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December 2015

December 2015

RPCN’s role in fueling the Rochester “business ecosystem”  

By David Powe, RPCN President

James F. Moore defines a business ecosystem as:
“An economic community supported by a foundation of interacting organizations and individuals—the organisms of the business world.”

Here in the Rochester/Finger Lakes region, we certainly are seeing a lot of public and private engagement in revving up our business ecosystem. The recent announcement of the Institute for Innovation in Integrated Photonics headlines the way the region is building momentum toward unprecedented economic development.

Can RPCN be a serious contributor to this growth in our business ecosystem? I say “Why not?” We are an organization of nearly 100 talented and innovative entrepreneurs. Collectively, we have a wealth of the kind of experience, expertise and ingenuity that our region will rely on to fuel this growth.

As we wind down our 25th-anniversary year, I have proposed to the board that we make our participation in the regional business ecosystem our theme for 2016. We want to establish the RPCN brand as a resource for the mosaic of agencies and organizations that are driving the development of the business ecosystem. Recently, we have held introductory meetings with some of the key players – the Rochester Business Alliance, High Tech Rochester, Empire State Development and RIT Center for Urban Entrepreneurship, to name a few. We are also planning a TrendTalk event focusing on economic development. I am convinced that raising the profile of RPCN and its members within the business ecosystem will make us a stronger organization.

We are just getting started with developing this theme, so I invite you to get involved by discussing your ideas with board members, helping us network with key players, and participating in the programs and events we plan around this theme. Please contact me or one of our officers if you have an interest in volunteering your time and energy.

We are a strong and talented organization. By working together, we can establish RPCN as a premier resource for our area’s thriving business ecosystem.

2016 RPCN Consulting Business Boot Camp offers unique learning opportunity

By Bob Lurz

The 2016 RPCN Consulting Business Boot Camp is coming: Tuesdays from February 2–March 1. It’s time to register and start up (or refresh) your consulting practice. Here are two unique Boot Camp experiences that can help you acquire clients faster and avoid the pitfalls of a “build it and they will come” approach. These methods also work for entrepreneurs who are not consultants.

Interviewing prospective clients (client discovery process)
The Boot Camp helps you learn your clients’ needs and how to match your consulting service to those needs. You can waste lots of time and effort if you establish a practice based only on your assumptions of the value you can provide, even if you’ve done good market research. Client discovery interviews help you confirm or debunk your assumptions. In the Boot Camp, you learn how to design and ask questions to ferret out the real client problems. You conduct actual interviews for homework and report your results back to your fellow Boot Camp participants. You might find that you need to modify your service offering or you could uncover a hidden opportunity.

Presenting your value proposition
Imagine presenting your consulting proposal to a potential client so that they get a clear idea of the value you can provide. In the Boot Camp, you build your own client scenario describing what you plan to do to help the client, the results you can achieve and why you are qualified to do it. You will have 10 minutes to present this scenario to two business-savvy evaluators who give you immediate oral feedback on how well you’ve accomplished your objectives, along with written feedback from them and your fellow Boot Camp participants.   

Learn more and register now on the RPCN website and kick your consulting career into high gear. You can also view a list of topics and presenters and download a flyer with more information. Questions? Contact Bob Lurz, RPCN Consulting Boot Camp Leader, at or 585-544-2387. 

RPCN Wall of Fame: Nominations being accepted now

By Michael Van der Gaag

As a result of the success of our 25th-year celebration, we have decided to hold the “Wall of Fame” Awards Gala as a regular event in honor of all the influencers who have contributed so much to our organization and to our members’ growth.

This year, the event will take place on Tuesday, April 19, 2016, at the Hilton DoubleTree Hotel, 1111 Jefferson Road. If you have one or more favorite influencers (an author, another consultant, an entrepreneur, or anyone you think has contributed to your growth or the development of RPCN or the Rochester area), this is YOUR opportunity to influence who we will recognize at our annual Awards Gala.
You do not have to be an RPCN member to nominate someone. Just tell a good story about why those you nominate deserve to be recognized. Feel free to provide supporting documentation. You can nominate more than one person in one or more of the categories. Just fill out a separate form for each nominee.
For 2016, we have identified five categories:

  • Consultant’s Consultant
  • Community Champion
  • Entrepreneur of the Year
  • Dave Young Award
  • Linda Halliburton Award

To learn more about the qualifications for each category and for access to a ballot, follow this link to the RPCN Wall of Fame.

Of interest

“Turning the Battleship” Leadership Workshop
Maj. Gen. Robert Mixon and Maj. Gen. John Batiste of Level Five Associates LLC present this workshop with co-sponsor Nazareth College School of Management. The workshop is designed to enhance your organization’s leadership style and company culture. Learn from highly experienced leaders with a history of building high-performing organizations. Engage your entire leadership team in focused and collaborative leadership learning. Get targeted learning and tactics about Level Five’s “Big 6” Leadership Principles™ that can immediately enhance your team’s leadership style. Wednesday, December 2; 7:30 AM - 12:30 PM; Otto Shults Community Center, Nazareth College. More info. View workshop flyer.

August Group Career Fair
The August Group (TAG), in partnership with MCC's Office of Workforce Development, invites business, technical and professional job seekers and career changers to their Career Fair & Networking Event. RPCN will have a booth. Thursday, December 3; 1:00 PM - 5:00 PM; Monroe Community College, 1000 East Henrietta Road, Rochester. More info.




In this issue:

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 email 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:
Janice Hanson, Chair
Barbara Moore
Ruth E. Thaler-Carter
Steve Royal
Sheryl Rhodes

Please send articles for the January newsletter by December 15.

Upcoming events

Please note that RPCN’s second and fourth Friday meetings will be at NeighborWorks through December.

Technical Forum
Facilitated by Steve Royal
Friday, December 4, 2015
8:00 AM - 9:30 AM
Pittsford Community Library

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 recent forums.

RPCN Holiday Party
Thursday, December 10, 2015
6:00 PM - 9:30 PM
Bistro at the Towpath Café, 6 N. Main Street, Fairport, NY

Bring your spouse, friend or colleague and join your RPCN peers for some holiday cheer! You can also learn about the exciting and educational events RPCN has planned for 2016. Tickets are $20 for members and $30 for guests. Tickets can be purchased through the RPCN website, where you can also see the full dinner menu for the event.
RSVP by Friday, December 4. Click here to view a flyer.

So Ya Wanna Consult
Presented by Janet Nelson
Friday, December 11, 2015
8:00 AM - 9:30 AM
NeighborWorks, 570 South Avenue, Rochester, NY
This informative and interactive presentation covers what it takes to start (or sustain) a consulting business, including the types of consulting, startup “gotta haves,” and some of the pros and cons of consulting versus other forms of similar types of work. Nelson has successfully run her consulting business since 2004, and has also enjoyed being a sounding board for a number of individuals seeking to begin their businesses. Here is a short video in which she describes her presentation.

Business Forum
Facilitated by Bob Lurz
Friday, December 18, 2015

8:00 AM - 9:30 AM
Pittsford Community Library 

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.

RPCN Board Meeting
December 18, 2015
10:00 AM - 12:00 PM
Pittsford Community Library

RPCN’s monthly board meeting begins at approximately 10:00 AM, after the Business Forum. Everyone is welcome to attend, but only board members may vote.

No Meeting
Friday, December 25, 2015

There will be no RPCN meeting today because of the holiday.

Making your business better

RPCN member Bob Lurz wrote about the customer-driven business world in his Democrat and Chronicle Nextpert article “Learn More About 2016 Consulting Business Boot Camp.”

On November 15, Beth Sears was featured with her column on “Customer Service Is Key to Your Bottom Line.”

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