Log in

Log in


December 2023

A monthly newsletter from the Rochester Professional Consultants Network.

Retired or Re-Wired?
What do others think when we say “I’m Retired?”

First Impressions

People we meet immediately form opinions about us. They unconsciously analyze our looks, what we say, voice inflection, posture, and many seemingly small factors. Whether true or false, these first impressions can last forever and are difficult to change. So, what might people assume if we say “I’m retired”?

Impressions and Image

While networking for our business, we strive to display an image of competence, confidence, and value to our clients. We might say something like “Hi, I’m Mary Smith and I have an accounting business. I help people save money by helping them to keep accurate financial records and to maximize their tax deductions.”

What if you’ve decided to close your business though? If you say “I’m retired,” you might produce unflattering first impressions, such as:

  • Your business has failed.
  • You’re unemployed (maybe were fired).
  • Age has dimmed your ability to serve clients
  • Your thoughts and opinions are outdated.
  • You’re just drifting without purpose.
  • You don’t know what to do next.
  • You sit on your porch in a rocking chair watching the world go by.

Positive Image Alternatives to “I’m Retired”

Try to use positive terms when you explain your situation:

  • I’ve left my consulting career to concentrate on writing my book.
  • I’ve closed my business and enjoying life.
  • I’ve accepted a buyout to follow my passion for travel.
  • I’m seeking a new career path.
  • I’m exploring the next phase of my life.


You get the idea. Even if you see yourself as “retired,” try not to use that term because of its many negative connotations. If you’re on a new path, maybe say you’ve “re-wired” yourself to get more out of life. As you did for your business, you could practice a new 30-second intro that explains your new path. An added benefit: Imagining and expressing your situation positively can also help you make your dream come true. Go forth and follow your passion.

Bob Lurz

Financing Global Business Expansion

It’s time to start handling business internationally!

International trade for some companies can be a daunting but sometimes necessary step in increasing sales and finding lower-cost suppliers. Competition is no longer local or even domestic. US companies are often competing on a global level and must develop strategies to remain relevant and profitable internationally.

Companies should be on the lookout for international business opportunities to expand their horizons. With this, they will need to formulate and finance international business plans to become successful internationally. This process is thorough and may take time to fully understand and fulfill.

Understand that international trade is no longer the exclusive domain of multinational, Fortune 500 companies and publicly traded conglomerates. An increasing number of companies are doing business overseas. They may be buying from overseas or selling overseas, and in some cases both!

The trend toward global business expansion will continue because over 94% of customers worldwide live outside the United States. There are certainly more and more opportunities for small and middle-market businesses to grow outside the United States.

Let’s talk about the basics.

There is an abundance of information that you should become familiar with before diving into the waters of trade finance. Some terms to become familiar with include:

  • Global trade: Simply put, this is the international activity between a buyer (known as the importer) and a seller (known as the exporter). International trade itself is the exchanging of capital, goods, and services across international borders due to the necessity or the desire for particular goods and services.
  • Trade finance: This term is the umbrella for techniques and financing capabilities with the sole purpose of mitigating and transferring trade risks from a commercial party to the financial sector.
  • Foreign exchange: This term has to do with changing one country’s currency to that of another country. With that being said, there are two types of foreign exchange products:
    • Spot: This type of transaction allows the company to buy or sell currency, as needed, where prices are easily determined.
    • Forward: This refers to the process of buying or selling one currency against another, then settling at a predetermined date in the future.

Why should businesses start looking across borders?

Businesses should be focusing on international business as strong opportunities are created for all those involved.

  • Exporters: Exporters are provided with access to global markets, which is vital for driving sales and growth for their companies.
  • Importers: Importers can expand their supplier base, which allows for a more diverse and profitable business model.

Steps for shifting gears.

  1. Companies who decide to engage in international business are often under the misconception that they must hire a high-priced international sales director. Some companies are very successful in identifying an internal candidate who is motivated and up to the challenge of developing their global strategies. Another option is to hire an intern from a local college or university to assess and offer an outside perspective on global growth.
  2. When shifting focus, a company must also formulate a functional international sales plan that acknowledges global risk while also considering risks in buyer-sellers, credit, payment vs. delivery, performance, currency, documentation, product quality, transportation, regulatory compliance, transaction structure, and fraud.

What actions can be taken during global disruption?

From 2020 to the current time, the global COVID-19 pandemic has shown us that our world and the events that take place can be of totally unpredictable. No business knew that the COVID-19 pandemic was going to take place.

In turn, there were no business plans or recovery plans that were generated before COVID-19. The pandemic forced business owners to make instantaneous decisions. Now that businesses know these possibilities exist, we can make better plans for their possible occurrences. We’ve learned that it’s important to continue a plan for functionality even during unprecedented times.

In terms of global trade, trade finance, and foreign exchange, a business should develop an international business plan that is diverse and enables both the importer and the exporter to create supplier relationships in multiple countries. This will help limit the supply chain issues that occurred during the pandemic.

Ralph Bocchino

Membership Committee News

Meet the New Members!

Our community continues to see value in RPCN, as demonstrated by more new business owners as well as established business owners wanting to connect with all of you. Please welcome the following members with a quick email or hello at our events. Here is a brief recap, and you can go to our Members Only Member Directory to obtain their contact information.

  • Ralph Bocchino, RB Trade Consulting LLC
  • Ann Hutchison, M-Co Consulting Group
  • Peter Fling, Signature Notary LLC
  • Rita Sherman, OE2 Consulting
  • Mike Palanski, PhD, MPower2Lead
  • Jonathan Rosenfeld, Innovating Edge, Inc.

Volunteer Opportunities – Two Outreach Volunteers Needed

The RPCN Membership Committee is looking for members who enjoy expanding their connections and learning about other members and people interested in RPCN. We are looking for two more Outreach Volunteers. If you’re a curious type of individual, believe in the power of connections, and want to have an impact on RPCN, contact us.  Your minimum time investment would be just 30 minutes a week and should never exceed three hours a month.

Interested, curious? Reach out to the RPCN Membership Chair, Tom Fecteau at or 315.447.0425 for more details.

Tom Fecteau, Membership Chair

Simon Vision Project Teams’ Update

By the time you read this article, the Rochester Professional Consultants Network’s program of providing mentors to the Simon School of Business at the University of Rochester’s Simon Vision Consulting Program (Simon Vision) will have completed its twelfth semester.

  • Fourteen Rochester Professional Consulting Network (RPCN) mentors provided assistance to 16 Simon Vision client projects.
  • These 14 mentors handled all 16 projects since a few of our mentors helped with multiple teams.

There will be a new set of clients, projects, and consulting teams in Spring 2024. RPCN will be supplying mentors to Simon Vision again.

  • The projects will start in late January or early February and will run to late April.
  • If you are an RPCN member, you can become a mentor and help a student project team meet its goals. It’s a lot of fun and the mentors often learn things in the process too.
  • If you’d like to become a mentor, please contact me (my contact information is at the end of this article).

If you, or a client of yours, has a business project that could be completed in 8 to 12 weeks by a team of 4 to 5 student volunteers, let me know about it. It might be a candidate for Simon Vision this Spring.

The projects might be any business problem. Simon Vision teams have successfully completed projects focused on the following categories:

  • Marketing, business strategy, financial planning, operations, competitive analysis, and others
  • Examples of the completed projects include reviewing ways to decrease seasonal fluctuations in sales, developing a financial plan to solicit funding, and exploring new marketing channels.

If you’d like to volunteer to be an RPCN member mentor to a student team or think you might have a project that fits the profile of a Simon Vision project, please contact Dave Bassett at

RPCN Video

Watch the introductory video here.

Upcoming RPCN Events

Visit the RPCN website for a list of all upcoming events.

Technical Forum
In-Person or Virtually
Friday, December 1, 2023
8:00 - 9:30 a.m. 

Seizing Your Opportunities in 2024
Presented by Tom Fecteau
In-Person or Virtually
Friday, December 8, 2023
8:00 - 9:30 a.m.

Business Forum
In-Person or Virtually
Friday, December 15, 2023
8:00 - 9:30 a.m. 

RPCN Board Meeting
Everyone is welcome to attend.
In-Person or Virtually
Friday, December 15, 2023
10:00 - 11:30 a.m.

Enhancing Human Capital Lunch N' Learn
A.I. - The Next Generation of Work
Thursday, December 21, 2023
11:30 a.m. - 1:00 p.m.

No meeting on December 22!
Happy Holidays!

Marketing Forum and Holiday Marketing Tips Exchange
Friday, December 29, 2023
8:00 - 10:00 a.m. 

Did you know?
RPCN Events

RPCN is one of the, if not the most, dynamic organizations in the Rochester area. We have always had one meeting per week, every week, on Friday mornings, twice as many meetings as most other organizations.

We have several types of meetings or events. There are two formal presentations and three open forums.

  • The presentations are specifically directed to consultants like you and how you can improve your business.
  • There are three types of forums, the Business Forum, the Technical Forum, and the Marketing Forum. Each of these are open discussions where participants bring their questions and hope to get answers from the other participants. It makes for a lively discussion and is a lot of fun. Participation is encouraged. Your questions and your advice are valuable to everyone.
  • Once per month, there is a stimulating discussion at the Enhancing Human Capital (EHC) meeting. Open to everyone, EHC concentrates on one important issue about the human side of managing a business. Although a facilitated meeting, most of the input is from the participants and, like all RPCN meetings, it is FREE, FRIENDLY, AND FUN.

Times have changed since the pandemic. For one thing, RPCN is no longer just a local organization. Because of Zoom, we now have regular members from Syracuse, Albany, Boston, and other areas. We have even had a consultant from Germany attend several meetings, although the time difference wasn’t always convenient for this consultant.

As a result, all the presentations and forums are now “hybrid” meetings, meaning that you can attend either in-person at the Al Sigl Center or online via Zoom.

It’s your choice. All our events are listed on the Calendar of Events page on the website. You might be surprised how relevant to your business our meetings can be.

We all want to improve our business. Attending RPCN events is a great way to do just that. Learning, experiencing camaraderie, and having a good time are extra benefits.

Steve Royal

RPCN Member Benefit – Meeting Recordings Are Available

Did you know that we record every “Learn From the Best” series (2nd and 4th Friday) presentation? We do, and those recordings are available online to RPCN Members. It’s a great Member benefit!

There are SO many incredible presentations all year long, and we know that you can’t always find the time to attend them live. We record the presentation as well as the Q&A that follows. We also have PDFs of the PowerPoint presentations, when applicable. All of these can be found on our website under the Members Only link at the top of the web page.

Not yet a member? When you join, you’ll have access to ALL the previous recordings, and you can catch up at your leisure.

Here are a few recent presentations that you may have missed:

  • Stop Scammers In Their Tracks
  • Staying Positive Through Trying Times
  • Organizational Success and Culture
  • The Science of Leader Development – What Consultants Need to Know

Check them out!

David Finger

Help Wanted!
Assistant Treasurer

We are looking for an Assistant Treasurer. If you have knowledge, experience, or a background in accounting, you would be an asset to the Rochester Professional Consultants Network (RPCN).

The Assistant Treasurer would assist the Treasurer in preparing required periodic financial reports, a budget, an audit, and otherwise back up the Treasurer. Some knowledge of QuickBooks is helpful. Many consultants may have these requirements. Full training will be provided by the current Treasurer. This would be a way to use your skills and talents to aid RPCN.  

If interested, please contact Frank Crombe, RPCN Treasurer, 585-255-0837.

We want your news!

The RPCN newsletter welcomes news, success stories, tips, resources, events, and other items that would be of broad interest to consultants. To submit a newsletter item, send an email with the announcement in an attached Word file to

Melanie Watson, Publisher 
Sandra Glanton, Copyeditor

The deadline for submitting material for our next newsletter is the 21st of this month.

Request from the Editors

When submitting material to be included in the RPCN newsletter, please:
1. Send the submission TO and not to individuals.
2. Include the words “For RPCN Newsletter” in the subject line. (Some people send articles to ALL RPCN members themselves, and it is often difficult to distinguish those that are being circulated independently from those intended for inclusion in the newsletter.)
3. Please attach a .doc instead of typing your submission within the email. 



© Rochester Professional Consultants Network | All Rights Reserved
Powered by Wild Apricot Membership Software