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A monthly newsletter from the Rochester Professional Consultants Network.
                                                              May 2022             

“Strategy First”
(Grab your Idea now, and the Nitty-Gritty later)

Business Plan First?
Business Planning is great for asking ourselves tough questions and shining the harsh light of reality on our enterprise. But at the start, too much critical analysis of a new idea can overwhelm our enthusiasm and innovative spirit (leaving some of us with a bad taste for the planning process).

Starting or Pivoting?
Whether starting up or plotting a new course, we need to quickly capture and explore our business idea before the muse escapes. We’re advised to “Write a business plan”, so we diligently dig in. But then, we’re bombarded with multiple sections and sub-sections, dozens of daunting details, financial projections, appendices, etc. Our flash of inspiration can get lost in all this early analysis. There must be a better way.

Strategy First
Try writing your strategy
first to avoid becoming confused, frustrated, and de-enthused. It sounds backward, but you can capture the core of your concept before you drown in a sea of questions from a conventional Business Plan. Try these Simple Strategy Questions (Top-level, but just deep enough):

The Foundation of Your Enterprise

  • Your idea for the product or service?
  • The people you hope will buy it? (Customers or Clients).
  • The benefits your idea can provide to customers? (What’s special about it?)

Your Business Goals (Strategic Objectives)

  • What do you hope to achieve with your business idea?
  • What opportunities exist to accomplish the goals?
  • What or who stands in your way? (Competition? Threats?)

Major Methods to Achieve Your Goals (Strategic Actions)

  • How will you reach your customers or clients? (Marketing strategy)
  • How will you get them to buy? (Selling strategy)
  • How will you make money with your idea? (Pricing & Profits)

Build a strategy that works for you. Capture the Big Picture Ideas and answer major questions before getting lost in the planning weeds. Discover early on whether your idea looks like a winner or an “ugly baby” If you decide to dig deeper, you’ll have a great start for doing more detailed Business and Action Planning. (Be alert for more inspiration that pops up during the process).

Here’s an example of how simple a Foundation Description can be:

organization's name: Strategic Strength Consulting

is what: is a leadership consulting company

does what: that facilitates Strategic Thinking

for whom: for organizations and individuals.

to what benefit: We help clients develop strategies that achieve their major objectives.

your values: We build trust with clients by providing the value they need.

Have a new business idea? Try “Strategy First”. Grab the idea now, and the nitty-gritty later. Good guidance can be found on the SBA website. It shows “how-to” examples of “Traditional Business” and “Lean Startup” Plans. The Lean Startup example is a bit like “Strategy First”. The SCORE website has templates for full-blown Business Plans.

Bob Lurz

Did You Know? 
New Event Planning Tool for RPCN

RPCN is unusual in that it provides programs or events of some kind at least every week. In fact, now that all meetings are on Zoom, more than one meeting per week is not unusual.

Over two years of pandemic experience has taught RPCN members some valuable lessons. One of those lessons is that virtual events have allowed several outside-of-Rochester people to not only attend our meetings, but to join RPCN. We even have one person from Germany attending some of our meetings.

This is great news for RPCN. More members mean better attendance at our meetings, which can ultimately lead to more business for you -- and that’s a good thing.

RPCN’s various programs and events do not happen automatically. A substantial amount of work that stands behind each of them and it all has to start somewhere. For quite a while, the process of scheduling and planning our meetings was begun by having the presenter, facilitator, or whoever was appropriate. fill out one of two forms. This worked (most of the time) but things could sometimes be rather unclear.

Recently, these two forms have been replaced by one form that is used for all types of programs and events. It is set up so that, after you have chosen the type of meeting that you want to schedule and plan, a page appears for that type of meeting only. Just complete a few entries, such as preferred date, type of meeting, etc., and you’re finished.

A lot happens after that. Behind the scenes, several dedicated RPCN members do their “thing,” which ultimately results in an Event Page on our website. You can be proud!

So, if you or someone you know would like to set up a program or event for RPCN, it is now easier than ever. Just go to the RPCN website, then look under Events, where you will find RPCN Event Form. Click on that and you are on your way to setting up a meeting for all members and non-members to enjoy and learn.

Steve Royal

Enhancing Human Capital
Lunch & Learn Updates

Last Month's Lunch-n-Learn

At the April 21 EHC Lunch-and-Learn, “Creating a Competitive Advantage by Aligning Interests”, we discussed the 8 different sources of labor that might be used within an organization and how we can align the interests of these different sources to create a unifying culture that is able to outperform the competition. One of the main takeaways was to understand people as individuals and to find ways to leverage their unique motivations to create a successful organization.

Upcoming Lunch-n-Learn: May 19
Building a Learning Organization

On Thursday, May 19, RPCN's human resource group called Enhancing Human Capital will conduct an informative discussion on the following topic presented by David Powe. 

John Batiste (retired Major General, US Army, and Partner at Batiste Leadership) has identified creating a learning organization as a key success factor for leaders. At our EHC Lunch and Learn on May 19th, we will explore the attributes of a learning organization and discuss the tools and techniques used to make it happen. There will be a particular emphasis on how we can create learning organizations when the people in the organization are NOT our employees

RPCN’s Enhancing Human Capital Lunch-n-Learns are held via Zoom on the third Thursday of every month beginning at 11. Please join us for the next installment on May 19, 2022. Our program starts and 11:30 a.m. and runs until 1:00 p.m. To get more information about EHC, please contact the EHC team.

        RPCN Video

Watch the introductory video here.

Upcoming RPCN Events

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

Technical Forum
Friday, May 6, 2022
8:00 - 9:30 a.m. 

A Simple Framework for Strategic Marketing Planning
Presented by Kristi Mitchell
Friday, May 13, 2022
8:00 - 9:30 a.m.

Business Forum
Friday, May 20, 2022
8:00 - 9:30 a.m. 

RPCN Board Meeting
Everyone is welcome to attend.
Friday, May 20, 2022
10:00 - 11:30 a.m. 

Enhancing Human Capital Lunch N' Learn: Building a Learning Organization
Thursday, May 19, 2022
11:30 a.m. - 1:00 p.m.

Differentiate or Lose the Race (Stand out or lose out)
Presented by Bob Lurz
Friday, May 27, 2022
8:00 - 9:30 a.m.

From the Librarian,
Ruth Balkin

In recognition of Library Month: From KnowItAALL 4/13/2022

Books For All: The New York Public Library Partners with Publishers to Provide Unlimited Access to a Selection of Commonly Banned Books
New York Public Library / 4.13.2022
Introduction: The New York Public Library has partnered with publishers Hachette Book Group, Macmillan Publishers, and Scholastic, to offer a selection of commonly banned books to anyone in the country via its free e-reading app SimplyE. The e-books will be available through the end of May with no waits and no fines as part of the Library’s “Books For All” program. This program is a statement against the recent rash of attempted or completed book bannings that are plaguing the nation’s schools and public libraries. “Books for All” also underscores the importance of open and free access to knowledge, information, and all perspectives - one of the key missions of public libraries since their inception, and a principle at the foundation of the country’s democracy of informed citizens.

Did you know that as a resident of New York State you can access the NY Public Library online?

13 Essential Excel Functions for Data Entry
How-to-Geek / 4.19.2022
: Entering data in your spreadsheet is the basic principle behind using Excel. From adding the current date and time to looking up values to changing the letter case of your text, some functions can help you tremendously with data entry.

Web Scraping Is Legal, US Appeals Court Reaffirms
TechCrunch / 4.18.2022
: Good news for archivists, academics, researchers, and journalists: Scraping publicly accessible data is legal, according to a U.S. appeals court ruling. The landmark ruling by the U.S. Ninth Circuit of Appeals is the latest in a long-running legal battle brought by LinkedIn aimed at stopping a rival company from web scraping personal information from users’ pub back to the Ninth Circuit for the original appeals court to re-review the case.

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

Program Ad Sheets

At every RPCN meeting, and at our events and tradeshow booths, RPCN distributes the Program Ad sheets.

Ads are inexpensive and support RPCN. The cost for members to advertise is $20 for 2 months. For non-members, the cost is $40 for 2 months. The deadline to get your ad included in the July/August 2022 calendar ad sheet is June 22, 2022. Send questions and ad copy to Mary Sperr.

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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