It is a great day to rock and roll! THANK YOU for being a part of RPCN. Our organization is nothing without our members, and I appreciate every one of you.
September is here – can you believe it? I can’t. It’s all back to school for all of us; and of course, our children or grandchildren.
I say it’s “Back to School” for all of us because we should never stop learning. If we stop learning, we stop growing. Let’s not stop growing. September is a big month for that – learning and growing.
Learn with RPCN: Join us for our Technical Forum at the Irondequoit Library from 9 – 10:30 AM on September 6. Get the wisdom of the crowd advice on any tech issue you have. From looking for an app to do something to how to best use technology at all. Also in September are our ongoing Enhancing Human Capital Series and our Business Forum – and this month, we have a LUNCH Business Forum on Friday, September 20 at the Browncroft Family Restaurant.
The big news for RPCN is that the Fairport Chamber of Commerce has chosen RPCN and their “Business of the Month” for the month of September. Join us at Solstice Senior Living on Ayrault Road at 8 AM on September 18 and let’s show the Chamber members who and what RPCN is.
Save the Date: October 23. This is RPCN’s 30th Anniversary Party to be held at Glendoveers on Old Browncroft Boulevard from 6 PM – 9 PM with a Casino Night hosted by Upstate Vegas Events. Come out and have some fun with us and help us celebrate 30 years of success in the Rochester Community.
SCORE: If you are wanting to learn how to start up or how to move forward in business, SCORE Greater Rochester has some workshops for you: “Start Your Small Business,” a 5 week Series on all the fundamentals of starting up a business. SCORE is holding the workshops at various locations around Monroe County and the vicinity: Rush-Henrietta High School, Macedon Public Library, FLCC – Victor Campus and Canandaigua. Information about the program and registration is on their website at greaterrochester.score.org.
Greater Rochester SCORE is also hosting an all-day workshop on Accounting and Bookkeeping on September 25 at Five Star Community. Lisa Pelletier, a SCORE Mentor, will facilitate. Registration and info are on the website: greaterrochester.score.org.
What did you learn this month? How are you implementing it? How can RPCN help you? Share with us on Social Media or connect with me and let me know.
I have learned that there is nothing more powerful than a tribe of like-minded individuals who have your back and call you on your nonsense, keeping you accountable and helping you to reach your goals. I have that tribe here at RPCN – how about you?
Connect with me online: I’m on Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter. Send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org or book some time with me on my calendar for coffee – I’d love to get to know you. If I can help you, please let me know.
Save the Date for RPCN’s Casino Night on October 23
RPCN is planning a fun night of gaming, prizes, and networking at our Casino Night on Wednesday, October 23, 2019, from 6-9 p.m. at Glendoveers, 2328 Old Browncroft Blvd.
Tickets will be $35 for members and $50 for non-members. Sponsorships are available too. Since October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month, a portion of the proceeds from this event will go to Breast Cancer Coalition.
The Top 10 Blocks to Marketing Yourself, and How to Overcome Them
Many people who are great salespeople for some specific thing find it difficult to sell a service that they personally provide. Selling oneself feels somehow different. Here are some of the blocks that prevent people from selling their own service, and some ways to overcome them.
1. How you see yourself. If we are to sell our services we must know that we can do whatever we offer, and do it well. If a history of being put down, of accepting treatment as "less than," has affected your self-confidence, try listing everything you have achieved in the past (even the award for good handwriting that you got in 3rd grade) and re-reading the list on a regular basis. You may wish to assemble a three-ring binder, or a display, containing certificates, letters of appreciation, news clips, etc. as a reminder that you ARE okay! If you have no concrete reminder of some triumphs, try writing a banner headline, as though for a newspaper, about each achievement.
2. How you think others see you - or don't. There is a difference between knowing what we can do, and knowing that others know it. Believing that others do not perceive us as competent can be a major block. Consider turning to your more positive (but honest) friends, and perhaps a coach, for constructive feedback. Read the achievement and motivational literature that reminds us of life turn-arounds, of so-called losers becoming winners because they persisted. Consider joining organizations such as Toastmasters where you will receive regular feedback on how you are perceived, and how you can improve your self-presentation skills.
3. The belief that speaking up for oneself is not appropriate. When little Susie jumps up and down with pride because she did well at school he may be accused of being conceited. Parents may remember that 'pride goeth before a fall,' try to warn their children against it, and so squelch self-confidence. These messages make us fear to sing our own praises. Try describing your attributes in the third person, as though you are writing or speaking of a good friend. The words will come more easily and can then be transformed into the first person... and guess what... you are describing YOU! And you are terrific!
4. The belief that networking involves distastefully using people. The old 'what can you do for me' picture of networking is out of date. Today most people know that modern networking is reciprocal. You do not network to see what other people can do for you, but to discover what you can do for them, and to build bridges so that they are aware of what services you offer. Perhaps this works more slowly than the older version, but it presents more long-term benefits.
5. The belief that we need to give to our community, and that charging a fee is not okay. Just how much could you give to your community if you were unable to feed yourself or put a roof over your head? Some people have an ethic that says that it is acceptable to be paid for our time and effort if we are working for someone else, but not if we are working for ourselves and offering our personal services for a fee. This is not logical. If the real difficulty is in believing that you are worth the fee, see #1 above.
6. Thinking that to be successful in marketing we have to be the stereotypically pushy salesperson. Quite simply, you don't. We tend to remember examples that match our stereotypes, so the pushy sales folk stay in our minds. Start consciously studying the behavior of the many salespeople you encounter. The best salespeople seek to know how they can serve you but do not try to rush the sale. Sales are made by building relationships, not by aggressively forcing yourself or your service onto people.
7. Having a dislike of competition. It is easy to believe that in order to sell your services you have to 'win' over everyone else who is selling a similar service. To some extent this may be true - but why should you not be the winner? Also, because both you and your prospective customers are individuals, it is quite likely that the service you offer is NOT exactly the same as that of your so-called competitors. Therefore, you are not really competing. Perhaps you are selling apples and your competitor is selling pears. Not only are you not competing, but you may be able to build a synergy between you... you can refer people who are looking for pears, and vice versa.
8. Fear of rejection. No one likes to be rejected. However, you are NOT the service you offer. When someone does not want to buy from you, this means that today they do not need the service you offer, or that they cannot see the match between their needs and your service. It does not mean that they are rejecting you personally. If out of fear of rejection, you avoid offering your service, not only are you failing yourself, but you are withholding your service from someone who might in fact need it very much. You are preventing them from making a choice - to buy or not buy - by making the decision for them that they do not want it. How would you feel if someone did that to you?
9. Lack of self-discipline around time. When you work for someone else, the structure of your time is often imposed upon you. When you work for yourself, setting boundaries around how you spend your time may be one of the most serious obstacles you face. There are many excellent goal setting and time management systems. You may find a coach helpful. Time management is only a problem if you allow it to be - the fact is that you have just as much time available to you - 24 hours a day - like everyone else. How you decide to spend it is up to you.
10. Inability to perceive, or to convey, how your service is needed. Your service is what you do that others need. The marketing gap is not what you do, but how what you do will help your prospective customer. Too frequently in sales, the focus is on all the bells and whistles that you provide, without clarification as to how the customer will benefit from them. Focus more on the benefits to your customer and less on the features of your service, proud as you may be of them.
RPCN Looking for Mentors to Help Simon School with Simon Vision Consulting Program
Due to the success of prior Simon Vision Consulting programs, the University of Rochester’s Simon School of Business (Simon) and RPCN plan to continue the program this fall and we are looking for ROCN mentors to volunteer to help the student teams.
I have written of this ongoing program before, but to update you, RPCN has been supplying mentors to Simon Vision Consulting teams at the University of Rochester’s Simon School of Business (Simon) for the past 3 semesters. This 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.
In the Spring 2019 semester, RPCN supplied mentors to eight student teams, helping the teams to stay focused and complete their project goals. Mentors helped teams serve companies in a wide range of specialties including Food and Beverage Services, Personal Care, Health Care, Marketing and Branding, and Real Estate Management.
What is needed
For the Fall program, we are anticipating that 12 - 15 student teams will need mentors to help with projects primarily in marketing, general management (financial/accounting planning, etc.) or possibly operations management. We are therefore looking for up to 20 RPCN members who would be available to meet with students biweekly over the 8- to 12-week project term. (There may also be other areas of expertise that the teams need such as the targeting of specific markets, or some forms of technical specialty.)
As for the timeframe, we are anticipating the program will begin at the end of September and the projects would begin soon thereafter with an end of November target for project completion. Last semester the project managers met with their teams for about an hour 2-5 times; ideally, we anticipate those project managers would meet with their teams 3-6 times (most likely 4-5 times) this semester so the time commitment on the part of project managers should only be about 10-20 hours over the course of the semester.
Simon’s motto is “where thinkers become leaders!” Please let us know If you have any interest in helping these teams fulfill that motto this year if you also have experience in marketing, general management, operations, or even consulting in general. (After all, we are the Rochester Professional Consultants Network, so you should be good there!) We will be delighted to add you to the mentorship roster.
More information will be coming in a couple of weeks, but please start thinking about this opportunity to make very positive use of your knowledge and skills to develop the next generation of business leaders.
In the meantime, to get more information about the project or to volunteer to be a mentor, please contact Dave Bassett at email@example.com.
Solopreneur Tips: Ways to Grow a One-person Business
Solopreneurs encounter many of the same challenges that other business owners face—and some unique ones, as well. Tasked with single-handedly managing all aspects of their businesses—sales, marketing, production, office management, accounting, etc.—they can quickly become overworked and overwhelmed. They may also find it difficult to grow their businesses as they deal with competing priorities and not enough hours in the day.
Fortunately, with the dedication to working smarter not harder, solopreneurs can gain the capacity to devote more time and energy to revenue-growth. If you’re starting or running a one-person company, consider the following suggestions:
Tips for Growing a Solo-Business Here are five ways you can empower yourself to have the time and focus to grow your business.
1. Get organized. Use technology tools to help you keep track of to-dos, deadlines, and important information. For example, block out time on your calendar for all the projects and tasks you need to accomplish.
Also, use platforms like Evernote or Dropbox to save and organize the information you’ll need to reference later. For keeping projects on track, cloud-based software services like Trello provide collaborative features that streamline communication with project partners and maintain all project information in a central place.
2. Boost efficiency and productivity. Figure out the times of the day when you’re at your peak performance and schedule your work for clients during those timeframes. This will help ensure you’re putting your best foot forward on the tasks that matter most. Also, consider using platforms and features that allow you to automate certain aspects of your business. For example, you can streamline social media efforts by composing and scheduling posts with Hootsuite or Buffer. And if you have clients that you bill the same amount to at regular intervals, you can save time by scheduling recurring invoices in QuickBooks. Don't sell yourself short. If you bill hourly for your services, use a time-tracking app (like Toggl or Hours) that you can turn on and off easily whenever dedicating time to a client. This will help ensure you're not missing out on billing for 5 minutes here and 10 minutes there—those short increments can add up!
3. Don’t sell yourself short. Also, review your rates to make sure you're getting paid fairly for your services. Often, startup solopreneurs will charge a little less to ramp up their client base. If this is the case with you, you may want to revisit your rate schedule and adjust it upward as demand for your services increases and you build a reputation of dependability and value.
4. Outsource tasks. Just because you don't want to hire employees doesn't mean you can't get help with different aspects of your business. To give yourself more time to work on revenue-generating activities, consider outsourcing tasks that you either...a. isn’t adept at, or b. dislike...to freelancers and independent contractors. Some activities you might consider outsourcing include bookkeeping, writing blog posts, and researching (competition, industry, etc.).
5. Ask for guidance from a SCORE mentor. Mentoring is free of charge and SCORE volunteers have expertise in all aspects of starting and growing a small business. They can provide you with guidance on how to scale your one-person operation. Just because you're a "solo"-preneur, doesn't mean you have to go it alone! Contact SCORE to request a mentor and get the insight and feedback you need to grow your business.
Since 1964, SCORE “Mentors to America’s Small Business” has helped more than 10 million aspiring entrepreneurs and small business owners through mentoring and business workshops. More than 11,000 volunteer business mentors in over 320 chapters serve their communities through entrepreneur education dedicated to the formation, growth, and success of small businesses. For more information about starting or operating a small business, call SCORE Greater Rochester at 585-263-6473.
Have You Heard an Inspiring Speaker?
Since 2013 RPCN has been on a quest to “Learn from the Best”. We have brought in speakers who have made their mark in various aspects of business. We find many presenters through networking and at conferences, workshops, trade shows, universities, and professional organizations. Through these resources, we have engaged some very stimulating, insightful and inspiring speakers. Members have suggested a topic of interest or a speaker that turned out to be a real inspiration. Presenters have mentioned that speaking at RPCN is so interactive, they actually learned from the group.
In the recent few years, we have had some marvelous presenters on a variety of topical areas.
Business – of– Business
Marketing & Sales
Computer & Software Skills
We have been inviting members to participate more broadly in the programs.
Have you identified a topic that we seem to have missed in our offerings?
Have you been to a presentation or a conference where a presenter did such a good job, that you believe RPCN should hear him or her?
Have you been so inspired by a topic but you thought you could better?
Would you like to cover a topic of your own?
If you answered yes to any of these questions, as a member, RPCN may be the place to make your suggestion, recommend a speaker or a topic, or try out your material to hone your speaking skills.
We’ll even give you feedback as you compose your presentation, slides, and speech.
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.
RPCN Members’ Literature Table
Attention, RPCN members! We’re bringing back the RPCN Members’ Literature Table at our Friday meetings. Members are encouraged to bring on type of literature (brochure, rack card, flyer) to share on the table. Multiple pieces of literature are not allowed so that there is room for everyone to share their information.
If you are hosting an event, speaking, or involved in an event, use this space to share printed information.
This is a Member Benefit so take advantage of letting other attendees learn more about you and your business!
Lawrence Berger: "Hello RPCN! I did a podcast interview with Johnny Bluestar of Threshold radio. The promo they did for the show Is my new "sizzle reel" video and there is a link to the actual interview in the video. Click here to see the video. Have a great day!"
Have you ever wondered what that Scrum-thing Chris Frayda has been talking about for the past year? Come and learn by playing Scrumchkin, a card game designed to teach Scrum with the local Agile project management community (RocAgile) at the new Henrietta Public Library Community Room on Tuesday, September 3rd, 6-8 PM. Please RSVP by clicking here. Hope to see you soon!
News from the Enhancing Human Capital team:
In July, the Enhancing Human Capital team presented a workshop on Building Trust in Your Value Chain. The discussion focused on managing relationships with those who are essential to the success of your business but are beyond your direct control. This includes customers, suppliers, subcontractors, consultants, and external professional services. Communication among all of these throughout the value chain is key to maintaining trust and ensuring positive outcomes.
Virginia Satir’s Change Model
September 18th, 2019
11:30 a.m. - 1 p.m.
Change is an essential activity of successful businesses, teams, and consultants. Understanding the basic stages of change can help to make change less painful and more productive. In this session, we will explore Virginia Satir’s Change Model, a psychological model that was developed through clinical studies. This model focuses not just on systems of people but also on the individuals within them.
This session continues the “Lunch and Learn” series in which we continue to explore Dr. Floyd Tucker's "Enhancing Human Capital" program. The series is designed to help businesses develop healthy organizations and happy employees.
New in the RPCN library:
Brown, Brené. Dare to Lead: Brave work, tough conversations, whole hearts. Donated by Diana Robinson. Published 2018 by Random House.
“Whether you’re leading a movement or a start-up, if you’re trying to change an organizational culture or the world, Dare to Lead will challenge everything you think you know about brave leadership and give you honest, straightforward, actionable tools for choosing courage over comfort.” —Tarana Burke, Senior Director, Girls for Gender Equity founder, the Me Too movement.
“…You don’t achieve good culture without constant attention, without an environment of safety, courage, and vulnerability. These are hard skills, but they are teachable skills. Start with this book.” —Ed Catmull, president, Pixar, and Walt Disney Animation Studios.
Quotes from the back of the book cover.
Bateman, Kody. The Power of human connection – how relationship marketing is transforming the way people succeed. Published 2018 by Eagle One. Donated by Theresa Oschmann.
“When most people see the term relationship marketing, they tend to focus more on the second word than on the first. They want to know how they can market to get more business. But increasingly, the business world is beginning to realize the keys to building business are creating genuine relationships, appreciating your customers and clients, and networking to give. Since 2004, Kody Bateman’s relationship marketing systems have bridged the gap between high-tech and personal touch to bring massive business growth to the people who implement them. The key is to focus on relationship 80 percent of the time and marketing 20 percent of the time. Kody highlights many success stories from people across a wide range of business niches who have implemented his relationship marketing principles with tremendous success.” —Provided by publisher
Based on a recent presentation by Mary Ellen Bates. Given online by the Association of Independent Information Professionals. This can apply to any consultant.
Consulting is what people do when they’re between jobs.
I know what my clients need. (No. What do they value and will pay you well for? You need a reality check. Have conversations with them) See: tiny.cc/reality-check
I can bill 40 hours a week. (No. At least half your time will be spent on marketing, administration, and professional development) See: tiny.cc/400-hours (Amount of time before you can expect a paying client)
Mary Ellen Bates is a fellow member of AIIP and is the owner of Bates Information Services, Inc., a consulting company based near Boulder, Colorado. She offers strategic business research for business decision-makers and coaching services for solopreneurs.
Are you a “fan” of RPCN? If there were such a thing as an RPCN tailgate party, would you attend? If you did attend, would it seem appropriate to come wearing an RPCN cap? How about an RPCN shirt, or, if you’re the cook, an RPCN apron? You might even bring a drink in an RPCN travel mug and pour it into an RPCN drinking glass or RPCN ceramic mug.
The possibilities are endless. You really have to view our online store for yourself. On the Home Page of our website (rochesterconsultants.org), click on “Store.” Buy something that you will like, and feel a little closer to RPCN.
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 November/December 2019 calendar ad sheet is October 18, 2019. Sign up for your ad here.
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.
A note from our copyeditor:
Good day, RPCN members:
As you know, I “pre-edit” the RPCN before sending it on to Melanie, who puts the newsletter together. This note is just to help us keep things in order because the system sometimes becomes rather more complicated than it sounds here.
In order to help me to retain my sanity, and to avoid my stretching Melanie’s to its limits as well, would you please, if possible:
1. Get your copy of the newsletter to us as close to the 21st of the month as is possible. (It is much more efficient if I can edit them all over a short period.)
2. Put your name and “RPCN newsletter” in the subject line.
3. Make sure that the piece you have just finished writing IS the piece that you actually send us.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org for inclusion.