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July 2022 Newsletter

A monthly newsletter from the Rochester Professional Consultants Network.

I Am the Luckiest

There are many times in my life where I have made that statement, most often because of the people that I am connected with. This is no exception.

I am so fortunate to be involved with Rochester Professional Consultants Network because of the overwhelming dedication and support of our many members and Directors. I often describe RPCN as a group of experts that freely give their knowledge and experience to each other and to our community of consultants, solopreneurs and small business owners. That association alone makes me the luckiest.

It goes beyond that, however.

So much groundwork has been laid by those whose shoulders we now get to stand (and lean) on to see farther than we ever could on our own:

  • Our outgoing President Tina Rohring has helped this organization weave our way through the weirdness of a pandemic on the slow retreat, and has created a streamlined Board of Directors operating process. I am fortunate to have her commitment of support for this coming year and look forward to being guided by her experiences.
  • Laurie Enos, who now needs to focus on other priorities in her life, has dedicated her time to RPCN in more ways than any member that I know, and has partnered with Mary Sperr to establish a strong cadence of promotion for RPCN. Laurie and Mary also have championed (and produced) the RPCN Gala over many years, plus taking on countless other responsibilities. Thank you, Laurie and Mary. I am so glad you are staying on as RPCN members!
  • Several members have stepped up and into new roles that will bring new ideas and opportunities to our organization – Tom Fecteau is the new Membership Committee Chair, and Melanie Watson takes on the Marketing Committee as Chair. Both of these shifts are sure to result in new ideas and energy.
  • Under the relentless efforts of Joyce Curran and the team working towards finding a new regular “home” for RPCN meetings, I believe we are closer than we have ever been to being a fully hybrid organization, providing equal access and engagement to both in-person and virtual attendees to RPCN Events. What a time it is for this possibility!
  • Finally, I am so thankful that so many of the current Directors that serve on the Board of RPCN are continuing, that new Directors are joining the team, and that Helen Gulack and Frank Crombe are committed to their fantastic work as Secretary and Treasurer of RPCN, respectively.

I believe that this coming year will see new and significant benefits to our membership that will result in overall strong growth for RPCN. To serve this organization as president truly makes me the luckiest.

David Finger, Incoming President, RPCN

Be Your Own Boss (BYOB?)

BYOB usually means “Bring Your Own Bottle”. But in today’s business startup frenzy, BYOB can mean: “Build Your Own Business” and “Be Your Own Boss”. Owning your own business sounds great. Just start up and work for yourself. You call the shots and make all the decisions. Have freedom to do things without asking for permission: Go on vacation, take a day off and just chill, go to your kid’s sports, etc. Okay, you say, “That’s for me”, and, like Nike, you say, I’ll “Just Do It”.

Just Doing It: I once met a startup who “just did it”. He’d worked at a supermarket but had no business experience. He started selling fresh vegetables from his mother-in-law’s front yard (Bought his veggies at a public market). When success didn’t come fast enough, he rented a storefront and sold from there. But with rent to pay, few sales, and vegetables rotting, he was bleeding money. Someone referred him to me.

Getting Help: I met him and assessed his situation (pro bono). He had no business plan and his business wasn’t a fit for my type of service. With his approval, I arranged a meeting with a nonprofit that (for free) helps small businesses to start up and acquire funding. At the meeting, the advisor and I discussed his situation while we waited for him to arrive. But he never showed up. We tried contacting him with no success.

Refusing Help: Afterward, when I finally reached him, he gave no valid excuse (or apology) for his “no-show”. He said he didn’t really need our help, and ended our relationship. He made up his mind that he could do it alone. Unfortunately, he never did make a go of it.

Lessons: We can learn a lot from his real-life example:

  1. “Just Doing It” without learning and planning isn’t sufficient to be successful.
  2. Making a profit will take longer than you think.
  3. Allow enough time and money for business trial and error.
  4. Have a source of money to support your personal life during startup.
  5. Do a simple “break-even analysis” to plan costs, pricing, sales volume, profit margins, etc.
  6. Market your business to bring in customers. Just opening a storefront or website isn’t enough.
  7. You need optimism to be successful - but don’t let “Entrepreneurial Pride” (or “Arrogance”) blind you to the realities facing you.
  8. Accommodate your products’ shelf-life (e.g. refrigeration)
  9. Treat others with respect (Don’t be a “no-show”)
  10. Get mentoring and help (Don’t be “un-coachable”).      

So what about BYOB?
DON’T make “BYOB” mean: “Believe Your Optimism Blindly”, “Blow Your Only Bucks”, “Bomb Your Only Business”, “Bring Your Own Bottle” to your business closing.

DO make “BYOB” mean: “Bring Your Own Brains”, “Bring Your Own Backbone”, “Bring Your Own Brilliance”, “Build Your Own Business” and “Be Your Own Boss”.

Bob Lurz

Enhancing Human Capital
Lunch & Learn Updates

Last Month's Lunch-n-Learn

In our June session of Enhancing Human Capital we explored the terrain of entrepreneurial behavior, what it is, and what can be done to cultivate it. We defined the main traits of entrepreneurs as innovativeness, autonomy, proactiveness, competitive aggressiveness and risk-taking, of which all of us have in varying amounts.  From there we acknowledged the incredible roles that some entrepreneurs have played in creating the products and services we now enjoy. Consequently we may impose on some of them transformation into celebrities, while many of us assume that we possess no such traits.  Once we had established that these aspects do also occur in ourselves, we explored how to cultivate them in both ourselves and in the organizations in which we work.

Upcoming Lunch-n-Learn:
Managing Change – July 21, 2022

Change management consists of two sides: 1) the logistics side of change - planning and executing the actual work that needs to be accomplished, and 2) the people side of change. In July’s lunch-n-learn we will focus on the People Side of Change.

We will identify four phases of transition, as identified by basic human psychology. The focus of the discussion will be on identifying these phases in employees, and providing constructive ways to help them through each phase. “The object of managing change is not to eliminate any of the phases, rather to minimize the time it takes to get through them!”

RPCN’s Enhancing Human Capital Lunch-n-Learns are held via Zoom on the third Thursday of every month. Our program starts and 11:30 a.m. ET and runs until 1:00 p.m. ET. Please join us for the next installment on July 21. To get more information about EHC, please contact the EHC team.

Interested in Planning 2023 Entrepreneurs’ Awards Gala?

Rochester Professional Consultants Network (RPCN) began to conduct an Entrepreneurs’ Awards Gala dinner each year in 2015, the year of RPCN’s 25th Anniversary. The dinner was meant to enable RPCN Members to nominate both members and non-members who have contributed so much to our organization and to our members' growth and present the Awards at the Gala.

We have conducted six of these Award dinners thus far. All were in the Spring of the year, generally April, except for last year’s 2020 Awards Gala. That was conducted in October of 2021, due to the delays caused by the pandemic.

RPCN would like to conduct another Gala in late April 2023, but we need our members’ help. Due to changes in people’s business and personal schedules, two of our key Gala organizers and volunteers are no longer able to participate in the planning and execution of the Gala. Those two key people are Laurie Enos and Mary Sperr.

Laurie and Mary have been extremely instrumental in helping RPCN plan and carry out fantastic Galas in 2015 through 2021. Now we need one or two RPCN Members to chair the Gala and Awards planning teams. Other members sign on to help, but we need one or two people to be the focal points.

  • Would you be interested in being one of the two chairs, or the primary chair, for this task?
  • Have you been in charge of planning events in other organizations? Laurie and Mary have “set the stage” by at least setting some precedents for this event, so it isn’t like you would need to start with a blank slate.

If you are interested, please send a message to the RPCN Operations Committee. Thank you!

RPCN Video

Watch the introductory video here.

Upcoming RPCN Events

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

Technical Forum
Friday, June 3, 2022
8:00 - 9:30 a.m. 

Direct Mail Best Practices
Presented by Theresa Oschmann
Friday, July 8, 2022
8:00 - 9:30 a.m.

Business Forum
Friday, July 15, 2022
8:00 - 9:30 a.m. 

RPCN Board Meeting
Everyone is welcome to attend.
Friday, July 15, 2022
10:00 - 11:30 a.m. 

Enhancing Human Capital Lunch N' Learn: Managing Change
Thursday, July 21, 2022
11:30 a.m. - 1:00 p.m.

"Three-R's" of Content Marketing
Presented by Bob Lurz
Friday, July 22, 2022
8:00 - 9:30 a.m.

Did You Know? The Forums

Many years ago (in the early ’90s, in fact), a lot, if not most, RPCN members were very new to the consulting business. Both Kodak and Xerox had just gone through monumental changes in an attempt to stay in business. The result was massive downsizing at both companies.

Employees were leaving Kodak and Xerox by the thousands. A small group of ex-Kodakers formed a group called Rochester Professional Consultants Network (RPCN) with high hopes of continuing their working career using the skills they had accumulated during their careers.

Problems for these folks arose when most of them realized that, while they had plenty of expertise in their field, they knew virtually nothing about consulting OR starting their own business (sound familiar?).

RPCN has always been known for the help its members provide to each other. One way to have this happen so that everyone benefited was to create a new type of meeting, essentially one where the participants both ask questions and answer them. The Business Forum was born (called the Breakfast Club for many years). Bring your question, it will be discussed and, hopefully, answered by the participants. This forum became very popular very quickly.

Success breeds success. Later, another meeting, the Technical Forum, was born with the same format except that the questions (and answers) dealt with technical issues (computers, phones printers malware, security, etc.).

All the subjects in both forums are really questions and those questions are saved on our website for all to view. While the questions are listed, the answers are not. For those, you need to come to the forums (at the moment, online).

If you have never attended a forum, and wonder what kinds of questions are asked, just go to News/Questions from the Forums. You will find all the questions from both the Business and Technical forums listed there. You will soon see that whatever question you have, it will be welcomed by skilled facilitators and you will never feel out of place.

Take a look. Then schedule the forums on your calendar. It is almost guaranteed that you will be more knowledgeable after attending any Forum meeting.

Steve Royal

RPCN Looks for Shared Space

The RPCN Capital Committee is turning its focus tpfinding shared space to call home for the next few years. While we continue to raise money for a permanent location, these are spe of the criteria we need now to branch out from COVID lockdown.

  1. Space – must be able to accommodate larger meetings.
  2. Parking – must have parking (25 spots or more would be ideal, but not mandatory)
  3. Internet – must have strong internet service.
  4. Ability to charge fees – must be able to charge a fee to non-members.
  5. Hours – must be able to conform to our early, 8 a.m. schedules.

If anyone knows of an organization or business that might accommodate our non-profit group, please pass on this information to the Capital Committee, at

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.)

Membership Information

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.

New members:
Laura Canne

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.



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