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Rochester Professional Consultants Network  Monthly Newsletter
January 2023

A monthly newsletter from the Rochester Professional Consultants Network.

What’s the Vision and Mission for Your Business?

2023 is here sooner than expected. Have you set your targets for this year and beyond? Are you still working to fulfil the vision for yourself, your organization or business? In the post COVID19 era some fundamental things have changed so the yearly review of goals and mission may be even more critical to success, fulfilment, and happiness.

Some businesses and organizations may need a complete makeover while others just need a tweak here and there. The journey starts with you defining your values and discovering what brings you satisfaction and joy. Look back on those moments (pick 10 of them) during your life where everything “clicked”, or you were immensely satisfied and happy. Analyze what you were doing or what led to it and why you felt that way about the event. I’m sure you will find some commonalities between some of those events.

The vision statement is what success looks like to you. The vision statement for a company / team should be developed collaboratively by multiple stakeholders. You want something that inspires the best in you and the team. The vision should be far reaching future long term anywhere from 5 to infinity. The vision is the motivation or the “why” you want to do your and company’s mission.

The mission statement should be brief and specific using present tense while aligning with your values. The mission will evolve over time as the landscape may change but the values act as a stabilizing anchor. Your mission statement is your what and how to make that vision a reality. Keep it to 1 to 3 sentences and have it in public view so it can be seen every day. The vision statement should also be posted in public view as well. We sometimes when thing get crazy or dark, will need a reminder on what we should be doing and why to bring us back to the light.

Wishing you all the best in the coming year! Finding that purpose and reminding yourself why will hopefully make the journey to your fulfillment a little easier.

—Mark Fling, RPCN Vice President

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 the RPCN.  

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


RPCN looking for a volunteer to be Secretary who would take minutes at the RCPN board meetings, which are held on the third Friday of the month at 10 am. These Board Meetings are hybrid so the Secretary can attend either virtually or in-person. If interested, please contact David Finger, RPCN President,

What Do Solo Consultants Do?
(And would I want to be one?)

(This is part two of an excerpt from an RPCN flyer used at display tables, meetings, conferences, etc.)

Part 2: As mentioned in Part 1, during the “Great Resignation”, some people are leaving employment to start consulting businesses, which differ greatly from employment. Here are some things to consider about a solo consulting business and its unique demands.

Should I Become a Solo Consultant-Entrepreneur?

The first question to ask is "Am I suited to running my own business?"

Entrepreneurs (business owners) must:

  • Market and Price their services.
  • Sell to Prospects. Negotiate project fees.
  • Deliver Excellent Service.
  • Be a Business Person: Plan, Budget, etc.

I list these not-so-glamorous things to shine the harsh light of reality on what it takes to start a business. Clients will not beat a path to your door unless you build the path, guide them along it, and make the trip worth their time and effort.

How Do I Turn my Skills into a Business?

1. Choose my Service & Describe my business

  • What are my top skills?
  • What do I love to do?
  • Which Service(s) combine my skills and “loves” into a Business?

2. Identify My Clients:

  • Who needs my service?
  • How will I produce Value for clients?
  • Are there enough clients out there?
  • Will they pay enough for a profit?

3. Start Marketing: (How can I reach Potential Clients?)

     Until you have clients, your “full-time” job is Marketing. And the first step in consultant marketing is to identify your target clients and find the value you bring to them. Do market research through literature, internet, etc. Interview potential clients to discover their problems and needs. Then, market yourself as a person that can meet those needs.

     Marketing Tip: Build an “expert” image and credibility.

  • Write articles, papers, posts, blogs, books. Give seminars, training, etc.
  • Cite testimonials about your work.

     Marketing Tip: Build trusting relationships.

  • Network with potential clients, and people who know them.
  • Ask potential clients about their problems & the value of your service (Listen vs. talk).

     More Marketing Tips:

  • Find out where your prospects “hang out”. Go there and “meet” them: In-person? On-line groups? Trade associations? etc.
  • Publish and post on social media sites that your prospects visit.
  • Provide useful info & how-to: Podcasts, You Tube videos, Free Offers on your website, etc.

     Why are Relationships so Important?

     A good relationship motivates prospects & clients to:

  • Engage and pay you for your services.
  • Refer you to potential clients.
  • Recommend you to others.
  • Call you the next time they need help.

(Still Interested? See next month’s RPCN newsletter “What Do Solo Consultants Do?”  - Part Three. For Part 1, click here.)

Bob Lurz

Membership News

Happy holidays to one and all! This also means that we are wrapping up the first six months of RPCN's year, so here are some gratitudes, highlights, and a couple of asks.

As the new membership chair, I am grateful for the momentum Melanie Watson was able to hand me from all her hard work as the past chair. I appreciate her continued support on the committee as she takes on more RPCN responsibilities. I am also thankful for the continued support of Bob Manard, Ruth Balkin, Bob Lurz, David Finger, and our newest Membership Committee member Michael Roach.

The mid-year membership highlight is that we have managed to stop the slow erosion of members as we began the year with 61 members and now stand at 64!

Here are our new members, Nermine Zakhary, Sameer Choudhary, Valerie Hall, Wayne France, Edward Park, and Gregor Gordon. You can click here to see their profiles.  Also, we are grateful to welcome back Martha "Marty" Whalen after a short break. If you haven't already, reach out to them with a call or an email and welcome them to our RPCN family. It's what family does.

A key initiative that returned this year was our policy of gifting a three-month free membership to our “Learn From the Best” Speakers, which is also transferable to anyone they feel could benefit from our offerings. To our RPCN members, who have been speakers, don't let this gift fade away; please offer the certificate to someone that may benefit.

My final ask is to all members; we miss seeing many of you and hope that you will stay connected. If you haven't seen an acquaintance in a while or are wondering how we have remained engaged all this time, we would love for you to share their experiences at a Business or Tech Forum. Were you aware that we are now hybrid two Fridays a month for Learn From The Best sessions? This means you can attend in-person as well as virtually. We would love to see you again at our Al Sigl Center space. And whenever possible, remember to ask a new connection to attend. Seeing us and meeting us is our best calling card. Thank you everyone, and I hope your new year begins with optimism and joy.

—Tom Fecteau

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

Simon Vision Consulting Program Updates

The Rochester Professional Consultants Network’s (RPCN) program of providing mentors to the University of Rochester’s Simon School of Business (Simon) Simon Vision Consulting Program (Simon Vision) recently concluded our tenth highly regarded semester.

Simon Vision had a full client load this past semester and 15 client projects were accepted and successfully completed.  The project teams were able to meet with their clients in person and most of the project managers were able to meet with their RPCN mentors in person as well, though logistics kept the interactions for a couple of mentors and project teams still virtual.  (It’s tough to meet in person with a mentor or project manager who is on the other side of the country!)

Through the 10 semesters over the past 5 years, we’ve had 22 mentors help with 111 projects for well over 80 separate clients.  Because helping the project managers and project teams is a lot of fun, one half of our mentors have come back on numerous occasions and have helped with at least five projects each over the past five years.  A few of our mentors have helped with two projects in a single semester and we’ve even had one mentor, Bob Lewis, who worked with ELEVEN separate projects.  Thanks for that Bob!

If you are unfamiliar with Simon Vision, the program is an effort to increase experiential learning opportunities for Simon’s MBA and MS students. It is a student-run program that usually has 4-5 student members per team. Each team provides consulting to (typically) a local small business for 8 - 12 weeks, i.e. one semester. (In the semester that follows, Simon sometimes has another student consulting team take over another project for the same company.)

Participation in the program is voluntary for the students and is not part of the regular Simon curriculum. In addition to the RPCN mentors, there is a faculty adviser who helps the students run the program.

We’re looking for additional people interested in being mentors this spring. If you’d like to become a mentor, please contact me (my contact info is at the end of this article). We’re also looking for new projects for the spring semester. If you or a client or associate have a well-defined project that could be outsourced, Simon Vision could be a great source to get your project completed. Projects are typically staffed with four to five Simon Vision consultants and a project manager. Ideally, projects in the spring semester last about 10 weeks, longer projects may also viable. The leadership of Simon Vision will work with you to define a project that can be successfully completed within these constraints.  If your project Is not selected for inclusion in the spring semester, don’t lose heart, it still could be accepted in the fall semester when, typically, more client projects are accepted.

The project can be any business problem and Simon Vision teams have successfully completed projects focused on marketing, business strategy, financial planning, operations, competitive analysis and the like. Examples of completed projects include reviewing ways to decrease seasonal fluctuations in sales, developing a financial plan to solicit funding, and exploring new marketing channels. So, you can see that the projects can take on a wide variety of topics. And did we mention that the student teams work for FREE?

Projects are vetted by the Simon Vision student governing board and typically 6 – 15 projects are chosen each semester. For the spring semester we expect to take 8 - 10 projects with projects expected to begin in mid-January.

If you are interested in having a Simon Vision Consulting Project Team perform work for you, or would simply like more information about the program, or even if you’d like to volunteer to be an RPCN member mentor to a student team 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, January 6, 2023
8:00 - 9:30 a.m. 

How to Turn Your Personal Brand Into a Business Growth Engine
Presented by Kris Hughes
In-Person or Virtually
Friday, January 13, 2023
8:00 - 9:30 a.m.

Enhancing Human Capital Lunch N' Learn: Microbusinesses and Human Capital
Thursday, January 19, 2023
11:30 a.m. - 1:00 p.m.

Business Forum
In-Person or Virtually
Friday, January 20, 2023
8:00 - 9:30 a.m. 

RPCN Board Meeting
Everyone is welcome to attend.
In-Person or Virtually
Friday, January 20, 2023
10:00 - 11:30 a.m. 

Pricing Your Services with Math, Magic, and Moxie
Presented by Bob Lurz
In-Person or Virtually
Friday, January 27, 2023
8:00 - 9:30 a.m.

Enhancing Human Capital
Lunch & Learn Updates

Last Month's Lunch-n-Learn

In December our topic was Beating The Peter Principle. The Peter Principle is a concept that states that “people in hierarchical organizations tend to get promoted until they reach their own individual level of incompetence, resulting in many higher level jobs being filled by people who are not capable of doing their work”.

We discussed this phenomenon to understand how it happens and understand the negative impact that it has on these individuals and their companies. More importantly, we explored ways to overcome this and ensure that the employee’s strengths are properly utilized and not lost.

Upcoming Lunch-n-Learn

Jan 19th - “EHC for Microbusiness Owners“ Facilitated by Dave Bassett
We will discuss how microbusiness owners can improve their own results through Enhancing Human CapitalTM (EHC).  EHC is a powerful system that people can use to improve the interactions and results in their businesses.  Since solo entrepreneurs, consultants, and small business owners (collectively, microbusiness owners) have few to no direct employees they can misunderstand how EHC benefits them in their own businesses.  We’ll clear up those misconceptions.

RPCN’s Enhancing Human Capital Lunch-n-Learns are held via Zoom on the third Thursday of every month 11:30 am – 1 pm ET. Please join us for the next event FREE of charge. To get more information about EHC, please see  or contact the EHC team.

Book Recommendations

Mark Fling, our VP, has made some book suggestions:

Discovery-Driven Growth
A Breakthrough Process to Reduce Risk and Seize Opportunity
By Rita Gunther McGrath and Ian C. MacMillan

The Art of Impossible
A Peak Performance Primer
By Steven Kolter

Trust and Inspire
How Truly Great Leaders Unleash Greatness in Others
By Stephan M.R. Covey

Teach To Work
How A Mentor and a Project Can Close the Skills Gap in America
By Patty Alper

Think Like A Warrior:
The Five Inner Beliefs That Make You Unstoppable
By Darrin Donnelly

Edison Workshop Series -
Call for Volunteers

Would you like to help city kids learn about entrepreneurship ?  Bob Manard is assembling a team to teach the basics of business to students at Edison Tech High School as they prepare for careers in a wide variety of industries, including Automotive Technology, Advanced Manufacturing, Culinary Arts, and Digital Marketing.

Let’s join together and give these kids a head start as they begin their journey of entrepreneurship, whether it’s helping their family business, joining a startup, or starting their own.

If you’re interested in this opportunity to give back to the community and help some kids in need, contact Bob Manard at

Did You Know? 
RPCN Speakers

Have you ever wondered how RPCN manages to offer four (or more) meetings every month? Two of those meetings repeat each month, the Business and Technical Forums, and these are generally facilitated by the same person. The other two meetings are usually presentations and change each month.

For several years, RPCN has been fortunate to have a Program Director, Michael van der Gaag, who finds amazing presentations which can benefit anyone who is in the consulting business. Michael has a difficult job at best and has done it well for a long time.

Michael has shown that finding speakers is not an impossible task, but it is not always easy. But there is a fact that can help. Many businesspeople like nothing better than to talk about the way their business works and how it could help others. They would be delighted to showcase their skills by making a presentation to RPCN. You probably know some of these folks. So, consider this:

RPCN always needs more speakers. Remember, we have two presentations each month. That’s a lot. You may very well be a source of at least one of those. There is a link on the RPCN website for you to learn more and to direct Michael to them for follow-up. You can find it at “Call for Speakers.

You can also look at Possible Programs and Speakers for ideas.

And, when you’re ready, Speaker Guidelines will help, too.

Michael would be delighted to hear from you. RPCN will thank you. After all, if you suggest a speaker, it could ultimately be of great value to RPCN, its members, and you.

It would certainly be worth the effort!

Steve Royal

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. Submit a newsletter item to for inclusion. 

Melanie Watson, Publisher 
Diana Robinson, 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.)

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