingle

    Barbara Moore found herself with the right skills at the right time to create a successful computer training and troubleshooting business in 1996.

    Trained as a librarian specializing in information technology, she had been in charge of automating 30 public libraries for Monroe County Library Services in the 1980s. Then, into the 1990s, she worked as assistant director of libraries for automation at the University of Rochester, where she was a key player in developing the university’s first website. At that time, the Internet was becoming easier to use, and more people wanted to learn how. The library trained faculty and staff.

    “I realized then there would be a good demand, and I realized how much I enjoyed training,” says Moore.

    Click here to read how she got past her fears, how her women’s rights advocacy played a role and what tip she still uses from an RPCN conference in 2004.

    Click here for a video excerpt.

    Chris Swingle, chrisswingle.com, is a freelance writer and chairs RPCN’s Communication Committee.


    MCC Workforce Development opportunity to train

    Several RPCN members have submitted proposals to create and teach training programs through Monroe Community College (MCC) Workforce Development Programs. This opportunity is still open. Click here for the current course listings.

    To submit what you could offer, provide the program title, outline, description, number of sessions and hours; what participants will be able to do as a result of completing the program; and your name, e-mail address and phone.

    Send it to Charles Caples, program director of MCC Workforce Development, ccaples@monroecc.edu, and copy it to Michael Van der Gaag, RPCN president, mvan@beyondtheinterface.com, and to Bob Lurz, RPCN Alliances chair, RFLurz@ConsultantsAccelerator.com.

    If Charles Caples is interested, he will contact you to negotiate fees and dates.


    Making your business better

    Perfectionism: Are you a perfectionist? According to Beth Sears, "High standards are a good thing, along with doing your best and striving for excellence. Perfectionism, however, involves setting standards so high they are unattainable." Read her article Perfectionism Can Undermine Productivity on herRochester.com.

    LinkedIn Tips: Avoid LinkedIn's auto-invite, instead send individual personal invites. That's one tip Emily Carpenter gives in her blog post 9 Tips to Get Your LinkedIn Invites Accepted.

    Freelancing conference: RPCN members are eligible for the colleague's discount on registration for the Sept. 27-28 Communication Central conference in Rochester - "Be a Better Freelancer: Marketing Magic and More for Your Business" - designed for freelance writers, editors, proofreaders, indexers, graphic artists, photographers and other business owners.


    RPCN forums provide insights

    By Steve Royal and Ruth E. Thaler-Carter

    Every month, RPCN offers both a Business Forum and a Technical Forum to give members and aspiring consultants the opportunity to ask questions about issues affecting their consulting businesses and plans. Attendees contribute answers. Moderated by long-time RPCN members, the forums are invaluable resources for answers on a wide range of general and specific topics.

    Among the topics that came up at the August 2013 Business Forum:

    • How do I know what and how to charge for my services?
    • How can I get more business from RPCN members?
    • How can I deal with many leads in a short time?
    • How do I build professional networks?
    • How do I market my business of assisting high-potential employees?
    Topics that came up at the RPCN Technical Forum in August included:
    • How can my web camera really do all the things it claims on the box?
    • Should I buy a netbook or a Google Chromebook?
    • Why are some e-mails I send out being blocked by Gmail?
    • What phone apps are best for my business?
    • Why is a file transferred with my FTP program not found on the Internet?
    • How can I keep track of my passwords?
    • Can I record over-the-air television programs without cost?
    • As a consultant, are there any software discounts available?
    Forum topics can always be found on the RPCN website.

     

     

     

    In this issue:


    We want you!

    The RPCN newsletter welcomes news, success stories, tips, resources, events and other items that would be of broad interest to consultants. Submit a newsletter item by email to the Communication Committee. RPCN members also may write articles for our website; submit articles here. In the newsletter, we'll highlight submitted articles aimed at helping consultants make their businesses better.

    If you have newsletter questions or suggestions, or ideas for how the RPCN could improve communications, contact the Communication Committee:
    Chris Swingle, Chair
    Janice Hanson
    Barbara Moore
    Ruth E. Thaler-Carter
    Steve Royal


    Upcoming events

    Technical Forum
    Facilitated by Steve Royal
    Friday, Sept. 6, 2013
    8 AM - 9:30 AM
    Pittsford Community Library

    An informal, facilitated roundtable discussion of any technical issues that consultants encounter in running their businesses, including computers, the Internet and phones.

    How Consultants Make Money
    Presented by Mary Anne Shew
    Friday, Sept. 13, 2013
    8 AM - 10:30 AM
    Brighton Town Hall - Downstairs Meeting Room

    Most consultants either have (or know they need) some sort of strategic plan that outlines vision, goals and objectives. They also usually have processes in place to organize the work and produce the output. But what they don’t know is exactly how the various pieces of their businesses work together to actually earn money – a blueprint of the working pieces. This presentation outlines a simple model that can be used by consultants to get a grip on revenue and expenses, assess opportunities and coordinate growth. Note: This program will end at 10:30 AM.

    Here is a video introduction to her presentation:



    Business Forum
    Facilitated by Bob Lurz
    Friday, Sept. 20, 2013
    8 AM - 9:30 AM
    Pittsford Community Library

    An informal, facilitated roundtable discussion of issues regarding starting or running a consulting business.

    RPCN Board Meeting
    Friday, Sept. 20, 2013
    10 AM – 12 PM
    Pittsford Community Library

    RPCN’s monthly board meeting begins at approximately 10 AM, following the Business Forum. Everyone is welcome to attend, but only board members may vote.

    Reservation deadline
    Friday, Sept. 20, 2013

    Friendly reminder: Sept. 20 is the last chance to save $10 on the registration for TrendTalk: Challenges and Opportunities in the Rochester High-Tech Sector. Click here for event information and registration.

    RPCN Survey Results
    Presented by Michael Van der Gaag and Lori Cohen
    Friday, Sept. 27, 2013
    8 AM - 9:30 AM
    Brighton Town Hall - Downstairs Meeting Room

    Mike and Lori will review the results of the recent survey of RPCN members and collect input on how to use this information to help RPCN better help its members.

    Here is an introductory video of their presentation:



    Of interest

    3D printing: Digital Rochester hosts a presentation about 3D printing with Dr. Denis Cormier of RIT, who will provide an overview of 3D printing (additive manufacturing), followed by a panel discussion. Panelists will share their thoughts on current and emerging applications, opportunities for our community, and hopes and challenges for the future. Wednesday, Sept. 18, 2013, 7:30 AM, HSBC Auditorium. Click here for details and to register.

    Sales: Do you need to improve your selling skills so you can “get the sale”? SCORE Rochester presents Selling Skills for a Small Business, designed to help small business owners become more effective selling their products and/or services. Wednesday, Sept. 18, 2013, 8:45 AM, Federal Building, 100 State Street, Rochester. Click here for details and to register.

    Batting practice: High-tech startup entrepreneurs can refine a concept or practice an investor or sales presentation at the High Tech Rochester Batting Cage. Free to all area entrepreneurs, the feedback you'll receive is priceless. Sign up for an initial 90-minute time slot. The panel of coaches will typically include HTR's managing director of new ventures, technology commercialization managers and other experienced staffers and consultants. The program runs throughout the month of September. Click here for more information.


    New members

    RPCN welcomes two new members this month. Click on the links below to view their profiles.

    Ernie Newcomb Mike Butler

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  • 30-Jul-2013 10:48 AM | Steve Royal (Administrator)

    RPCN: A growing resource for opportunities

    by Michael Van der Gaag, President

    As entrepreneurs or sole proprietors looking to grow our businesses, we are always on the lookout for opportunities not only to gain clients but also to enhance our reputations and visibility. RPCN as an organization is also trying to grow and become better recognized and appreciated. The thought is that, as the reputation and recognition of RPCN grows, it will rub off on the members and help enhance their prestige as well.

    In this search for recognition and opportunity, we have been establishing alliances with local organizations. For a number of years, as a means of promoting consulting as a career choice, our members have been presenting at the RochesterWorks! Self Employment Assistance Program (SEAP) sessions. We have traditionally had a booth at the MCC/August Group Career Fair. We have occasionally appeared at other local events, such as this year’s Rochester Section of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) panel discussion on entrepreneurship. 

    In 2012, through our five-session Consulting Bootcamp, we became connected to High Tech Rochester (HTR). More recently, we’ve met to explore areas of mutual interest with Eastman Business Park, Monroe Community College (MCC) and the Genesee County Economic Development Center (GCEDC). We will soon add an Alliance Page to our website with links to our allies’ websites, and they will do the same for us.

    We are also in the process of improving the members-only Opportunities page of our website, rochesterconsultants.org/opportunities, to make it more easily accessible to members who wish to post opportunities or review and take advantage of what’s available. A member seeking account coordinators for her business recently asked to post that opportunity and qualifications. Members who have opted in for notifications of new postings on the Opportunities page were instantly alerted to the new information and could pursue the work or refer a friend. We would like to encourage more such postings as well as invitations for collaboration and mutual support.

    In this past month, both Eastman Business Park and MCC have expressed interest in being able to post opportunities with us. Eastman Business Park would like to share details of their clients’ projects and needed skills. MCC’s workforce development folks would like a place to invite RPCN members to submit ideas for technical training or business skills development workshops that they would be paid to teach.

    So keep your eyes on the RPCN website as we enhance these service pages for our members. Making RPCN an effective resource for opportunities is a key part of our new strategic goals.


    Opting in for RPCN items

    Did you know that you can be notified when certain types of information get posted to our RPCN online discussion forums? You can opt in to one or more discussion topics: RPCN issues, Website Q&A, Networking/educational events, Opportunities, Business discussions, Social media discussions, Technical discussions and Water cooler (for socializing, award announcements, etc.). Otherwise, to see the information, you must visit that section of the website.

    How to opt in: On the homepage, rochesterconsultants.org, login and click on Members-only, then Discussion Area. Click on a discussion. To receive notice of new posts to that discussion topic, click on “Subscribe to forum” at the top right.

    To control how often you receive notifications, go to your profile (click “View profile” in the green box to the lower left), click “Email subscriptions,” click “Edit profile,” and then you can select Daily (the default), Weekly or Immediately.


    Stitching her way to consulting

    By Chris Swingle

    Stefani Tadio grew up in a family of people who create art – a mom who sews and crochets, a father who does woodworking, and a sister who knits. “My family says it’s in our DNA,” says Tadio, who has done quilting, pottery, needlepoint, cross-stitching and rubber stamping.

    But she’s the only one who sells her art. “I loved it so much I thought, ‘I wonder if I can make money doing what I love,’ ” says Tadio, who lives in Perinton. She started her business, Pine Tree Designs, in 2004 with rubber stamp art. Then she saw a book of embroidery on paper and was entranced. She switched her focus to hand-stitching original designs on paper with needle and shiny thread.

    Now she is working on expanding into a consulting role. Click here to read about the artists’ association that Tadio created and how she plans to use her coordination skills and connections.

    Here is a video interview with Stefani Tadio.


    Chris Swingle, chrisswingle.com, is a freelance writer and chairs RPCN’s Communication Committee.


    New RPCN discussion series: TrendTalk

    On Wednesday, October 16, RPCN will hold TrendTalk: Opportunities and Challenges in Rochester's High Tech Sector, the first in a new series of panel discussions on local business sectors. This discussion – which will be held at the Radisson Airport Hotel and which also includes dinner – will feature Charles Provini, CEO of Natcore Technology; Bill Pollock, CEO of Optimation and of Kingsbury Corporation; and Bob Kot, director of New Ventures at High Tech Rochester. Future sessions will focus on the health care, nonprofit, religious and other sectors of the local economy that are of interest to RPCN members.

    RPCN is seeking local corporations, small businesses and consultants to sponsor the first event in the TrendTalk series. The sponsorship deadline is Saturday, August 10. Friday, September 20, is the early-registration deadline to attend the event, after which time the price goes up. Click here for details and to register.


    Great participation in member survey

    We want to thank members who took part in our recent Strategic Performance Survey. We had a response rate of over 80% and received excellent comments, suggestions and feedback. As we analyze the results in the next few weeks, please take the time to think about participating in the upcoming focus groups. How would you like RPCN to meet your expectations and support your growth? How will you contribute to our mutual success?

    We will share more about the survey results in the September newsletter.


    Of interest

    RPCN projector: Need a projector? RPCN members can rent the group's ViewSonic PJ551 LCD projector, which can display video, images or computer data on a screen or other flat surface. The rental fee is $50/day. There is also a $100 security deposit. Click here for the leasing policy and the rental agreement.

    Small business newsletter: The Small Business Resource Center at the Rochester Public Library is publishing a newsletter for small businesses, through paper.li. Check it out for the latest news for small businesses. Starting a business? Contact the Library’s Small Business Resource Center at 585-428-8130 or visit them on the fourth floor of Central Library building, 115 South Avenue, Rochester, NY 14604.

     

     

     

    In this issue:


    We want you!

    The RPCN newsletter welcomes news, success stories, tips, resources, events and other items that would be of broad interest to consultants. Submit a newsletter item by email to the Communication Committee. RPCN members also may write articles for our website; submit articles here. In the newsletter, we'll highlight submitted articles aimed at helping consultants make their businesses better.

    If you have newsletter questions or suggestions, or ideas for how RPCN could improve communications, contact the Communication Committee:
    Chris Swingle, Chair
    Brian Kane
    Janice Hanson
    Barbara Moore
    Ruth E. Thaler-Carter
    Steve Royal


    Upcoming events

    Technical Forum
    facilitated by Steve Royal
    Friday, August 2, 2013
    8:00 AM - 9:30 AM
    Pittsford Community Library

    An informal, facilitated roundtable discussion of any technical issues that consultants encounter in running their businesses, including computers, the Internet and telephones.

    Genesee County: Regional Opportunities
    presented by Chris Suozzi
    Friday, August 9, 2013
    8:00 AM - 9:30 AM
    Brighton Town Hall - Downstairs Meeting Room

    Get the latest on fast-growing Genesee County, with a focus on three strategic businesses: agribusiness, advanced manufacturing and life sciences. New business parks include huge yogurt-making facilities. There are plans to add up to 10,000 new jobs, including in the semi-conductor industry. Business is booming. Find out how consultants can help or benefit!

    Here’s a video introduction to the program.



    Business Forum
    facilitated by Brian Kane
    Friday, August 16, 2013
    8:00 AM - 9:30 AM
    Pittsford Community Library

    Our special guest is Jim Drago, principal applications engineer at Garlock Sealing Technologies, LLC, a Palmyra-based company that Drago describes as growing and thriving. In addition to our regular informal, facilitated roundtable discussion about running your consulting business, we will hear from Drago about the company and how it uses consultants.

    Here’s a video introduction by Jim Drago:



    RPCN Board Meeting
    Friday, August 16, 2013
    10:00 AM - 12:00 PM
    Pittsford Community Library

    RPCN’s monthly board meeting begins at approximately 10:00 AM, following the Business Forum. Everyone is welcome to attend, but only board members may vote.

    RPCN Picnic
    Sunday, August 18, 2013
    Rand Lodge at Powder Mills Park
    1:00 - 5:00 PM
    (eat at 2:30 PM)

    Join us for this year’s RPCN Picnic. RPCN will provide hot dogs, hamburgers, pork ribs and beverages. There is no charge for members and one guest; $5 each for non-members and additional guests. Please bring a dish to share. Registration is required for an accurate count. Please register online by August 14.

    Beyond IRAs: Retirement Plan Options for Consultants
    presented by Stephen A. Melnyk
    Friday, August 23, 2013    
    8:00 AM - 9:30 AM
    Brighton Town Hall - Downstairs Meeting Room

    Depending on the business structure and number of employees, the law provides for several retirement plan options for a business. An individual may have more options available than just an individual IRA. This presentation will discuss those options, and potential pros and cons of each. Stephen Melnyk is a financial advisor with Merrill Lynch.

    Here’s a video introduction to the program:


    New members

    RPCN welcomes one new member this month. Click on the link below to view her profile.

    Claudette Entenberg


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  • 28-Jun-2013 10:26 AM | Steve Royal (Administrator)

    Welcome to a new era

    by Michael Van der Gaag, President

    As we start a new fiscal year with new leadership, the board members and I are excited about a new mission for our organization and look forward to engaging members in making it a reality.

    Throughout RPCN’s nearly 24 years, strategic planning has enabled the organization to make subtle shifts in direction, program focus and member benefits. The latest round has resulted in a bold leap: RPCN’s new mission is to enable its members to develop premier consulting businesses that deliver customer-centered solutions that are better, smarter and more innovative.

    We have been an organization that promotes professionalism, ethics and excellence in consulting. We’ve provided opportunities for members to develop and grow in their profession, network with other consultants and the business community, and acquire mutual support.

    We will still provide educational programs, technical forums and business forums, but they will be focused on business areas that directly affect members’ success.

    Make no mistake, this is ambitious! We intend to measure the success of the organization by the success of the members (as you, the members, define it). As you know, we are currently surveying the membership to understand where we are currently in setting and meeting our business milestones. Now that we will measure RPCN’s success by your achievement, we will need your support and involvement more than ever. In the near future, we will be conducting focus groups to refine our understanding of your needs. We will need you to help us define, find and sometimes deliver the topics, training and support programs that members need to enable them to set real objectives and achieve real success.

    In support of the new strategy, we are planning other areas of growth:

    • We are looking to expand our offerings through a “Learn from the Best” program in which we will periodically engage well-known practitioners and thought leaders from a variety of industries and areas of business. “Learn from the Best” will help our members enhance their skills and business acumen and grow by adopting new thinking and innovative techniques.
    • We are exploring the possibility of adding evening sessions. Those of you who are too busy to make Friday morning sessions would have more convenient alternatives for special “Learn from the Best” topics or perhaps just for networking.
    • The Boot Camp for starting a consulting business (conducted last year) was so successful that we are considering running it again and perhaps making it an annual staple of the organization. We are also thinking about adding a “level 2” version to help experienced consultants expand their techniques as well as their business.
    • Just as we have published promotional videos and member stories on the website, our future plans include live webcasting and recording of meetings to help those of you with scheduling conflicts to participate in and keep abreast of RPCN happenings.
    • Finally, in the next few months, we will be engaging with you to examine the website to identify needed improvements and to better support the new programs.

    As I said, this is ambitious! It's a lot to tackle all at once, but with your help and participation, we'll prioritize and accomplish these changes in due course. For the programs and improvements to be successful, we will need your participation, your support and your guidance. After all, this is your RPCN.

    The full strategic plan is online; click here to view.

    I look forward to working with you to make this the best RPCN year ever. Welcome to the new era.


    Introducing the new VP and board members

    In the recent election, David Bassett was selected as RPCN’s new vice president, and he will serve a three-year term, becoming president in year two and immediate past president in year three.

    David Bassett has been a patent agent registered to practice before the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office since 2004 and has experience in biomedical, optics, business methods, computer utility patenting and design patenting. He has been treasurer of RPCN for several years, and also is program chairman of the Independent Entrepreneurs Council and a member of the American Intellectual Property Law Association and the National Association of Patent Practitioners.

    At the June RPCN board meeting, the following members were selected and approved to serve on the RPCN board of directors: Paula Randall, secretary; Kim Pandina, treasurer; and Janice Hanson, Bob Lurz, David Powe and Mike Molaire, members at large.
     
    They will join Michael Van der Gaag, the newly elected president, and Brian Kane, immediate past president, as the slate of officers for the coming fiscal year (which runs July-June).

    We thank Brian Kane for all of his work as RPCN president over the past year, moving the organization forward in a more strategic direction and helping consultants achieve results.

    We would also like to say thanks to Jen Ulrich for her contribution as secretary for the past three years and Lori Cohen for her efforts over the past three years as immediate past president and manager of the Membership Committee.


    Mike Molaire formulates a new career as a consultant

    by Ruth E. Thaler-Carter

    A native of Haiti who has become such a confirmed Rochesterian that he now prefers local weather to tropical climes, Michel “Mike” Frantz Molaire of Penfield, owner of Molaire Consulting LLC, is a dedicated RPCN member with a well-conceived consulting business based on a long-term career at Kodak.

    Molaire’s primary consulting business is “basically technical,” he says. “I help clients develop new materials and put them into formulations. They’re often developing new products. I help them plan to fit into their timeline and budget. I provide advice and sometimes help their staff implement the project.”

    Molaire brings a substantial level of skill, training and experience to his consulting business. He absorbed much of that background as a chemist in materials and formulation research and development at Kodak for 36 years, where his job was to invent things. In November 2012, he was recognized by the Museum of African-American History as one of 100 “Inspiring Minds: African-Americans in Science and Technology.”

    Molaire launched his consulting business about a year ago, after being downsized from Kodak in 2010. The first client for his consulting business was a company in South Korea, proof that a consultant “can do the work without leaving home or moving.” Click here to read more about how he prepared for his consulting business, and how RPCN has helped him to develop and promote his business. Here is a video interview with Mike Molaire.


    RPCN member Ruth E. Thaler-Carter is an award-winning freelance writer, editor and proofreader. She can be reached at Ruth@writerruth.com.


    Making your business better

    Small business advice: What's one thing you learned from running and growing your own business that might help other small businesses? Submit your advice along with an original photo of you at your business (with complete caption information of everyone pictured) to RocNext@DemocratandChronicle.com to possibly be featured in a gallery on RochesterNext.com. That section focuses on small businesses and innovation news, tips and trends. For examples of others, visit their website.
       
    Setting rates: Weighing whether to charge by the hour or per project, wondering what formula to use when setting your fees? Read Ruth Thaler-Carter's blog post Freelancing Basics: How and What to Charge for Your Freelance Work on the Society for Technical Communication website.


    New members

    RPCN welcomes one new member this month. Click on the link below to view her profile.

    Tracy Jong



     

     

     

    In this issue:


    Upcoming events

    Technical Forum
    Friday, July 5, 2013
    No meeting due to holiday.

    Getting the Most Out of Your Trade Show Experience
    presented by Ruth Balkin, Balkin Information Services
    Friday, July 12, 2013
    8:00 AM - 9:30 AM
    Brighton Town Hall - Downstairs Meeting Room

    Planning to attend a conference, exhibit at a trade show, or just look at the booths at the SOHO exposition or other show? Learn what you need to do to prepare in advance, "work the trade show" and follow up effectively.  Here’s a video introduction to the program:



    Business Forum
    facilitated by Bob Lurz
    Friday, July 19, 2013
    8:00 AM - 9:30 AM
    Pittsford Community Library

    An informal, facilitated roundtable discussion of issues regarding starting or running a consulting business.

    RPCN Board Meeting
    Friday, July 19, 2013
    10:00 AM - 12:00 PM
    Pittsford Community Library

    RPCN's monthly board meeting begins at approximately 10:00 AM following the Business Forum. Everyone is welcome to attend, but only board members may vote.

    Patenting Under the America Invents Act (AIA)
    presented by Dave Bassett, Bassett IP Strategies
    Friday, July 26, 2013   
    8:00 AM - 9:30 AM
    Brighton Town Hall - Downstairs Meeting Room

    The America Invents Act brought many changes to the U.S. patent system. Dave will review the patenting process and the protections patents provide to inventors, how these changes to the law will affect inventors, and discuss what steps inventors should take to preserve their intellectual property.
    Here’s a video introduction to the program:



    RPCN Summer Picnic 
    Sunday, August 18, 2013
    Rand Lodge at Powder Mill Park
    1:00-5:00 PM
    (eat at 2:30 PM)

    There is no charge for members and their guests; $5 for non-members. Meats, beverages (water & soda) and utensils will be provided. Members are asked to bring a dish to share.


    Update on RPCN member survey

    RPCN is currently conducting a brief survey of the membership to identify and provide programming that meets your needs and expectations.

    Your participation in this five-minute survey will get us started. If you haven’t already done so, please visit the website and click on the link on the home page to participate (members only).

    Our goal is to get 75% of members to complete the survey. If you haven’t completed it online, then you will be getting a call asking you to participate.

    Remember, we want RPCN to grow in a way that will help you and your business to grow.


    Of interest

    Social media: SCORE Rochester hosts a webinar on Building Word of Mouth Using Social Media on Thursday, July 11, at 1:00 PM. Lon Safko will talk about how to use social media to build buzz for your company, products and services.

    Writing and editing: Ruth Thaler-Carter will give workshops on Getting Started as a Freelance Writer (Monday, July 1, at 7:00 PM) and The Basics of Editing & Proofreading (Monday, July 29, at 7:00 PM) at Writers and Books, 740 University Avenue, Rochester.


    We want you!

    The RPCN newsletter welcomes news, success stories, tips, resources, events and other items that would be of broad interest to consultants. Submit a newsletter item by email to the Communication Committee. RPCN members also may write articles for our website; submit articles here. In the newsletter, we'll highlight submitted articles aimed at helping consultants make their businesses better.

    If you have newsletter questions or suggestions, or ideas for how RPCN could improve communications, contact the Communication Committee:
    Barbara Moore, Chair
    Brian Kane
    Chris Swingle
    Janice Hanson
    Ruth E. Thaler-Carter
    Steve Royal


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