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A monthly newsletter from the Rochester Professional Consultants Network.

Look “Behind the Scenes” of Your Business (A Planning “Twist” for the New Year)

A Planning “Twist”

Yes, it’s time to update our plans for 2022. Let’s take this opportunity to take a closer look at some of the “hidden” elements that form the foundation of our consulting business. We can do this along with revisiting our plans to:

  • Refine our service, our clients, and our value to clients.
  • Decide how to best market ourselves, turn leads into clients, and make a profit.
  • Update our strategy. Set goals and action plans to make it all happen.

Behind these plans are elements of our business that we might not visit very often. So, let’s put a new “twist” in our planning process and ask ourselves “Behind the Scenes” questions. Here are some to consider.

“Behind the Scenes” of Your Business (Do any of these need your attention?)

  • My Key People: (Who helps me? Who do I depend on? Who’s on my team?)
    “Solo” entrepreneur doesn’t mean “alone”. We need others to energize our enterprise. Examples: Key business contacts that provide projects, referrals, leads, and access to target companies. People and organizations that offer us learning, advice, and relief from the isolation of a one-person business. Professional help (Lawyers, accountants, et. al.). Family and friends. Trusted confidants that serve as sounding boards.
  • Personal “Consulting Resources”: (Expertise, skills & abilities that enable the services I provide for my clients’ benefit)
    We all bring a unique combination of “technical” skills in our field to work on a client’s issues. Our complementary, “softer” skills enable the “technical” ones.
    Examples: Interviewing, active listening, mentoring, facilitating, writing.
  • Personal “Entrepreneurial Resources”: (Expertise, skills & abilities that I draw upon for my business benefit)
    We need supporting skills and processes for a successful business.
    Examples: Client focus. Strategic & Action Planning. Closing a sale. Performing well under pressure. Following up.
  • Personal Costs: (Non-monetary costs to be a solo entrepreneur)
    We all pay a personal price for being in business (Our benefits should outweigh the price).  Examples: Too much on our plate (deadlines, lack of bandwidth). Business time demands vs. personal life. Emotional pressure (surly, demanding clients). Lonely at the “top”.
  • Personal Benefits: (What I gain from being a solo consultant)
    It’s not just the money and fame that inspire, motivate, and excite us.
    Examples: Freedom to balance business and personal life. Being our own boss. Freedom of action. Helping others achieve. Self-fulfillment (achieving our hopes and ambitions). Self-actualization (being all we can be). Feeling of accomplishment.

Okay, now look “Behind the Scenes” of your business to see if you need a “tune-up” for 2022.

Have a Happy, Successful New Year!

Bob Lurz


Update Your Zoom Software!

If you are like most people, Zoom meetings are still a BIG part of your personal and professional life. We all want to get together more in person, and we all need to continue with the many benefits of virtual get-togethers.

Be sure you update your Zoom software regularly, especially right now. A lot of cool and valuable new features were recently introduced that will improve your Zoom experience and capabilities.

Automatic Updates: The latest release of Zoom Meetings Client includes an option for you to get Zoom updates automatically. You have two options, Slow and Fast. Fast means you’ll always get the latest release installed as soon as it is available. Slow (the default) will update your software less frequently. Either way, if an important security-related update is released, you’ll get that right away for both options.

Enhanced Polling: If you love interactive meetings, you know that Zoom Polls can add a fun, easy interactive mood to any meeting. With the latest Zoom software, polls can be created with a fill-in-the-blank response in addition to the choose-one and choose-multiple fixed responses. What? You aren’t the one creating the polls? Well, you can’t participate in the newer style polls unless your software is updated!

Enhanced Slide Controls: Relatively few meetings use this excellent feature, but any Zoom meeting where a presentation using slides (PowerPoint, etc.) is being shared can benefit from one person controlling the slides (forward, backward) while another person is sharing the slides from their computer. The slide controls have been enhanced for this functionality.

These are the new features most people will find valuable, and you can see all of the changes by visiting the Zoom Release Notes web page.

How do you update your Zoom software on your computer? The easiest way to do it is to download and install the latest version by going to https://zoom.us/download#client_4meeting and running the downloaded installer. Android and iPhone users can get the latest version from Google Play Store or the App Store, respectively, You can also contact David FingerComputerGardener@gmail.com if you have any questions.


Update on RPCN’s 8th Semester Providing Mentors for Simon Vision Consulting Program’s Student Consulting Teams

We recently completed the eighth semester of RPCN  providing mentors to the University of Rochester’s Simon School of Business (Simon) “Simon Vision Consulting Program” (Simon Vision).

As COVID and COVID restrictions went through a bit of a wane this past semester, Simon Vision was able to get back to a full client load and 13 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 interactions remained virtual for a couple of mentors and project teams due to logistics.  (It’s tough to meet in person with a mentor who is on the other side of the country!)

In case 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 are a couple of faculty advisers who help the students run the program.

We’re looking for additional people who are 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 are 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 student consultants and a project manager. Ideally, projects in the spring semester last about 10 weeks, longer projects may also be viable. Projects are vetted by the Simon Vision student governing board and 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 more client projects are typically accepted.  (For most spring semesters there are only about eight projects selected but about 15 projects are taken on in the fall.)

The project can involve almost any business problem and Simon Vision teams have successfully completed projects focused on marketing, business strategy, financial planning, operations, competitive analysis, and the like. Other 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. We expect that the student-consultants and their mentor will begin work in mid-January.

And did we mention that the student teams work for FREE!

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

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 dbassett@basstat.com.  You will also be able to find out more about the program at our January 14th Friday morning “Learn From the Best” seminar when Laura Wobeto, the President of Simon Vision, will give an overview of the program and some of the successful projects that have been completed; how the RPCN mentors help the student teams.

Dave Bassett


Member News

Happy 2022 Everyone! (picture)

Wishing everyone a healthy and prosperous New Year!

We all get a new start to set goals and reflect on what we could have done better last year. Each of us has our own special process that we use for business, personal, spiritual, and health. It is very important to have these goals written down and to revisit them many times during the year to track our progress. We have a member who is an expert in this arena. His name is Mr. Bob Whipple.

I would like to share some great news about my working journey. As you all know, I have been helping many people with their financial investment portfolios, planning for and getting into retirement successfully, bringing peace of mind to families and businesses with life insurance planning. Special thanks to RPCN and its members for all the referrals and personal introductions I have received throughout my eight years.

In 2022 and beyond I will be adding even more services to my current business! I will now be also helping folks with their home, business, and auto coverages.

Wishing everyone a joyful and prosperous New Year.

Christine “Tina” Rohring


Upcoming RPCN Events

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

Technical Forum
Friday, January 7, 2022
8:00 - 9:30 a.m. 

Game Plan for RPCN Growth!
Friday, January 7, 2022
10:00 - 11:30 a.m. 

The Practical Workshop Series - Your Data at Risk
Tuesday, January 11, 2022
3:00 - 5:00 p.m. 

Simon Vision Consulting: "A Mentoring Opportunity"
Presented by Laura Wobeto
Friday, January 14, 2022
8:00 - 9:30 a.m.

Enhancing Human Capital Lunch N' Learn: Employee Engagement Post-COVID
Thursday, January 20, 2022
11:30 a.m. - 1:00 p.m.

Business Forum
Friday, January 21, 2022
8:00 - 9:30 a.m. 

RPCN Board Meeting
Everyone is welcome to attend.
Friday, January 21, 2022
10:00 - 11:30 a.m. 

Income Tax Outlook 2021-2022
Presented by Rich Newman
Friday, January 28, 2022
8:00 - 9:30 a.m.

Request from the Editors

When submitting material to be included in the RPCN newsletter, please:
1. Send the submission TO newsletter@rochesterconsultants.org 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.)


Did You Know? Forms for Scheduling an Event

So, you need to reserve a spot on the RPCN calendar…

Let’s say that you have a great idea that you think would be of benefit to consultants such as yourself. You have put together a program and would like to present it at an RPCN meeting. Super! But, exactly how do you make that happen?

It turns out that it is not difficult to get things underway. Just use the RPCN website.

First, bring up our Home Page. Across the top is a series of menu items. One of them is Events. Hover over it with your cursor. You will see several items on the sub-menu. The third one down is Forms for Scheduling an Event. Click on it. Then look at the request.

RPCN has two forms for scheduling events. Click on the link to fill out the appropriate form:

You will need to fill out the form appropriate for your intended meeting.  The choice is easy. If you have a presentation to be given as a regular Friday morning from 8:00 a.m. to 9:30 a.m., choose the Program Information Form.

If you are scheduling any meeting other than this, use the Event Planning Form.

Before you start, you will want to read the Speaker Guidelines to find out what to do, what is expected, etc.

The forms are easy to complete. Just follow the instructions and fill out all fields that are appropriate for your intended meeting. Go ahead and leave a field blank if it doesn’t fit.

It matters that you fill out the proper form. For one thing, the correct form will make more sense to you as you fill it out for your intended meeting. Also, it makes the actual scheduling of your meeting much easier for our Program Manager, Michael van der Gaag.

Have fun scheduling your meeting!

Steve Royal


From the Librarian,
Ruth Balkin

More Goodies from KnowItAALL

The Open Access Books Collection: Expanding Access and Building Connections
Library of Congress: The Signal / 12.16.2021
Introduction: In March 2020, we first shared about the growing collection of open access e-books available on loc.gov. A lot has changed since then but, in particular, the Open Access Books Collection was created. This newly created collection brings together all known open access e-books available on loc.gov, the number of which has grown significantly from about 300 titles to over 3,200.

Translating with Google Sheets
Data Science Central / 11.3.2021
Introduction: Google Translate is an amazing feat of engineering, which uses artificial intelligence to translate speech and text from a chosen language into another. In most cases, Google Translate’s own interface embedded in Google Search or on translate.google.com suffices to get some ad-hoc thing translated quickly. But in some cases, you want something more powerful and scalable to be able to translate in bulk. For coders, there’s the Translation API for instance. But what if you’re less technical, and still want to use Google Translate in a structured, more scalable environment?

As many of you know, I also teach French. This caught my eye because years ago I wrote an article about a translating program..  So I just read this article and can’t understand a word of it.  When I get a chance, I will run my article through Google Translate to see what happens!

And  now for something a little fun:

What Is Festivus, and How Do You Celebrate the Seinfeld Holiday?
How-To Geek / 12.17.2021
Introduction: For some, the most important holiday in December falls on the 23rd. That’s the day to celebrate Festivus, the made-up holiday from an episode of Seinfeld, which has since taken on a life of its own.

And to our editors, this one is for you:

How To Use a Comma
Swiss Miss / 12.15.2021
Summary: I needed this humorous and visual comma rules refresher.


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.


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 March/April 2022 calendar ad sheet is February 15, 2021. 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 newsletter@rochesterconsultants.org 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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