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  • 02-Dec-2014 2:40 PM | Steve Royal (Administrator)

    Join RPCN for some holiday cheer!

    The Rochester Professional Consultants Network (RPCN) kicks off its 25th anniversary celebrations with a Holiday Dinner Party on Thursday, December 11, 2014, at the Bistro at Towpath Café, 6 North Main Street in Fairport. The event begins at 5:30 PM with a cocktail hour and networking. Dinner starts at 6:30 PM.

    Bring a guest and join your RPCN peers for some holiday cheer! Learn about the exciting and educational 25th anniversary events RPCN has planned.

    Our menu includes appetizers, butternut squash soup, salad, pork tenderloin in cider cream sauce, chicken-artichoke French, angel hair pasta, garlic smashed potatoes, fresh seasonal vegetables and assorted desserts. Your coffee, tea or soda is included in the price. There is a cash bar.

    Since this is the season to give back, we are collecting canned goods to donate to Foodlink. Help a neighbor in need by bringing a canned good to the dinner.

    Tickets are $20 for members and $30 for guests and can be purchased through the RPCN website, www.RochesterConsultants.org. Please RSVP by Thursday, December 4.

    If you have any questions, please contact Laurie Enos at 585-315-4941 or Laurie@BlueDogMktg.com.


    Charter member recalls RPCN’s earliest days

    Interview by David Powe; editing by Ruth E. Thaler-Carter, RPCN Communication Committee

    Chris Leavitt, file photo As RPCN prepares to celebrate 25 years in 2015, RPCN board member David Powe talked with charter – and first female – member Chris Leavitt about her recollections of how the organization began, what makes a good consultant and more. Here are highlights of the conversation.

    Q: What do you remember about how the organization came into being?

    A: I would not be surprised if Dave Young got the thing going, but it was composed of seven Kodak guys initially. Ted Fraser recruited me on a plane when we were both going to consulting gigs. I think John Foote joined at just about the same time. I also remember Roger Vickery.
     
    We met in homes and sat in a circle talking about how the consulting game worked. No one had a realistic idea – they thought all consultants worked like Kodak consultants and all logistics were worked like those at Kodak. Discussions were often very unrealistic. As each mirrored the other, there was no telling them anything for a long time. I almost dropped out, but I really liked John and Roger, so I stuck it out with them.

    After we got a “constitution,” we began to get organized and John and Roger pretty much put the squeeze on me to run for VP, which was also the Program chair. I was pretty scared, but did it anyway, and it proved to be a wonderful experience. I learned how to work in a room full of men, all of whom saw themselves as experts in their field, which back then was almost all quality.

    Our meetings soon grew from the seven or nine original members to 20, 25 and 40 members, and then more and more. We had swell meetings with really neat speakers and gained lots of information. We had a lot of fun.

    How did the RPCN help you in your career?

    Mostly by helping me find good people to hire. I also developed leadership skills and self-confidence by working with lots of guys in suits with loud voices. The real consultants were quiet and never the “expert voice”; just sitting and quietly listening.

    To read the rest of the interview, including her advice for both new and experienced consultants, visit this page on the RPCN website. (Chris Leavitt photo from files.)


    Season’s greetings

    By Dave Bassett, RPCN President

    I hope all had a great, festive Thanksgiving. I have so much to be thankful for, and the continuing support of the members of this wonderful organization is up toward the top of that list. Thank you for the responsibility you’ve entrusted me with in overseeing the efforts of this talented, diverse group of volunteers who make RPCN work as well as it does. There are so many people who allow RPCN to keep up with the services and benefits of membership that our members have grown to expect and appreciate through the years – I am hesitant to try to mention them all, as I’m certain that I’ll forgot somebody, but here goes.

    The board members and committee heads who directly make the day-to-day working of RPCN happen – on the board: Michael Van der Gaag, David Powe, Sandy Glanton, Jerry Seward, Janice Hanson, Mark Schrader, Mike Molaire and Laurie Enos; heading up our committees: Steve Royal, Ruth Balkin, Bob Lurz and Peter Burns; the people working on various committees (some of whom work on multiple committees): Tracey Aiello, Jim Barton, Ruth Thaler-Carter, Barbara Moore, Emily Carpenter, Mary Sperr, Bob Lewis, Joe Groden, John Foote, Lori Cohen, Bill Vallee, Bob Manard, Judy Shenouda and Peter Rios. We’ve also had a few newcomers pitch in when they’ve been able: Latanya Bispham-Robinson, Collin Paran and Fred Lutz.

    As you can see, it takes a lot of people to make this group run as smoothly as it does. And as mentioned above, I am certain that I am forgetting somebody; please forgive any lapse, it is not intentional!

    Consulting Business Boot Camp
    We’ve accomplished a lot this past year, including reinstituting the Consulting Business Boot Camp this past February, under the leadership of Bob Lurz. The program was full useful information and the classroom at MCC was packed. We had such a good response from this boot camp (and the original one as well) that I am very pleased that Bob has agreed to hold another one this February and March. To accommodate the demand, we’re moving the boot camp back to HTR so we can squeeze in a few more participants.

    TrendTalk
    We also held the second in an ongoing series of TrendTalk dinner panels this past May. The theme was Rochester’s human services sector and Mike Molaire, who spearheaded the effort, brought in three excellent dynamic speakers – Marlene Bessette, Carol Love and Michelle Prohov. We look forward to providing another TrendTalk this spring with a focus on local government.

    Conference
    We will be holding a full-day conference on Tuesday, April 7, at MCC. We have a large roster of speakers and will be presenting topics that will be beneficial to consultants and service businesses. Whether you are just starting out or have been established for many years, our three tracks will provide something of interest. There also will be several opportunities for sponsorship, advertising and exhibit booths, so there will be many ways that you can promote your business and name at the event.

    25th anniversary
    In 2015, we’ll be celebrating our 25th anniversary with a celebratory dinner/awards ceremony on Tuesday, April 21, as the main event. Check this newsletter for more details in the coming months as we get closer.

    With all these activities, plus several others going on behind the scenes, it’s a busy time for RPCN. It’s also fun. If you’d like to help, we’d love to have you contribute. All of our committees are actively looking for volunteers to help out. To get involved, just check out the website to get the contact info for the particular committee you’re interested in or contact me at president@rochesterconsultants.org.

    Please also feel free to contact me with your thoughts on how we’re doing, what you think we’re doing well and what you think we could do better. The members are the lifeblood of RPCN, and we look forward to your enthusiasm and continued participation. Thank you for your support!

    This has been a busy and fun year for me, especially these last six months; I look forward to the coming new year. I hope that your 2014 has been successful and wish you even greater successes in the coming year. Peace.


    Registration is now open for 2015 Consulting Business Boot Camp

    By Bob Lurz

    Here’s your opportunity to start up or refresh your consulting business. At the 2015 RPCN Consulting Business Boot Camp (February 3–March 3 at High Tech Rochester), you will learn to:

    • DEFINE your services, clients and benefits
    • CHOOSE a legal entity (DBA, LLC, Corp, liability, taxes)
    • BUILD your reputation and image
    • MARKET your consulting services
    • DISCOVER your value to potential clients
    • PRESENT your value proposition and receive feedback

    Some comments from past Boot Camp participants:

    “As a result of the Consulting Boot Camp, I felt empowered, capable and challenged to begin my own consulting work.”

    “Helped me think seriously about my consulting business."

    “Allowed me to be in an environment of other people attempting to do the same thing, and I learned a lot and accelerated my business by being in that environment. One thousand percent better than sitting at home trying to go through this solo."

    A unique experience
    After the presentations and workshops, you top off your Boot Camp experience by pulling together the value proposition of your consulting practice. You present your value proposition in a scenario that describes your prospect’s problem, your value and the results you bring. You have 10 minutes, uninterrupted, to present to a panel of evaluators. You receive immediate feedback and improvement advice on your stand-up presentation of services, benefits and proposed results. Participants consider this the high point of their Boot Camp experience.

    Save $50 when you register by December 15. Prices go up December 16. Join RPCN and save $70 on the Boot Camp. Click here to register now!

    Questions? Contact Bob Lurz at RFLurz@ConsultantsAccelerator.com or call 585-544-2387.

     

     

     

    In this issue:


    “Have the gumption to try something new, and the grit to see it through.” Karen Wynn Fonstad (American cartographer, 1945-2005)


    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
    Collin Paran
    Sheryl Rhodes

    Please send articles for the January newsletter by December 15.


    Upcoming events

    Technical Forum
    facilitated by Steve Royal
    Friday, December 5, 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.

    RPCN Holiday Dinner Party
    Thursday, December 11, 2014
    5:30 PM - 8:00 PM
    The Bistro at Towpath Café, 6 North Main Street, Fairport

    Join RPCN for some holiday cheer! RPCN kicks off its 25th anniversary celebrations with a Holiday Dinner Party. The event begins at 5:30 PM with a cocktail hour and networking; buffet dinner starts at 6:30 PM. Since this is the season to give back, we are collecting canned goods to donate to food link. Help a neighbor in need by bringing a canned good to the dinner. Tickets are $20 for members and $30 for guests. Please register by Thursday, December 4.

    Great Consulting Service, But Who Needs It?   
    presented by Bob Lurz (with assistance from Barb Moore)
    Friday, December 12, 2014
    8:00 AM - 9:30 AM
    Brighton Town Hall - Downstairs Meeting Room

    This presentation shows you how to interview potential clients to discover if they need and want your service (and what to do if they don’t). If you don’t discover your prospects’ opinions about your value, you risk building a consulting practice that won’t meet your goals. You’ll learn how to build an interviewing strategy, then observe role plays that demonstrate the “Do’s & Don’ts.” Our Motto: “Ask, don’t sell.”

    Here is a video introduction to his presentation:


    Business Forum
    facilitated by Bob Lurz
    Friday, December 19, 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, December 19, 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.

    No Meeting
    Friday, December 26, 2014

    There will be no RPCN meeting today because of the holidays.


    Making your business better

    Blogging: RPCN member Laurie Enos lists three ways to use a blog to market your company:  1) share knowledge, 2) answer questions from readers, and 3) offer promotions and deals. More of Laurie's advice on using a blog can be found in her article, Why Small Firms Can Use a Blog.

    Productivity: Do your productive times match with these stats? The most productive day of the week is Tuesday. The least productive day is Friday. The most productive time of day is 10:26 am. The least productive time of day is 2:55 pm. Read more in Robin Harisis's blog article, The Best – and Worst – Productive Times.

    Negotiation tactics: Time is a critical element in most negotiations. If you understand the rules, you can gain some advantage. RPCN member Bob Whipple offers five techniques he finds helpful and two true stories of how these techniques worked in his blog Using Time in Negotiations.


    New members

    RPCN welcomes the following new members.

    Fred Lutz 
    Rafi PN 
    Michael Vogt

    Not an RPCN member? You can join the RPCN now to receive great benefits including free admission to RPCN presentations, a listing in the RPCN Member Directory and discounts to RPCN events such as the conference and TrendTalk. Click here to join the RPCN.


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    Copyright © 2014 Rochester Professional Consultants Network. All rights reserved.
    Contact email: admin@rochesterconsultants.org

  • 31-Oct-2014 3:25 PM | Steve Royal (Administrator)

    RPCN president Dave Bassett has a patent on entrepreneurship

    By Ruth E. Thaler-Carter, RPCN Communication Committee

    The RPCN’s current president could be said to have a patent on being an entrepreneur – his consulting business helps people patent their inventions.

    Dave Bassett, president of Bassett IP Strategies and Bassett Business Strategies in Macedon, NY (operating under the umbrella of Bassett Statistical Company LLC), worked as a chemical engineer for about 16 years in a wide range of areas before starting his own business in 2005. He also has developed software for petroleum exploration and has a background in biomedical, reactions and semiconductors.

    Bassett’s business, he said, helps inventors “in several areas but is primarily focused on patent application development and patent prosecution. BBS helps companies with business plans and strategic planning.”

    It might seem as if running a business and being so involved in the RPCN would be enough for Bassett, but he also is involved with a small group of local entrepreneurs – the Independent Entrepreneur’s Council – and is a member of the National Association of Patent Practitioners and the Wayne County Business Council. He also has been secretary and treasurer of the Rochester section of the AIChE (chemical engineering society), treasurer for a campground and a youth hockey coach.

    Click here to watch a video interview with Bassett and find out how the RPCN has been beneficial for his business and his own professional development. To read the full interview, visit this page on the RPCN website.     
       
    Ruth E. Thaler-Carter (www.writerruth.com) is a freelance writer, editor, proofreader and speaker whose motto is “I can write about anything!”™


    RPCN means great opportunities for members

    By Dave Bassett, RPCN President

    Opportunities. RPCN is all about opportunities. Did you know that the members-only portion of the RPCN website has an area where opportunities for work/projects/ seminars are listed? This is an excellent area to post notices when you are looking for particular skill sets to help with projects and to find out when people are looking for your particular area of expertise.

    Members can log in and go to the members-only section of the website and click on “Opportunities.” Recent posts have included an RFP for a consultant to do a feasibility study, paid participation in product testing, a career fair and a web designer position. Click on the “Subscribe to forum” button at the top right of the Opportunities page to be notified when new items are posted.

    Also listed on the Opportunities page: MCC is currently looking for instructors in several areas including statistics and statistical process control; blueprint reading; geometric dimensioning and tolerancing; metrology; and machine math. If you have experience with any of those areas, please check out the opportunities forum; MCC may have an opportunity for you.

    These aren’t the only opportunities that the RPCN offers to members.

    As you know, if you’ve been reading this column, we’ve held a series of strategic planning and implementation sessions with the membership over this past summer and have gotten a lot of great ideas on how to implement the strategic plan priorities and a lot of volunteers to help the board in doing just that. The complete RPCN strategic plan, can be found on the RPCN website under the “About Us” tab.

    Mike Molaire did a great job of organizing the TrendTalks last year. He’ll be setting up another one, focusing on the public sector this time, this winter.

    You’ll have a chance to network and socialize with RPCN colleagues at a holiday party on December 11 at the Bistro at Towpath Café in Fairport. We’ll keep you updated on this as the details are finalized.

    I’m pleased to tell you that dates and locations have been chosen for the next RPCN Consultant’s Boot Camp, led by Bob Lurz. The 2015 boot camp will be held at High Tech Rochester (HTR) on each Tuesday in February and conclude on the first Tuesday in March. Click here for more information.

    Our full-day conference, originally planned for October 2014, will be held this spring, on April 7, 2015, at MCC. IDr. Bruce Katcher will be the keynote speaker at this big event.

    On April 21, we’ll hold a dinner celebrating our 25th anniversary.

    With all these activities, plus several others going on “behind the scenes,” so to speak, it’s a busy time for RPCN. It’s also fun. If you’d like to help, we’d love to have you contribute. All of our committees are actively looking for volunteers to help out. To get involved, just check out the website to get the contact info for the particular committee you’re interested in, or contact me at president@rochesterconsultants.org.

    Please also feel free to contact me with your thoughts on how we’re doing, what you think we’re doing well and what you think we could do better. The members are the lifeblood of RPCN, and we look forward to your enthusiasm and continued participation. Thank you for your support!


    RPCN celebrates 25 years in 2015

    Back in 1990, a group of 10 or so former Kodak workers formed a mutual support group. Little did they know that the group would still be going strong a quarter-century later as the Rochester Professional Consultants Network. In 2015, RPCN celebrates 25 years of growing the economy, one consultant at a time. RPCN’s anniversary will kick off with a Holiday Party on December 11 at the Bistro at the Towpath Café (details on that event to come).

    The first president of RPCN was Ian (Ted) Fraser, followed the next year by Roger Vickery. Other charter members included Robert Boser, David Burnett, John Foote, Hugh Gilmour, Dan Hedberg, Chris Leavitt, John Morley and David Young. We are planning to include short stories about the early RPCN members in future issues of the newsletter.

    Mark your calendars for April 21, 2015, when RPCN will host a gala event and dinner to celebrate the 25th anniversary. The planning committee is hard at work on several special events to mark the anniversary.


    Making your business better

    Differentiation: Vicki James lists three ways to stand out from your competitors with your business cards, brochures and websites. Read her advice at Core Differentiation is What Makes You Stand Out in a Crowd.

    Vision boards: Have you tried vision boarding to help you plan, believe and succeed? Stephanie Siuda explains the benefits of vision boarding in Vision Boards Can Help.


    New members

    RPCN welcomes the following new members.

    Joyce Curran
    Dan Ewing
    Alan Kesselman


    Not an RPCN member? You can join the RPCN now to receive great benefits including free admission to RPCN presentations, a listing in the RPCN Member Directory and discounts to RPCN events such as the conference and TrendTalk. Click here to join 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 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
    Collin Paran

    Please send articles for the December newsletter by November 15.


    Upcoming events

    Technical Forum
    facilitated by Steve Royal
    Friday, November 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 phones. Wondering what kind of questions people are asking? For a list from recent forums, click here.


    Sales Sucks and What to Do About It 
    presented by Thomas J. Biviano 
    Friday, November 14, 2014
    8:00 AM - 9:30 AM
    Brighton Town Hall - Downstairs Meeting Room

    Tom Biviano will demonstrate a technique that makes sales less stressful, more productive and more profitable. Known for his entrepreneurial spirit and dynamic sales strategy, Biviano has had extensive achievements in sales, consulting, technology and executive management with a range of companies, including Procter & Gamble, Mobil Chemical and IBM.


    Here is a short video introduction to his presentation.


    Business Forum
    facilitated by Bob Lurz
    Friday, November 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? For a list from recent forums, click here.

    RPCN Board Meeting
    Friday, November 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.

    No Meeting
    Friday, November 28, 2014

    There will be no RPCN meeting today because of the holiday. Happy Thanksgiving!


    Of interest

    Health care reform: Digital Rochester explores what health care reform means for health IT on Thursday, November 13, at Oak Hill Country Club. Leaders across the health care community – representing hospitals, physician groups, post-acute care and home care – will speak about what health care organizations need to be doing to prepare for the Affordable Care Act (ACA) and health care reform. Click here for more information.

    QuickBooks: SCORE hosts a workshop on running your business with Basic QuickBooks on Tuesday, November 11, at the Rochester Business Alliance. Topics include bookkeeping basics; using your QuickBooks file on a daily/weekly basis; setting up and using items, paying bills and invoicing customers; and QuickBooks menus, reports and preference options. Click here for more information.

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  • 02-Oct-2014 11:28 AM | Steve Royal (Administrator)

    New consultant Sandy Glanton finds success by fine-tuning services

    By Ruth E. Thaler-Carter, RPCN Communication Committee

    Sandra “Sandy” Glanton is a relative newcomer to consulting, but a seasoned RPCN member who is finding the consultant’s lifestyle to be satisfying and promising.

    Glanton’s business is Projects Accomplished! Through her business, she said, “I help my clients identify and articulate their project requirements; guide clients through requirements analysis and project planning to decide how to proceed; and provide project management scheduling and other project support services, such as financial management, resource planning, etc., to individual business owners or small to large companies.”

    Glanton filed her DBA in May 2014 and works from her home in Walworth, NY. In starting and maintaining her consulting business, she draws on substantial experience in the corporate sector, as well as volunteer work in the community.

    “I had been a professional in corporate America for many years, starting directly out of college,” she said. “When I was let go due to downsizing, I embarked on some volunteer projects with The August Group (TAG) and the Pancreatic Cancer Association of Western NY (PCAWNY) while I networked and looked for work. I began contract work for a colleague/friend as a technical writer earlier this year.” From that came her consulting business.

    She attended an RPCN Entrepreneur’s Boot Camp and later joined the RPCN, getting involved on more than a “checkbook” level by becoming board secretary. Her volunteer activities have paid off not only in the satisfaction of providing a service, but in drawing business to her business.

    Even early in the life of her consultancy, Glanton is adjusting and fine-tuning the focus of her consulting business. “If you had asked me a year or two ago about what my business offerings would be, I would have said that the services would all center around project management,” she explained. “Because my first job for my current client was focused on my technical writing and technical training development skills, though, I decided to expand my offerings to include those skills as well.”

    Click here to watch a video interview with Glanton. To read the full interview and find out more about how the RPCN helped her start her consulting business, visit this page on the RPCN website.
           
    Ruth E. Thaler-Carter (www.writerruth.com) is a freelance writer, editor, proofreader and speaker whose motto is “I can write about anything!”™


    Many hands make light work …

    By Dave Bassett, RPCN President

    We’ve held a series of strategic planning and implementation sessions with the membership over this past summer and have gotten a lot of great ideas on how to implement the strategies, as well as volunteers to help the board in doing just that. An update will go out to membership very soon. 

    The “Surprise Thursdays” appear to be a hit and another one will be coming up this month on October’s Fifth Friday Eve on October 30. Details to come soon. 

    We have postponed the “Picture Yourself … as a successful consultant” conference until this spring, due to advance registrations being much lower than we anticipated. Several other events in town were scheduled on the same date, which had a big effect on registration. The Conference Committee decided to reschedule to ensure we have a good turnout for all the speakers who have put time and energy into preparing their presentations. 

    We will offer the consulting business boot camp this winter – thank you to Bob Lurz for leading this effort and making it happen. The boot camp will run on Tuesdays during February and the first week of March of the new year, so save those dates.

    We will also be resuming the Trend Talks this winter. A few other events will be coming up in the next few months; we’ll keep you updated on all as the details are finalized.

    With all these activities, plus several others going on “behind the scenes,” so to speak, it’s a busy time for RPCN. It’s also fun. If you’d like to help, we’d love to have you contributing. All of our committees are actively looking for volunteers to participate. Just check out the website to get contact info for the particular committee you’re interested in or contact me at dbassett@bassett.pro.

    Please feel free to contact me with your thoughts on how we’re doing, what you think we’re doing well and what you think we could do better. The members are the lifeblood of RPCN, and we look forward to your enthusiasm and continued participation. Thank you for your support!


    Mark your calendar for 2015 RPCN Consulting Business Boot Camp

    By Bob Lurz

    As part of our 25th Anniversary Celebration, we’re presenting the 2015 RPCN Consulting Business Boot Camp. This is your opportunity to learn how to start your solo consulting business on the right foot (or improve your current consulting practice). The last Boot Camp was a great success, and this one will be even better. You will learn how to:

    • Define your Services, Clients & Benefits
    • Choose a Legal Business Entity (DBA, LLC, Corp)
    • Build your Reputation & Image
    • Market your Consulting Services
    • Discover your Value to Potential Clients
    • Present your Value Proposition & Receive Feedback

    The Boot Camp provides hands-on, practical information. You apply what you learn – while you learn. Successful consultants share their knowledge, experience and tips. Learn how to make informed decisions about your consulting practice and avoid serious mistakes and pitfalls.

    SAVE THE DATES:
    February 3, 10, 17: 7:30 AM–12:30 PM
    February 24 & Mar 3: 7:30 AM–4:30 PM

    More to come about registration, location, price, refreshments, etc.

    Bob Lurz is president of Consultants Accelerator, www.consultantsaccelerator.com.



    RPCN seeks input on programs

    By Michael Van der Gaag, Past President and Programs Chair

    As you may know, as part of our strategy for the past couple of years, the RPCN has been presenting programs that, in addition to being interesting and entertaining, are intended to help you develop your skills and your business.

    We have identified four topical areas that we believe will achieve those goals:

    • The Business of Business
    • Marketing & Selling
    • Economic Opportunity
    • Consulting Fundamentals

    Click here to view a more detailed list of specific topics under consideration.

    The Program Committee now could use your help in determining what programs you would like us to offer. In particular, we want to know:

    • Any additional topics that fit in any of the four areas
    • Speakers whom you would like to hear from, especially anyone you’ve heard and can recommend as an excellent presenter for any of the topical areas
    • Any other program-relevant information, such as what it would take to attract you to attend more RPCN workshops and meetings

    Please send your suggestions to me at programs@rochesterconsultants.org. Your timely response will help us to better serve your needs by providing programs and workshops that help you improve your business.


    Making your business better

    Advisory boards: How often do you work with a business’s advisory board? In this Democrat and Chronicle article, John R. Piccirilli explains how advisory boards can help a small business.

    Mistakes: RPCN member Bob Whipple lists 14 political skills that he learned from making mistakes. His list starts with “Know who butters your bread – and act that way” and ends with “Always, always be considerate and gracious.” To find out what the other 12 skills are, go to Bob’s blog, The Trust Ambassador.

    Multitasking: Multitasking makes you less efficient, according to the founder of the Center for Brain Health. Read more about how you can get over the habit of multitasking in Robin Harisis’s blog.

     

     

     

    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
    Collin Paran

    Please send articles for the November newsletter by October 15.


    Upcoming events

    Technical Forum
    facilitated by Steve Royal
    Friday, October 3, 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.


    Improving Profits Through Top-Notch Listening
    presented by Don Boice  
    Friday, October 10, 2014
    8:00 AM - 9:30 AM
    Brighton Town Hall - Downstairs Meeting Room

    Business is a series of relationships, and your ability to relate to your customers and your employees – and your employees’ ability to relate to each other – should be part of your business strategy.

    Choosing the right people with the right skill sets is just the beginning. To build an efficient, productive and committed team, your workforce also needs the ability to listen – which means to build rapport, be fully present, tune in the other person and not only gather information but build a relationship.

    Here is a short video introduction to his presentation.


    Business Forum
    facilitated by Bob Lurz
    Friday, October 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? For a list from recent forums, click here.

    RPCN Board Meeting
    Friday, October 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.

    Close the Expert-Novice Chasm to Achieve Positive Outcomes
    presented by Judith Shenouda
    Friday, October 24, 2014
    8:00 AM - 9:30 AM
    Brighton Town Hall - Downstairs Meeting Room

    Have you ever wondered why so much goes awry in communications and interactions between the expert and the novice? In this presentation, Judith Shenouda will share what she has learned about the expert-novice chasm and how it affects decision-making and problem-solving.

    Participants will look at scenarios on how to close the gap in their role as a consultant, leading to improved outcomes.

    Here is a short video introduction to her presentation.

    RPCN “Surprise Thursday” Social
    Thursday, October 30, 2014
    6:00 PM   
    Location TBD

    There is no RPCN meeting on Friday, October 31, the fifth Friday of the month, so if you are beside yourself for what to do, or want to get to know your RPCN colleagues in a more informal setting, come to this social gathering (location TBD). Cash bar, but appetizers are on us. Bring friends, colleagues or clients.


    New members

    RPCN welcomes the following new members.

    Adele Carducci
    Harold Leve



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  • 29-Aug-2014 4:56 PM | Steve Royal (Administrator)

    Picture Yourself … as a Successful Consultant!

    “Picture Yourself … as a successful consultant,” the RPCN’s full-day conference, coming up on Wednesday, October 15, at MCC, will be the event of the season. We have an excellent keynote speaker lined up: Dr. Bruce Katcher (pictured), founder and executive director of the Center for Independent Consulting and author of An Insider’s Guide to Building a Successful Consulting Practice.

    The conference will focus on ways and tools to grow and expand your small/consulting business. We’ll have many interesting and helpful topics in three tracks focusing on consulting fundamentals, marketing and selling, and business building. Whether you are well-seasoned or just starting out, we’ll have something for you. 

    Registration for the conference is now open at www.RPCNConference.com. The early-bird registration price for RPCN members is only $99; it is $139 for non-members. Rates will go up to $129 and $169 respectively after September 15, so sign up now and save some money.

    There will also be a conference booklet that will be given to all attendees in which you can place an ad for between $25 (1/8 page) and $100 (full page). We are expecting 100–200 attendees, so that should be a very cost-effective way to get your message across. If you, or someone you know, would like to advertise at the conference, please check out the website or contact Dave Bassett at dbassett@bassett.pro.

    Exhibitor space (but only room for 12 exhibitors, so those will go quickly!) and sponsorship opportunities are also available. If you, or someone you know, would like to sponsor or exhibit at the conference, please check out the conference website or contact Tracey Aiello at tracey@winningcareerstrategies.com
       
    If you are interested in helping with this conference, we’d love to have you. The Conference Committee has been meeting at 3 PM on Thursdays at the Corner Bakery Café (3300 Monroe Avenue in Pittsford, across the street from the Pittsford Plaza). We have our program well hammered-out, but still have a lot of work to do. Our main areas of focus now are recruiting sponsors, exhibitors and advertisers; publicizing the conference; and putting together the conference program booklet. We are looking for someone to head up our efforts in getting advertisers. 

    As we get closer to the 15th of October, we’ll be looking for help with registration, putting together conference materials and day-of-the-event activities. If you’d like to help, we have a subcommittee that can use your skills; it’s a great way to get to know other RPCN members and demonstrate your skills. Please join us. Contact Dave Bassett at (585) 739-9726 or dbassett@bassett.pro for more details.

    It will be a great conference. We hope to see you there.


    Opportunities abound to get involved with RPCN

    By Dave Bassett, RPCN President

    With RPCN entering its 25th year, we have a lot going on. We’ve held a series of strategic planning and implementation sessions with the membership and have gotten a lot of great ideas on how to implement the strategies and a lot of volunteers to help the board in doing just that. Our most recent session was held on August 8 and we’ll be sending an e-mail documenting that discussion in the next week or so.

    What’s a 25th anniversary without some big events? Well, we won’t be letting you down. We’ll be holding a full-day conference on October 15 and bringing back the TrendTalks this winter. I’m very pleased to announce that Bob Lurz has agreed to move up the Consultants Boot Camp schedule from once every two years and will be holding another one this winter – likely in February and March. Details on that to come.

    In addition to those and our regular Friday morning meetings, we also have some special events planned. We held another fun “Surprise Thursday” networking session at the Flower City Grill on August’s Fifth Friday Eve. What’s the Fifth Friday Eve, you might ask? Well, it’s more commonly known as the Thursday preceding the fifth Friday of a month, when we don't hold regular morning meetings. When you see one coming up, watch for a Thursday evening social networking event (though we may skip one in October, as most people probably already have plans for Halloween). (Ed. note: See more photos from Surprise Thursday on the RPCN Facebook page.)

    We are planning an evening boat ride on September 24 to enjoy our late summer/early fall weather (see the calendar at right). We also have plans for a special event this spring – details on that to come as the 25th Anniversary Committee finalizes them.

    We will also have a lot of things going on behind the scenes. We have a website that has served our membership well since the last major revamping back around 2009, but a lot of things, especially social media, have evolved greatly since then. We will be revamping that in these coming months to take better advantage of social media and reach out to additional audiences. The Marketing Committee has been working closely with the web committee to plan these changes. The Communication Committee is also involved. We’re also looking into adding the ability to allow members to attend our regular meetings over the web.

    Our Communication Committee remains committed to ensuring that our message gets out clearly and succinctly. They work diligently behind the scenes, and not just on creating and producing this newsletter. Messages that go out to our membership and outside groups have also received their gentle touch. Our Hospitality Committee staffs the table at Brighton Town Hall every other week and our Library Committee maintains an extensive collection of books valuable to consultants that our members may take out on loan. Our Alliances Committee continues to work to strengthen our connections to groups such as RochesterWorks!, High Tech Rochester, the Small Business Development Council and the IEEE, among others.

    With all these activities, plus several others, it’s a busy time for RPCN. It’s also fun. If you’d like to help, we’d love to have you contribute. All of our committees are actively looking for volunteers to help out. If you’re interested, please check out the website to get the contact info for the particular committee you’re interested in or contact me at dbassett@bassett.pro.

    Please feel free to contact me with your thoughts on how we’re doing, what you think we’re doing well and what you think we could do better. The members are the lifeblood of RPCN and we look forward to your enthusiasm and continued participation. Thank you for your support!



    Of interest

    Professional development: The 9th Annual “Build Your Business” conference hosted by Communication Central takes place on September 26–27 at the Hyatt Regency Hotel in downtown Rochester. This conference for entrepreneurial communicators offers tools of the writing, editing and proofreading trade and covers approaches to the freelance lifestyle. Topics include finding clients, marketing, pricing, networking and balancing work and family, among others. RPCN members can take advantage of the Colleague rate, and the early-bird deadline has been extended to August 31. More info.

    Networking: AMA|Rochester hosts its Fall Kick-Off Networking Event on Wednesday, September 10, from 5:30– 7:30 PM at Havana Cabana Island Cafe & Rum Bar, 289 Alexander St., Rochester. Enjoy the summer weather while you still can and network with other marketing professionals. More info.

    Starting a Business: SCORE of Greater Rochester hosts a five-part series of three-hour workshops designed to give you the tools, information and advice you need to succeed. Simple Steps for Starting a Business Boot Camp begins on Saturday, September 6, from 9:00 AM - 12:00 PM at the Rochester Business Alliance, 150 State Street, Rochester. More info.


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    RPCN is now on Meetup!
    Making the best use of social media forums, RPCN is now on MeetUp. You can see postings for upcoming events, connect with other consultants and ask questions in between our regularly scheduled events.

     

     

     

    In this issue:


    We want you!

    The RPCN newsletter welcomes news, success stories, tips, resources, event announcements and other items that would be of 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
    Collin Paran

    Please send articles for the October newsletter by September 15, 2014.


    Upcoming events

    Technical Forum
    facilitated by Steve Royal
    Friday, September 5, 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.

    Helping Your Clients Understand Theirs
    presented by Jon Siegel
    Friday, September 12, 2014
    8:00 AM - 9:30 AM
    Brighton Town Hall - Downstairs Meeting Room

    Traditionally, market research has been unaffordable for smaller businesses and non-profits. This is rapidly changing as a technological revolution is transforming this industry. “Do-it-yourself” tools like Survey Monkey are only a small part of this transformation. RPCN members are in a unique position to help their clients take advantage of these changes.

    This talk will describe how technology is changing what smaller businesses and non-profits can do and describe several innovative firms and approaches that you may want to add to your toolbox of resources. Here is a short video introduction to his presentation.


    Business Forum
    facilitated by Bob Lurz
    Friday, September 19, 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, September 19, 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.

    Erie Canal Cruise & Dinner
    Wednesday, September 24, 2014
    6:30 PM - 9:30 PM

    Join your RPCN colleagues for a special evening boat ride on the Colonial Belle and an Italian buffet dinner. The cost is $20 Members, $30 RPCN Guests. Pre-register for the event on the RPCN website.

    Transforming Kodak Alaris: A customer-driven approach
    presented by Jack Rieger
    Friday, September 26, 2014
    8:00 AM - 9:30 AM
    Brighton Town Hall - Downstairs Meeting Room

    Traditional approaches to business planning and product development are inefficient and suffer high risk of failure. A customer-driven lean startup approach is the method used by leading Silicon Valley firms today. Adopting these methods is both vital and difficult for established companies.

    Jack Rieger of Kodak Alaris will review the approach and lessons learned from the battlefield. Here is a short video introduction to his presentation.


    Making your business better

    Travel tips: For consultants who travel, RPCN member Rosemarie Caillier describes three exercises that you should do on long plane rides to prevent blood clots from forming, including walking the aisles, moving your feet while sitting and stretching. See her blog Foot Scribe, Live Well on Healthy Feet.

    Working at home: “When you’re at home, folks experience a much narrower range of your amazingness.” Jolie M. discusses the pros and cons of working out of your home in her article Why It’s Okay to Do Laundry When You Work at Home.

  • 01-Aug-2014 3:26 PM | Steve Royal (Administrator)

    Steve Royal appreciates camaraderie of RPCN membership

    By Ruth E. Thaler-Carter, RPCN Communication Committee

    Like so many RPCN members, Steve Royal is a former Kodaker, but his story is a little different from that of people were laid off or dismissed as Rochester’s former employment giant cut back so drastically in recent years. The chemist-by-training had evolved into an internal training and business expert in his years with Kodak and was able to translate that angle into a consulting business – something he attributes to his RPCN membership.

    “I started my consulting business in 1992, about a year after a buyout from Kodak,” Royal said. “I was only 49 when I left Kodak, but the deal was so good that I couldn’t bring myself to stay.” He had several job interviews, but all were for about half what he had been making, with no benefits and extensive traveling, which did not appeal to him. He had been spending “a lot of time” at the Career Resource Center on Culver Road when someone from the RPCN came there to discuss consulting. Royal went to an RPCN meeting and “kept going every week. I decided that, with the help of RPCN, I could become a consultant.” He’s been at it ever since.

    Click here to watch a video interview with Royal. To read the full interview and find out more about his business and how RPCN has helped him find new clients, visit this page on the RPCN website.

    Ruth E. Thaler-Carter (www.writerruth.com) is a freelance writer, editor, proofreader and speaker whose motto is “I can write about anything!”™


    25 years of the RPCN – here’s to 25 more

    By Dave Bassett, RPCN President

    Back in 1990, a group of 10 or so former Kodak workers formed a mutual support group. Little did they know that the small group that met in a diner would still be going strong a quarter-century later as the Rochester Professional Consultants Network (RPCN).

    We are planning on kicking off a long celebration of this important milestone in the coming months. Details of all we have planned will be coming out soon. (For a bit more info on the 25th anniversary, please click here.)

    As my first act as RPCN president, I would like to thank Michael Van der Gaag and the rest of the past board for their dedicated service to the membership. It is my great privilege to let you know that all but one member of the current board will be staying on for this 25th-anniversary year. Paula Randall, who has served in several capacities
    as secretary, member at large and membership chairwoman, and on the Conference Committee has regrettably tendered her resignation to take a position as vice president of health services at Huther Doyle. We wish her the best of luck in her new position and hope she gets a chance to make it to some of our meetings and events.

    It is also my privilege to welcome Laurie Enos, president of Blue Dog Marketing, to the board. Laurie is a marketing expert and has been working with the Conference Committee. 

    Speaking of the Conference Committee, plans are well underway for “Picture Yourself … a Successful Consultant,” a three-track, full-day conference to be held at MCC on October 15. Dr. Bruce Katcher, author of An Insider’s Guide to Building a Successful Consulting Practice, will be the keynote speaker.

    On July 11, we held the first of two strategy implementation sessions. The meeting was open to the entire membership and the turnout was great. Roughly 20 percent of our members attended and helped brainstorm how we can implement the strategic plan that was passed at the June board meeting. The priorities we are focused on for the coming year are:

    1. Create opportunities for members to build potential relationships with clients.
    2. Prepare for and conduct an RPCN Boot Camp, conference and TrendTalks on an ongoing basis.
    3. Promote and celebrate RPCN’s 25th anniversary.
    4. Implement marketing and communication strategies to promote RPCN and its members.
    5. Update the RPCN website.

    (To see the entire strategic plan, including our vision, mission, organizational values, outcomes and strategic objectives, please check it out on the website.)

    On August 8, after the regularly scheduled meeting at the Brighton Town Hall, we will hold a session with the membership to review the brainstorming session and to get your input on how best to implement these goals. We’ll have snacks and coffee for this 10 AM meeting, so please plan on sticking around after the morning meeting. 

    Please feel free to contact me with your thoughts on how we’re doing, what you think we’re doing well and what you think we could do better. The members are the lifeblood of RPCN and we look forward to your enthusiasm and continued participation and support.

    Thank you all for your help in making 2013–14 so successful; I look forward to working with you to make 2014–15 even stronger! Our first 25 years were very good; here’s to an even better next 25!


    25 years of RPCN accomplishments – how we’re “Delivering on the Promise”

    By Bob Lurz

    What has RPCN accomplished in 25 years? No RPCN buildings or monuments exist, so what can we point to? RPCN is dedicated to serving members, so let’s look at them. Since our promise is to provide members with opportunities for networking, learning and mutual support, our “monuments” are those who benefit from RPCN’s opportunities.
               
    Members: Founded in 1990 with about 10 members, peaked at 240 in the mid-1990s. Lately, members numbered 100–120. There’s no 25-year record of members’ names, but assuming an average of 100 members each year means more than 1,000 members over time, many of whom are long-time repeat stalwarts of the organization.
           
    Meetings: 1,000 Friday meetings with networking and learning opportunities. Started with two-per-month: Presentations and Describe Your Services. Added two-per-month in mid-1990s: Business and Technical Forums, the “crown jewels” of RPCN. Conferences, boot camps, board/committee meetings add 1,200 meetings, creating 2,200 RPCN opportunities where members and others learn, network and volunteer. Through our Friday sessions, RPCN has touched the lives of several thousand actual and potential members. 
       
    Opportunities (thousands):

    • Learn about/from each other.
    • Build networks.
    • Explore and learn about starting up, getting clients and more.
    • Present/facilitate at meetings, events to showcase expertise, build trust.
    • Present 30-second commercials.
    • Obtain referrals, recommendations.
    • Do business with members.

        Plus:

    • Write for the newsletter or website.
    • Serve on RPCN board/committees/projects.
    • Collaborate on business projects.
    • Form “ alliances” (expand services).

    Yes, we’ve delivered on the RPCN promise. We’ve built a 25-year “living monument” to the consulting and business community.

    Bob Lurz is founder and facilitator of the RPCN Business Forum, leader of the RPCN Consulting Boot Camps and a past president of RPCN.


    Making your business better

    Getting away: Your consulting business may seem all-consuming, but taking a vacation is vital to your mental and physical health. On the Society for Technical Communication (STC) website, RPCN member Ruth E. Thaler-Carter has vacation tips for freelancers that apply to consultants as well.

    Selling yourself: Need to write a bio? Hannah Morgan suggests that you search LinkedIn summaries for inspiration. Read her Democrat & Chronicle Nextpert column on "Write bio that sells yourself" for more tips.

    We are friendly: Rochester received a B grade for its overall friendliness to small business from the Thumbtack.com Small Business Friendliness Survey. Rochester was rated 5th nationally in the ease of starting a small business. For the complete report, click here.


    New members

    RPCN welcomes the following new member. Click on the name to view his profile.

    Joel Shertok


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    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 September newsletter by August 15.


    Upcoming events

    Technical Forum
    facilitated by Steve Royal
    Friday, August 1, 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.


    Why and How to Blog
    presented by Laurie Enos and Mary Sperr, Blue Dog Marketing   
    Friday, August 8, 2014
    8:00 AM - 9:30 AM
    Brighton Town Hall - Downstairs Meeting Room

    Have you thought about blogging for your business? Do you know how to go about it? Learn how blogging will benefit your business, tips on writing compelling and effective blogs, and how to schedule your posts. You will come away from this presentation having set up your blog.

    If you want to start a blog, here is some "homework" to do before the workshop. And here is a short video introduction to the presentation.



    Business Forum
    facilitated by Bob Lurz
    Friday, August 15, 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, August 15, 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.

    Networking for Introverts
    presented by Eric R. Derby 
    Friday, August 22, 2014
    8:00 AM - 9:30 AM
    Brighton Town Hall - Downstairs Meeting Room

    Are you tired of being bombarded with messages about how you should be networking? Are the methods that are pushed on you irritating or just plain wrong?

    This short course is for introverts who want to find ways to network effectively, taking into account your own style and comfort level. We will talk about the goals of networking, and try some exercises to help you be authentic in your own communications.

    Surprise Thursday
    Thursday, August 28, 2014
    6:00 PM   
    Location TBD

    There is no RPCN meeting on Friday, August 29, the fifth Friday of the month, so if you are beside yourself for what to do, or want to get to know your RPCN colleagues in a more informal setting, come to this social gathering (location TBD). Cash bar, but appetizers are on us. Bring friends, colleagues or clients.


    Picture Yourself … as a Successful Consultant conference is shaping up

    The RPCN’s full-day 2014 conference, “Picture Yourself … as a Successful Consultant,” to be held on Wednesday, October 15, at MCC, will be the event of the season. The conference will focus on ways and tools to grow and expand your small/consulting business.

    We have an excellent keynote speaker lined up: Dr. Bruce Katcher – founder and executive director of the Center for Independent Consulting and author of An Insider’s Guide to Building a Successful Consulting Practice. We’ll have many interesting and helpful topics following three tracks, focusing on: consulting fundamentals, marketing and selling, and business building. Whether you are well-seasoned or just starting out, we’ll have something for you. 

    If you are interested in helping with this conference, we’d love to have you. The committee has been meeting at 3 PM on Thursdays at the Corner Bakery Café (3300 Monroe Avenue, across the street from Pittsford Plaza). We have our program well-hammered-out but still have a lot of work to do. Our main areas of focus now are recruiting sponsors, exhibitors and advertisers; publicizing the conference; and putting together the conference program booklet. We are looking for someone to head up our efforts in getting advertisers. If you, or someone you know, would like to sponsor or exhibit at the conference, check out the RPCN website or contact Tracey Aiello at tracey@winningcareerstrategies. com. If you, or someone you know, would like to advertise at the conference, check out the RPCN website or contact Dave Bassett at dbassett@bassett.pro.

    As we get closer to October 15, we’ll be looking for help with putting together conference materials, registration and day-of-the-event activities. If you’d like to help, we have a subcommittee that can use your skills; it’s a great way to get to know other RPCN members and demonstrate your skills. To help, or just find out more about the conference, contact Dave Bassett at (585) 739-9726 or dbassett@bassett.pro.

    In the next week or two, we will be putting registration information up on the RPCN website. There will be early-bird discounts, so plan on signing up early. We hope to see you there.

    Copyright © 2014 Rochester Professional Consultants

  • 01-Jul-2014 10:30 AM | Steve Royal (Administrator)

    Ruth Balkin blends high tech and soft touch in research

    By Ruth E. Thaler-Carter, RPCN Communication Committee

    RPCN librarian and long-time member Ruth G. Balkin has been a consultant almost from the very beginning of her work life. She did work briefly as a secretary in a law firm and spent a year-and-a-half with the Job Information Center at Rochester’s Rundell Library, but she says that being a consultant comes naturally. “I’ve been tutoring French for money since I was a child,” Balkin said. “When I was a kid, I didn’t play house – I played school or office. I was destined to be an entrepreneur.”

    Balkin is the founder and CEO of Balkin Information Services in Irondequoit. The business is formally a partnership; her partner is her sister, who lives in Pennsylvania. The company provides “mainly research – document retrieval in anything from business, marketing, competitive intelligence and due diligence to medical,” she said. They use the Internet and other sources to find documents and perform different types of research.

    Balkin formally established the company in late 1978 when she was working at a law firm while pursuing a master’s degree in French and
    earning her New York state teacher certification. Firm members encouraged her to look for freelance work and she was asked to do something with the firm’s library, which helped launch her consulting business. As “things were changing in the industry – publishers were moving to CD-ROM products – we started offering training,” Balkin said. That was one area where Balkin found that “education is never a waste”; her coursework in teaching was invaluable in developing training.

    Balkin joined the RPCN around 1992 and has benefited from her membership in many ways – even beyond business success. “RPCN meetings are a shot in the arm every week – a boost. I go to a meeting and I’ve done business with a quarter to a third of everyone in the room,” she said. On a personal level, “RPCN has kept me going over the years through thick and thin. It’s literally gotten me back on my feet. When I broke my ankle, Mary Ann Shew organized everything for me. It was amazing. People brought food, people took me to doctors’ appointments.”

    Like many RPCN members, Balkin sees involvement as key to getting value from belonging to the organization. “Don’t just be a member,” she said. “The more active you are, the more you get known, the more business you get, the more satisfaction you get from your membership.”

    While her consulting business is her official life’s work, French is Balkin’s passion. In addition to that tutoring activity going back to her early years, she belongs to a French conversation club. As a gift to RPCN, she invites members to come to her French classes
    for free over the summer – she teaches from 6–7 PM on Thursday evenings and 11 AM–12:30 PM on Sundays. To take advantage of this generous offer, contact Balkin at rbalkin@balkininfo.com. Bonne chance!

    Click here to watch a video interview with Balkin. To read the full interview and learn how she finds clients and how her business has evolved to keep up with current trends, visit this page on the RPCN website.

    Ruth E. Thaler-Carter (www.writerruth.com) is a freelance writer, editor, proofreader and speaker whose motto is “I can write about anything!”™


    Here we grow

    By Michael Van der Gaag and Dave Bassett

    Did you know that RPCN will be celebrating its 25th anniversary during this coming year? Amazing! There is something to be said about an all-volunteer organization that survives so long by serving its members. We plan to capitalize on this milestone by holding some special events and promotions to spread the word. It is a great time for the upcoming fall conference; that and the other programs we plan will have a celebratory feel.

    As we reach the end of Michael Van der Gaag’s term as president and the beginning of Dave Bassett’s, we’d like to bring you up to speed on where we are and some plans we have for the coming year.

    RPCN did some great things this past year, including presenting the second Consultant’s Boot Camp and introducing the TrendTalk panel discussion dinner series. We also remembered one of our own with the introduction of the David R. Young Service Award, which was presented posthumously to Dave Young and accepted by his son Christopher at the May TrendTalk Dinner. A second award was given to Bob Lurz at the Business Forum on June 20, in recognition of all he does for the organization. (Photo of Michael, Bob and Dave provided by Jerry Seward)

    We are not sitting back on our laurels, basking in these accomplishments. The board has been working hard on refining our strategy for the coming year. On June 13, we held a strategy session open to all members at the Brighton Town Hall. We received some excellent feedback on how the membership wanted to set our priorities. 

    Of the dozen or so priorities that the board deemed important to meet our strategic objectives, the participating members voted to have RPCN focus on these five in the coming year:

    1. Create opportunities for members to build potential relationships with clients;
    2. Prepare for and conduct an RPCN Boot Camp, conference and TrendTalks on an ongoing basis;
    3. Promote and celebrate RPCN’s 25th anniversary;
    4. Implement marketing and communication strategies to promote RPCN and its members; and
    5. Update the RPCN website.

    The board also identified these five key organizational values: Inclusiveness, Volunteerism, Collaboration, Mutual Support, Integrity. There was a general consensus at the June 13 meeting that it’s worth further defining these values as we set in place our strategic plan for the coming year.

    (To see the entire strategic plan, including our vision, mission, organizational values, outcomes and strategic objectives, visit our website.)

    This is an ambitious plan and, to fully meet these priorities (and ideally a few others that didn’t end up on our “TOP 5” as well), we’ll need YOUR help. On July 11, after our regularly scheduled meeting at the Brighton Town Hall, we will hold a session with the membership to get your input on how best to meet these goals. We’ll have snacks and coffee for this 10 AM meeting, so please plan on sticking around after Peter Rios’s talk on “Strategic Foresight.”

    As we transition from Michael to Dave, we also want to welcome our new VP, David Powe, to the team. And while Michael will become the RPCN past president, he is committed to helping us continue to offer value and opportunity to help our members grow.

    Please feel free to contact Dave or Michael with your thoughts on how we’re doing, what you think we’re doing well and what you think we could do better. The members are the lifeblood of RPCN and we look forward to your enthusiasm and continued participation and support.

    Thank you all for your help in making 2013–14 so successful; we look forward to working with YOU to make 2014–15 even stronger!


    Picture Yourself … as a Successful Consultant!

    The RPCN’s full-day conference “Picture Yourself … as a successful consultant” to be held on Wednesday, October 15 at MCC – will be the event of the season. We have lined up an excellent keynote speaker: Dr. Bruce Katcher, founder and executive director of the Center for Independent Consulting and author of An Insider’s Guide to Building a Successful Consulting Practice. The conference will focus on ways and tools to grow and expand your small/consulting business. We’ll have many interesting and helpful topics in three tracks focusing on: consulting fundamentals, marketing and selling, and business-building. Whether you are well-seasoned or just starting out, we’ll have something for you. 

    If you are interested in helping with this conference, we’d love to have you. The committee has been meeting on Thursdays at the Corner Bakery Café at 3300 Monroe Avenue in Pittsford (across the street from Pittsford Plaza) at 3 PM. We have our program well hammered out but still have a lot of work to do. Our main areas of focus now are recruiting sponsors, exhibitors and advertisers; publicizing the conference; and putting together the conference program booklet.

    As we get closer to October 15, we’ll be looking for help with registration, putting together conference materials and on the day of the event. If you’d like to help, we have a subcommittee that can use your skills. It’s a great way to get to know other RPCN members and demonstrate your skills. Contact Dave Bassett at (585) 739-9726 or dbassett@bassett.pro for more information.


    In our library

    Steve Royal reviewed the book 21 Days to Success Through Networking from the RPCN library. The book chronicles the first 21 days of a marketing professional after he moves to a new city where he knows no one, and how he goes about developing a network. The book is an easy read and full of information essential to being a successful consultant, such as learning listening skills, asking questions and the importance of following up.

    RPCN maintains an extensive library of business books and other materials that members can borrow. Click here for a link to read the entire book review and to view a list of items in the RPCN library.


    Of interest

    Finance: SCORE of Greater Rochester presents a workshop on Understanding Small Business Finance on Friday, July 11, from 8:30 AM - 12:30 PM at 1057 E. Henrietta Rd., Suite 100, across from MCC’s Brighton Campus. The program will provide a user-friendly, high-level and fun approach to the three essential financial statements necessary to run any business. This workshop is part of the MCC Corporate College summer courses. For more information and to register, click here.

     

     

     

    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 August newsletter by July 15.


    Upcoming events

    No Meeting
    Friday, July 4, 2014

    There will be no RPCN meeting today because of the holiday.

    Strategic Foresight: Equipping you for competitive advantage now and in the future 
    presented by Peter Rios
    Friday, July 11, 2014
    8:00 AM - 9:30 AM
    Brighton Town Hall - Downstairs Meeting Room

    Peter Rios is a consultant to businesses, organizations and religious institutions. His company, R.I.O.S.
    Robust Innovative Organizational Solutions focuses on leadership development, cultural agility, strategy, conflict resolution, organizational renewal and innovation. This presentation will provide participants with a practical experience using a foresight tool to illuminate the future of their sector and also explore scenario building and strategy. Here is a short video introduction to Peter's presentation.



    RPCN Strategic Planning
    Friday, July 11, 2014
    10:00 AM - 12:00 PM
    Brighton Town Hall - Downstairs Meeting Room

    RPCN has an ambitious plan for the coming fiscal year. To fully meet these priorities (and ideally a few others that didn’t end up on our “TOP 5” as well), we’ll need YOUR help. After our regularly scheduled meeting at the Brighton Town Hall, we will hold a session with the membership to get your input on how best to meet these goals. Snacks and coffee will be provided.

    Business Forum
    facilitated by Bob Lurz
    Friday, July 18, 2014
    8:00 AM - 9:30 AM
    Brighton Town Hall - Downstairs Meeting Room (NOTE change in location)
       
    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, July 18, 2014
    10:00 AM - 12:00 PM
    Brighton Town Hall -- Downstairs Meeting Room (NOTE change in location)

    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 Skype VOIP Program and How to Use It
    presented by Bill Vallee 
    Friday, July 25, 2014
    8:00 AM - 9:30 AM
    Brighton Town Hall - Downstairs Meeting Room

    This is the first of two training seminars that will demonstrate the Skype VOIP program and how to use it. You will learn how to open an account; Skype basics, such as how to navigate the Skype screen for PC users; and how to use Skype for three different types of communication.


    Making your business better

    Making connections: Lynn Dessert says it is "all about the ask" when you want to connect with someone you don't know. Check out her blog for ways to improve your ask.

    Better consulting: Three rules that Bob Whipple suggests will help make you a better consultant are:  1) Do good work, 2) Do the best you can with the resources available, and 3) Treat all people the right way. Read more at his blog post, You Can't Do the Best You Can.

    RPCN on LinkedIn: Have you joined the RPCN group on LinkedIn? This is a great way to connect with other consultants, find tips on business issues, ask questions outside of the bimonthly forums or share information about the latest project you are working on.


    RPCN Member Store


    Show your pride in your RPCN membership! The RPCN Logo Store is now online, in partnership with CafePress.com. RPCN members may 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. Visit CafePress.com/rpcn or click on the link from the RPCN home page to shop securely online.


    New members

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

    Mark Flint
    John Kernan
    Donald Kruggel
    David Odgers


    Follow us!

    Facebook
    Twitter
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    YouTube

  • 30-May-2014 10:52 PM | Anonymous





    Nonprofit leaders discuss opportunities for consultants  

    By Ruth E. Thaler-Carter, RPCN Communication Committee

    Based on what we heard from presenters at the May 15 RPCN TrendTalk event, “Challenges and Opportunities in Rochester’s Human Services Sector,” local not-for-profit organizations are a valuable source of potential business for consultants, particularly those with solid business skills and experience.

    Speakers Michelle Prohov, founder of the Working for Nonprofits networking group and human resource manager at the Center for Disability Rights; Marlene Bessette, president and CEO of the Catholic Family Center; and Carol Love, nonprofit leadership consultant, provided overviews of their organizations, insights into challenges for the not-for-profit sector, and ways that consultants could help such organizations.

    RPCN member Beth Sears, president of Workplace Communication, Inc./Good Enough to Great Coaching, moderated the program.

    Photo by Mike Molaire, houseKALL fotography. To see more photos from the event, visit RPCN on Facebook.

    Introducing technology and for-profit business principles to human services organizations is among the challenges that create opportunities for consultants interested in this sector, according to Love. “Money is tight and that will not be ‘over’ – it is a reality,” she said. “Corporations today are not as generous as they used to be and there is less money in government grants due to changes in streams of financing. New York State is playing ‘fruit-basket upset’” with certain kinds of funding that used to be easily available.

    In response, consultants can help not-for-profits assess how they are meeting government guidelines for board service, ensuring their missions and directions are being met, seeing whether they have the resources needed to offer planned programs and services, and doing “the right things the right ways.” Strategic planning and board development are two vital areas where consultants could play a role in helping nonprofits function better, Love suggested.

    Succession planning for boards of directors is another area where consultants can help nonprofits, said Prohov. She also noted that many organizations “are afraid of millennials and how they will lead,” which creates opportunities for consultants to provide training and development guidance.

    Bessette is seeing “educated donors and funders asking a lot more questions and asking for a lot more proof” that nonprofits are fulfilling their missions, which means that consultants could play a role in documenting efforts and activities. “I highly value the business skills that (I saw in the corporate world),” she said – she came to the nonprofit world from a substantial career with Xerox. “I’ve been tapping my retired colleagues” to provide such skills in her current nonprofit role.

    Bessette looks for “certain characteristics in terms of personality and approach” in potential employees or consultants. “I look for people who are inquisitive,” she said.

    Consultants interested in working with nonprofits should be aware that “culture fit is important and so is understanding what the vision is,” Prohov said. Organization websites are good sources of information about missions, activities, services, programs and even scheduling options for those interested in consulting or volunteering with nonprofits. Bessette noted that volunteering is often a good way to enter the nonprofit world and pave a path to being hired for consulting services. “Make sure that people know what you do,” she said.

    In response to an audience question, Love said that larger organizations are likely to use independent financial consultants when dealing with retirement plans and endowments, and that “awareness among smaller organizations that this is worth doing is growing.”

    All three speakers expressed appreciation for learning about the existence and resources of the RPCN, particularly the member directory – a good reminder that every RPCN member should have a detailed profile there!

    Ruth E. Thaler-Carter (www.writerruth.com) provides writing, editing, proofreading, desktop-publishing and related services to publications, businesses, not-for-profits and other clients.

    Please note: The RPCN member profile will return with the July issue.


    Another RPCN year is about to begin

    By Michael Van der Gaag, President

    It has been a heck of a year! As we approach this time of our vice-presidential elections, I can see why a few of my predecessors have told me that, “Just as you get the hang of it, your time would be coming to a close.” 

    This has been a year of several accomplishments and many lessons learned.

    My biggest lesson? In an all-volunteer organization, the direction comes from within – it cannot be imposed from the top, but must evolve by consensus. Then, to achieve a goal, complete an activity or deliver a program, it takes those stepping up, who give of their time and energy to get things done.

    During my time as president, I have noted that our accomplishments align with the contributions of members, some on the board and others not. For instance, past Program chair Mike Molaire, who continues to run the “TrendTalk, Challenges and Opportunities” series, has invited many interesting presenters, including various business, community and economic development leaders, to give us the lowdown on the Rochester area’s economy, business growth and opportunities. As I took on being Program chair, Lynn Dessert stepped up to help. Lynn, who knows just about everybody, invited some of the most successful consultants and marketing experts in the area to come in and give us their insights and share their media savvy on how to use the web to improve our image and business. 

    As we have recognized in the past, the Newsletter Committee, now chaired by Janice Hanson, with partners Ruth Thaler-Carter and Barbara Moore, is unequaled, especially for an all-volunteer organization.
       
    The Website Committee (Emily Carpenter, Steve Royal and Paul Lowans) was recently recognized by the RPCN during the May TrendTalk for its steadfast support. They provide many hours of effort without compensation, maintaining and refining the site. As we face a changing web-media landscape, another member leader, David Powe, Marketing Committee chair, anticipates that, for our website to keep up, we will have to implement more structural changes to better serve the membership. Our Website Committee will be at the forefront of those changes.

    At the TrendTalk dinner, we also recognized Bob Lurz’s contribution and leadership in planning, producing and conducting the Consultants Boot Camp.

    Thanks to the Membership Committee, now led by Paula Randall (with Lori Cohen, Jerry Seward and Ruth Balkin), we came up with a unique incentive program for members to recruit members, and a new system for badging and tracking contacts.

    Thanks also to Sandy Glanton, who took on the role of secretary, and is excellent. Peter Burns, who, as Hospitality chair, has been a cheerful face and engaging promoter of the RPCN; Ruth Balkin, who, as Librarian, has kept on top of our intellectual trust in a year of rejuvenation (out with the old books; in with the new); and to Don Giancursio, who keeps on top of our needs for meeting space in Pittsford.


    I also want to recognize the contribution of others who have more recently stepped up to move us forward, among them: Dave Bassett, who, as VP, is chairing the fall “Picture Yourself” Conference; Jim Barton, who leads the Conference Program Subcommittee, which has an excellent lineup of presenters; and Laurie Enos, in charge of the marketing strategy. I also express my appreciation to many others on the Conference Committee (Tracy Aiello, Ruth Balkin, Lori Cohen, Janice Hanson, Bob Lewis, Joe MacDonough, Paula Randall, Jerry Seward and Mark Shrader). Mark has also agreed to pick up the treasurer role. Jerry, a web guru in his own right, always willing to provide guidance and skill to the organization when needed, will be moving onto the board and the Web Committee as Paul Lowans leaves to pursue other interests.

    In the next month or so, as we welcome a new VP, whether it be David Powe or Paula Randall , I have confidence that he/she will do an excellent job. As I hand off the role of president to Dave Bassett, I will look forward to continuing my support of the RPCN in any area where I am needed.

    As each of you, my fellow members, searches your soul to see how you, your network or your talents may best serve the organization, allow me to thank you for all your support.

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


    RPCN presents first Dave Young Award, thanks members for contributions

    By Ruth E. Thaler-Carter, RPCN Communications Committee

    A highlight of the May 15 RPCN TrendTalk event on consulting opportunities in the human services sector was a presentation of RPCN awards for service to the organization.

    Incoming RPCN president David Bassett presented an award to long-time member Bob Lurz for his hard work in organizing and promoting the successful 2014 RPCN Boot Camp, which yielded more than a dozen new members and provided participants with essential information about launching and managing a consulting business. Emily Carpenter, Steve Royal and Paul Lowans received awards for their dedicated behind-the-scenes services to RPCN in managing the organization, its website and its day-to-day activities.

    The evening also saw presentation of the first RPCN Dave Young Service Award, given this year to Young’s son Christopher. The award is in memory of Dave Young, who was one of the very first RPCN members and gave many years of time and effort in managing the organization at almost every level imaginable, including producing the RPCN newsletter and bringing the coffee and donuts to Friday meetings.

    Photo by Mike Molaire, houseKALL fotography. To see more photos from the event, visit RPCN on Facebook.

     

     

     

    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 items for the July newsletter by June 15, 2014.


    Upcoming events

    Technical Forum
    facilitated by Steve Royal
    Friday, June 6, 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.

    Franchising as a Business
    presented by Ron Axelrod, John Adams and Bob Lewis
    Friday, June 13, 2014
    8:00 AM - 9:30 AM
    Brighton Town Hall - Downstairs Meeting Room

    Franchising as a business model is widely misunderstood; it’s not just French fries and retail. This program will cover the types of franchises available, and the pluses and minuses of franchising vs. starting a business from scratch or buying an existing one. The discussion will touch on a little bit of legal mumbo-jumbo, common myths and how to find a franchise that’s right for you.

    Business Forum
    facilitated by Bob Lurz
    Friday, June 20, 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, June 20, 2014
    10:00 AM - 12:00 PM
    Location to be announced.

    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.

    Hit the ground running - Starting a new sales effort.
    presented by Jeffrey Marcus
    Friday, June 27, 2014
    8:00 AM - 9:30 AM
    Brighton Town Hall - Downstairs Meeting Room

    Jeffrey Marcus is a Technology Sales/Marketing Leader whose successful actions pioneered Pictometry's roll out to the commercial marketplace.

    Here are some key points from Jeffery's presentation:

    • One foot in front of another. Now you are walking.  You must prioritize everything.
    • Ask Questions during the sales process.
    • How to present, what to present and why.



    Picture Yourself … as a Successful Consultant!

    The RPCN will hold a full-day conference called “Picture Yourself … as a successful consultant” on Wednesday, October 15, at MCC. The conference will focus on ways and tools to grow and expand your small / consulting business. We’ll have many interesting and helpful topics following three tracks focusing on: consulting fundamentals, marketing and selling, and business-building. Whether you are well-seasoned or just starting out, we’ll have something for you. 

    If you are interested in helping with this conference, we’d love to have you. The committee has been meeting on Thursdays at the Corner Bakery Café at 3300 Monroe Avenue in Pittsford (across the street from Pittsford Plaza) at 3:00 PM. We have our program well hammered out but still have a lot of work to do. Our main areas of focus now are recruiting sponsors, exhibitors and advertisers; publicizing the conference; and putting together the conference program booklet. As we get closer to the event, we’ll be looking for help with registration, putting together conference materials and assistance the day of the event. Helping with the conference 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 or dbassett@bassett.pro for more details.


    Making your business better

    Social media: Which social media tool should you use: LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook or Google+? Hannah Morgan lists tips on how to effectively use these resources in her Democrat and Chronicle Nextpert column, Building Your Social Presence (5/11/14).

    Making connections: Writing short notes in response to news reports, trade publications and social media postings can pay off in new connections with potential clients, writes Arlene Hisiger in the weekly “Women at Work” column in the Democrat and Chronicle.


    New members

    Be sure to check here next month for RPCN's new members.


    Follow us!

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    YouTube


  • 01-May-2014 11:46 AM | Steve Royal (Administrator)

    Ruth Thaler-Carter talks about the advantages of freelancing

    By Janice Hanson

    A Rochester native and proud alum of Brighton High School, Ruth E. Thaler-Carter (www.writerruth.com) is an award-winning freelance writer (“I can write about anything!”®), editor, proofreader and speaker. She also owns Communication Central, which hosts a conference for freelancers every fall.

    Thaler-Carter has been a full-time freelance writer and editor since 1985, working on a wide variety of projects for local, national and international clients. After spending time in St. Louis, Washington, D.C., and Baltimore, she moved back to Rochester several years ago because, as she says, “I married a nut who wanted to retire here!” What follows is an edited conversation about her consulting business.

    Q: What does your consulting/freelance business do?
    A: I write articles, web content, annual reports and more for businesses, organizations and publications, and I help my clients look good in print and on the web by providing editing and proofreading services. You might be amazed at the client errors I keep from seeing the light of day!

    Q: I know you’re a member of almost a dozen professional groups – how have your various memberships helped you be a better consultant?
    A: By helping me stay up-to-date on trends and changes in everything from language to technology to skills, and by giving me more opportunities for projects because of meeting people and showing people what I can do for their businesses or companies. When you’re out there in these organizations, you’re more than an electronic presence, email address or photo on a website; you’re a real human being and, ideally, other people think of me when they have a project I can work on. It’s also been a way of meeting people and making new friends.

    Q: How has the RPCN helped you as a consultant?
    A: I joined because I was looking for local connections with like-minded people who were also doing consulting work. I love being involved with the newsletter because I like getting to know the people I’m writing about. I’m not as visible in person as I’d like to be, because I tend not to be functional at 8 AM on a Friday, but I’ve gotten a few projects through being a member.

    To read the full interview and find out Ruth’s advice for someone looking to become a freelancer or consultant, visit this page on the RPCN website. Click here for a video interview where she talks about how networking has helped her with her consulting business.

    For those looking to get into freelance editing – or just to improve their skills – Ruth Thaler-Carter presents a workshop on The Basics of Editing and Proofreading at Writers & Books in Rochester on Monday, May 5.


    Spring. It’s about time!

    By Michael Van der Gaag, President

    I’m sure we have all been looking forward to the bright sunny days of spring. While the birds are out setting up their nests, RPCN has also been busy:

    TrendTalk on May 15

    Thanks to the efforts of Mike Molaire, Sandy Glanton, Janice Hanson and the Communication Committee, our upcoming TrendTalk planned for Thursday, May 15, is shaping up to be quite an event. At Challenges and Opportunities in Rochester's Human Services Sector, our panel will discuss their visions, the needs of the community, and how we, as consultants or entrepreneurs, can do business in this sector. Panelists (pictured below) are: Marlene Bessette, president and CEO at Catholic Family Center; Carol Love, a nonprofit leadership consultant; and Michelle Prohov, founder of Working for Nonprofits.

    The moderator is Beth Sears and the evening includes dinner and an opportunity for networking. Come with your questions and your appetite. To register for TrendTalk, click here. Register through May 1 to save $10 on your registration.

    October Conference
    The “Picture Yourself …” conference committee, under the leadership of Dave Bassett (RPCN VP) and Jim Barton (conference program chair), has been planning the program and identifying and inviting speakers for this upcoming fall event, with 15 topics covering a variety of interest areas to be presented in three tracks. They cover the gamut from start-up and taking it to the next level to improving how you do business and becoming a better consultant.

    The conference marketing team, headed up by Laurie Enos, has been strategizing on how to present the event and spread the word. The committee is also looking for volunteers to help with the myriad of activities needed to pull off a successful event, and in particular is looking for someone as vendor coordinator. Please contact Dave Bassett if you can help.

    RPCN at Quality Conference
    Congratulations to RPCN members Vince Vezza, event chair, and Steve Whittaker, presenter and presenter coordinator, for their successful American Society for Quality Rochester section (ASQRS) conference at the RIT Inn and Conference Center on April 9. Speakers presented on topics like Ethics, Green Production, The Importance of Body Language, Quality and Sustainability. Also among the speakers was our own Bob Whipple. We met scores of participants who stopped by our booth to see what RPCN is all about.

    RPCN Fifth Thursday

    We have another RPCN Fifth Thursday coming up on the evening of May 29 and we need your input. Would you like to see an informal opportunity for networking, a learning event about how to use Skype led by Bill Vallee or some combination of the two? Please provide your feedback by taking this one-question survey. Once we have a sense of what people would like to see, we’ll send an e-mail with details.

    Stepping up

    In thinking about these news items, I realized that the common thread contributing to the success of all our events is the willingness of members to help their organizations be successful. What we get out of volunteering, besides the satisfaction of creating an amazing event (or organization), is an opportunity to apply our leadership and vision to create something of value to others, while developing a team spirit. Those who step up to help are the greatest asset of an all-volunteer organization like RPCN. 

    Thanks
    Thanks to those of you who took a few minutes to answer the newsletter survey sent on April Fool’s Day. If you didn’t realize that there was a short (three questions) survey about the newsletter, it is still up and available – please take it now. We want to make sure this newsletter is your doorway to gaining the most from RPCN.
       
    As always, your thoughts and comments are 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, focusing 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. Helping with the program is a great way to get to know other RPCN members and demonstrate your abilities. 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 May 1. For more information, contact Dave Bassett at (585) 739-9726 or dbassett@bassett.pro.


    In our library

    Business Cases for Info Pros – Here’s Why, Here’s How (2008, Ulla de Stricker, Information Today, Inc.) is the latest acquisition by the RPCN library. RPCN Librarian Ruth Balkin picked up this book at the Association of Information Professionals (AIIP) conference in Baltimore in April. RPCN members may not think of themselves as information professionals, but as consultants, providing information is a big part of our interaction with clients. This book takes preparing and presenting proposals to clients to another level.

    RPCN maintains an extensive library of business books and other materials that members can borrow. Click here to view the RPCN library.


    Of interest

    Starting a small business: SCORE hosts this one-day workshop, which provides key information on all the basic components of starting and running a business. The workshop is on Wednesday, May 14, from 8:45 AM–3:30 PM at the Federal Building. Click here for more information and to register.

    Marketing with video: Learn how to create, share and promote videos to enhance your marketing initiatives. This Digital Rochester workshop features Josh Pies and Peter Platt as speakers and takes place Tuesday, May 20, at 7:30 AM at the Rochester Museum and Science Center. Click here for more information and to register.

     

     

     

    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 June newsletter by May 10.


    Upcoming events

    Technical Forum
    facilitated by Steve Royal
    Friday, May 2, 2014
    8:00 AM - 9:30 AM
    PLEASE NOTE: The Pittsford Library is not available for this date. This forum will be held in the Downstairs Meeting Room at Brighton Town Hall.

    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.

    Is Your Product or Service What Customers Want?
    presented by Juli Klie, Veritor
    Friday, May 9, 2014
    8:00 AM - 9:30 AM
    Brighton Town Hall - Downstairs Meeting Room

    You’re sure your idea is the best thing since sliced bread, but does anyone want to buy what you’re selling? This session will discuss the importance of understanding what the market wants before you make a large investment. If you’ve launched and your product or service is not selling as it should, how do you determine the cause and fix the problem? Juli Klie is an experienced software and services executive with one foot in the technical world and the other in marketing.

    TrendTalk: Challenges and Opportunities in Rochester’s Human Services Sector
    panelists: Marlene Bessette, Carol Love and Michelle Prohov
    Thursday, May 15, 2014
    5:00 PM - 9:00 PM
    Radisson Airport Hotel, 175 Jefferson Road, Rochester

    Three highly respected leaders – who are well known for their contributions to helping grow organizations that address the needs of the community – will be featured at the next TrendTalk dinner panel discussion. 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 members of the community who may be your future colleagues, clients or collaborators. Register through May 1 to save $10 on your registration.

    Business Forum
    facilitated by Bob Lurz
    Friday, May 16, 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, May 16, 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.

    Microsoft in the Cloud
    presented by Lee Drake, OS-Cubed
    Friday, May 23, 2014
    8:00 AM - 9:30 AM
    Brighton Town Hall - Downstairs Meeting Room

    An overview of Office 365, Azure and Microsoft Cloud offerings, as well as assistance with what plans to pick as you move your systems to the cloud. See how to use Microsoft's cloud offerings to manage email, host an active directory, share files and store backup data. Lee Drake has extensive speaking experience on topics such as computer security, programming best practices, building content-managed websites, building online communities and social media.


    New Members

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

    Wendy Wang

    Jim Nortz

    Barbara Lacker-Ware

    Congratulations to the recent winners of the RPCN Member Referral Program, which provides incentives to both current and new members:

    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 will draw one name from each group – a current and a new member – and each will receive a $25 gift card. For more information on the benefits of joining the RPCN, click here.


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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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