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February 2018

A monthly newsletter from the Rochester Professional Consultants Network

Your articles, news, tips, events and resources are welcome. Send items to Newsletter Email.


President's message

By Bob Manard, RPCN President,

What are you doing to ensure your success this year? Nelson Mandela once said, “It always seems impossible until it’s done.” I can relate. It’s easy to get stuck in a rut. It’s easy to believe that you’ve plateaued and there’s no way you’re going to make it to the next level. I’ve been there, done that. That was before I made a conscious decision to escape the confines of my comfort zone. Instead of wearing a laurel wreath for easily doing the things I was very good at, I decided to try learning and doing things I wasn’t quite a master at.


Learning is a lifelong activity. According to Heraclitus, an ancient Greek philosopher, “Change is the only constant in life.” This holds true for the business environment as well. Whether it’s an emerging disruptive technology or new political leadership updating regulations and the corresponding tax consequences, it seems like we’re always struggling to keep up with the latest changes. I usually spend at least three hours per day learning new skills or keeping up with an ever-changing business environment. I also try to include some intellectual “mash-ups” by interleaving subjects that aren’t directly related to my business but might cause me to see things in a different light.

Here are some of the educational resources I’ve taken advantage of in the last few years.

  • RPCN Forums and Workshops – The forums (1st and 3rd Fridays) can help you discover solutions to your own technical and business problems. They can also give you insights into problems that you haven’t encountered yet. The workshops (2nd and 4th Fridays) focus on specific areas of interest and are usually interactive.
  • Read – Books are still your best bet for in-depth learning. The RPCN has an extensive library of business books. The public library (especially the Central Library in downtown Rochester) is a good resource for books that we don’t own. They even have ebooks available through OverDrive. Blogs are a good way to keep up with the latest trends in your field of expertise. Also be sure to keep up on things that may be of interest to your target market, via news articles or Google alerts.
  • RPCN Boot Camp – The newest edition of the Boot Camp started on February 6. I attended in 2014 after coming off a career in corporate and it really helped me fine-tune my business model.
  • SCORE/SBA/SBDC/CUE/HTR – These quasi-governmental organizations hold a number of educational events throughout the year.


You need to talk to actual people if you want to be successful, whether they are customers, colleagues or connectors. In his book, Talking to Humans, Giff Constable stresses the importance of getting out in the field and talking face-to-face with your potential customers.

Be especially wary of building personal silos – of blocking yourself off from new information and potential new customers. I’ve been through periods of time where I’ve just had so much work to do that I had to put up walls to eliminate distractions. I’ve had success with these resources to keep me connected to the humans.

  • RPCN Forums and Workshops – We always have networking opportunities before and after the sessions.
  • RPCN Evening Events - 5th Friday Eves, a Trend Talk on March 20, our Awards Gala on April 19 – These are a good way to interact with colleagues who aren’t able to attend our morning events.
  • Chambers of Commerce – Meet and Greets, Ribbon Cuttings -- Learn more about the businesses in your community and target markets.
  • Charitable organizations – Rotary, Habitat for Humanity -- Try to establish common ground while helping others.

Focus on your passion

One of the most-reliable bellwethers of success is doing things you are passionate about. When you do what you love, you’ll love what you do and it will be apparent to those around you. Work no longer becomes work, but something you actually look forward to doing.

Breaking news on Boot Camp dates

News from: Sandy Glanton

Space still available for 2018 program in February and March

Registration for the RPCN’s 2018 Boot Camp has reopened through February 26, with Session 2 now being held on February 27.

Here is a sample of what you will learn:

Topics will include:

DEFINE your Services, Clients & Value (Your Foundation)
CHOOSE a Legal Entity (DBA, LLC, Corp.; liability, taxes)
BUILD Your Reputation and Image
MARKET Your Services
INTERVIEW Potential Clients and Discover your Value
PRESENT Your Value Proposition and Receive Expert Feedback

The Boot Camp opened on Tuesday, February 6, but due to equipment moves at High Tech Rochester, sessions 2 through 5 will be held:
  • Tuesday, February 27, 2018, 7:30 a.m.–12:30 p.m.
  • Tuesday, March 6, 2018, 7:30 a.m.–12:30 p.m.
  • Tuesday, March 13, 2018, 7:30 a.m.–4:30 p.m.
  • Tuesday, March 27, 2018, 7:30 a.m.–4:30 p.m.
If anyone is interested in registering, and wants to get caught up on what was covered in Session 1, contact Sandy Glanton at (585) 230-0649 or She will provide your book and share the slides that were covered on February 6 so you can join the class on February 27.

RPCN seeks mentors for new joint partnership with Simon School

News from: Dave Bassett

In an effort to increase experiential learning opportunities for MBA and MS students at the University of Rochester’s Simon School of Business, Simon developed the Simon Vision program, a student-run program where a four- to five-member student team provides consulting to (typically) a local small business for 12 weeks (one semester). After the 12-week period, Simon may have another student consulting team take on another project for the company. Participation in the program is voluntary for the students and is not part of the regular Simon curriculum. A couple of faculty advisors help the students run the program.

in discussions between RPCN and Simon, the RPCN board decided that there is an opportunity for members to help with this program. We will begin a pilot program in the spring semester with RPCN members acting as mentors to help the student teams stay focused and on track to complete their project goals. The initial student projects chosen for the mentorship program probably will be in marketing or general management (financial/accounting planning, etc.), and possibly operations management.

For the pilot program, we are looking for four RPCN members who would be available to meet with students biweekly over the 12-week project term. There was a kickoff meeting during the week of February 5 and the projects would begin around February 15. If you are interested in helping Simon fulfill its motto (“Where thinkers become leaders!”) and also have experience in marketing, general management or operations, let RPCN know and we will add you to the mentorship roster. 

For more information about the project or to volunteer to be a mentor, contact Dave Bassett (

Blogging opportunity for RPCN members

News from:
Sandy Glanton

If you are an RPCN member who is interested in blogging for publication to business tenants of the Eastman Business Park (EBP), log into the RPCN website and look at the blogging information at

This page of the RPCN website covers:
  1. Blogging requirements
  2. Topics that have already been covered and topics that are due to be covered in the next few months
  3. Open dates when we still need blog posts
If you have additional questions regarding the RPCN Blogging Program for EBP, send a message to

Upcoming events

Business Forum

Friday, February 16 , 2018; 8:00 a.m. - 9:30 a.m., Pittsford Community Library, 24 State St., Pittsford, NY 14534

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

Wondering what kind of questions people are asking? Click here for a list from recent forums.

Board Meeting

Friday, February 16 2018; 10:00 a.m. - 12:00 PM; Pittsford Library, after the Business Forum

Do you want to know what happens "behind the scenes" at RPCN? Come to a board meeting and find out. Everyone is welcome to attend, but only board members may vote. The RPCN month board meeting begins at approximately 10:00 a.m. after the Business Forum.

Users are Stupid or It's all about the user, Stupid!

Friday, February 23, 2018, at Five Star Bank, City Gate.

Michael van der Gaag will bring us a program on usability relating to:

If you can't capture the hearts and minds of the user, your genius idea will ultimately fail... some competitor who was better at engaging the user, will pick up and run with the ball.

Technical Forum

Friday, March 2, 2018, 8:00 a.m. - 9:30 a.m. Pittsford Community Library, 24 State St., Pittsford, N Y 14534

Facilitated by Steve Royal. 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? Click here for a list from previous forums.

We want you!

The RPCN newsletter welcomes news, success stories, tips, resources, events and other items that would be of broad interest to consultants. Submit a newsletter item by e-mail to the Newsletter 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 Newsletter Committee: Ruth E. Thaler-Carter, chair and editor, and Steve Royal, publisher.

Not an RPCN member? You can join RPCN now to receive great benefits, including free admission to RPCN presentations at Brighton Town Hall, a listing in the RPCN Member Directory, and discounts to RPCN events. CLICK HERE for more information on joining RPCN.


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Newsletter Editor: Ruth Thaler-Carter; Publisher: Steve Royal




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