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August 2017

A monthly newsletter from the
Rochester Professional Consultants  Network.


August  2017

A monthly newsletter from the Rochester Professional Consultants Network

Your articles, news, tips, events and resources are welcome. Send items
to Newsletter Email

  • President’s Message
  • Meet RPCN’s New Vice President, Joyce Curran
  • Price your services by using math, magic and moxie
  • Upcoming events
  • Member News
  • Around Town
  • We want you

President's Message

Serving Our Members

By Bob Manard, RPCN President

We have a number of initiatives underway to improve the value of RPCN and to serve our members more effectively.  We continue to find opportunities to schedule events outside of our "normal" Friday morning 8am time slot.  The Summer Boating Adventure ( see pictures below) is one example.  Several more activities are in the planning stage, including another evening workshop on using Google tools for business.

This fall, we will be launching a new website that will be mobile-friendly and allow us to add a number of exciting features.  The site will deliver a better user experience for members and potential clients.

As we work through our list of priorities and the rest of the Strategic Plan, we hope to get more members engaged in making this organization more effective.   This will help us serve our members and help our members serve their clients.

A sample of images from our July 2017 Summer Boating Adventure



Member Profile

Meet RPCN’s New Vice President, Joyce Curran

By Ruth E. Thaler-Carter

As RPCN’s new vice president, Joyce Curran plans to assist, promote or lead in areas recognized by our board as strategic objectives:

  • Branding—premier source of consulting services
  • Engagements—create opportunities for members to showcase talent
  • Outreach—increase the range and diversity of member consultants
  • Professional Development—provide access to educational events
  • Relationships—grow strategic alliances with the public and private sectors
  • Technologies—expand our visibility and market reach

She is particularly interested in helping RPCN leadership finish the task of updating the website and finding a permanent location to meet. She plans to help the organization create more opportunities for current and prospective members, and ease the onboarding system for new members.

Throughout her professional career, Curran has been what she calls “a consummate communicator,” beginning in daily newspapers in the U.S. and Canada before moving into public and government relations in the Rochester area. Currently, she is the New York State public relations director for a DOD program.

Her career highlights in the more than 30 years that she has worked in those sectors include:

  • Earning numerous business, communications and science degrees.
  • First public relations director for the Brighton schools.
  • Public relations director at Nazareth College Arts Center for five years.
  • Two years at the United Way of Greater Rochester.
  • Government and community relations at RG&E for 15 years.
  • Becoming a tax accountant and teaching communications classes at Monroe Community College.

Price your services by using math, magic and moxie

By Bob Lurz, Consultants Accelerator 

(Published in D&C Nextpert Column, January 7, 2017

It’s a challenge to set prices and fees if you are a small business or solo entrepreneur that provides Business-to-Business “knowledge” services (e.g., marketing, process improvement, team building, software-as-a-service, etc.). You and many of your customers often have no good way to judge whether you’re too high, too low or just right. Unlike product comparison-shopping, customers (and you) can’t find ready-made pricing answers on the Internet or in stores. So how might you price your services?


Math, Magic and Moxie: Pricing your service combines numbers, judgment and bravery. Math is the income (and price) you calculate for a profitable business. Magic is a set of factors that modify the math results. Moxie is the courage to ask for a price that (you fear) might scare off the customer.


MathThis is the “easy” part. Just set the annual net income you need for a viable business. Then, add expenses and taxes to get your minimum required revenue. Divide that revenue by the actual number of billable days available in a year, and you get the price to charge per day. (Whether you charge by the day or by the project, or other methods, your annual revenue target is the same.) But consider other things before you ask for that price. That’s where the magic comes in.


Magic: Many factors can modify your “annual revenue”  target price, e.g.:

·               Value to the customer: If your service will save a customer $1 million, should you charge $10K, based on your daily price? Or maybe a larger share of the million, say $50K? Understanding your value and ROI to the customer gives you a strong negotiating position. Find that value through research and estimating. Ask prospects, “What will this cost you if you don’t correct the problem?”

·              Type of customer: Large companies will try to leverage their size to force lower prices (Negotiate). Government agencies might have pre-set prices that are lower (or higher) than yours (Challenge their assumptions about your service). Startups and smaller companies are often cash-strapped, but might have grants or investors to pay your fee. Nonprofits with money might need your service.

·              Reputation: You can often command a premium price if you have a reputation backed by recommendations and testimonials from satisfied, credible customers. Also, become known as an expert in your field through writing, presenting, posting, blogging, etc.

·              Competition: Check competitors’ prices if you can get the info. Don’t just match their prices, but see if you are way out of their range (and find out why you are).

·              Premium: Set your prices high enough (for the high quality you’ll deliver). Give yourself enough room to negotiate. Don’t be the low-price provider - low price can infer low quality.         


Moxie: Suck it up and ask for what you’re worth. Don’t just offer to lower your price ­- instead offer project content options (e.g. High price = high content. Medium price = less content. Low price = bare bones). Learn how to negotiate a good deal for you and your customer or client. You’ll be glad you did.


Bob Lurz, consultants educator and mentor, helps skilled people launch and build consulting businesses. He “grows the economy, one consultant at a time.” Contact him at 


D&C article link:

Upcoming events

Technical Forum

Friday, September 1, 2017 8:00 a.m. - 9:30 a.m. Pittsford Community Library, 24 State St., Pittsford, N Y 14534

Steve Royal

Facilitated by Steve Royal. 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 previous forums.

Winning Tips for Steady Business Growth

Presenter: Jill Bates

Friday, September 8, 2017 8:00 a.m. - 9:30 a.m., at Brighton Town Hall, 2300 Elmwood Ave., Rochester, 14618

Jill will present three key learnings the audience will take away from this program:

  1. The importance of your visual presence
  2. Maintaining a relationship with your clients
  3. Implementing creative business ideas

Business Forum

Friday, September 15, 2017; 8:00 a.m. - 9:30 a.m., Pittsford Community Library, 24 State St., Pittsford, NY 14534

Bob Lurz

Facilitated by Bob Lurz. 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.

Board Meeting

Friday, September 15, 2017; 10:00 a.m. - 12:00 PM; Pittsford Library, after the Business Forum

Do you want to know what happens "behind the scenes" at RPCN? Come to a board meeting and find out.
Everyone is welcome to attend, but only board members may vote.

The RPCN month board meeting begins at approximately 10:00 a.m. after the Business Forum.

The Three Cures for the 800 Pound Phone Syndrome

Presenter: Lawrence R. Berger

Friday, September 22, 2017 8:00 a.m. - 9:30 a.m., at Brighton Town Hall, 2300 Elmwood Ave., Rochester, 14618

Larry will present three key learnings the audience will take away from this program:
  1. The three cures.
  2. The meaning of S&D and CPR, NOT what you might think!
  3. Interactive tips to make making calls easier.

Member News

  • RPCN colleagues offer their best wishes to webmaster Steve Royal, who has been in the hospital (RGH).
  • Mark Dulaney spoke at an all-day event on August 19 called Mass Production Live.
  • Ruth E. Thaler-Carter has been asked to chair a committee to organize the first-ever Writers and Books conference, tentatively scheduled for the spring of 2018.

Around Town

  • Light and Sound Interactive - September 12-14 -- Keynote by Ang Lee.  Bringing attention to the world-class technological and cultural resources in Rochester, and making Rochester the center of growth for the next revolutions in imaging and audio.  Focused on the applications of light and sound in the emerging areas of: Virtual and Augmented Reality, Gaming and Interactive Media, Cinema + Music + Audio, New Imaging Technologies, New types of displays, Healthcare applications, Drones and Autonomous Vehicles.  Register at

  • Program on 508 accessibility of value to RPCN colleagues:  Accessibility is now required for all federal information—Word documents, PowerPoints, PDFs, websites, e-pubs and anything else in a digital format—but even if you don’t work with government agencies, you still will need to know how to respond to this requirement. Nonprofits and all federal government contractors that receive federal grants must make their content accessible; the academic, healthcare, legal and finance industries are starting to adopt the federal standards for accessibility; and corporations are adopting the standards to avert discrimination lawsuits from employees and customers. Consultants who provide writing, editing and proofreading services are the gatekeepers for accessible documents, but not enough are skilled in 508 document accessibility, which creates a growing need for professional consultants who know how to create appropriate documents. This session will provide the information you need to become one!  To learn what it takes to master and provide 508 accessibility for your clients, consider attending a session on “Understanding Section 508 Readability and Accessibility: Requirements and Techniques,” led by Bevi Chagnon of the Washington, DC, company PubsCom, from 9 a.m.–12 noon Sunday, Sept. 17. The program is a special session of this year’s Communication Central conference, hosted by RPCN member and newsletter editor Ruth E. Thaler-Carter. RPCN members may use the colleague’s discount for the 508 session as well as for the entire conference. For details, go to
  • Learn to Soar 3.0 - Wednesday, September 20, 8:15 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. This is a free event hosted by Greater Rochester SCORE.  Sessions include: Advantages of Becoming a Certified Women or Minority Owned Business, Crowd Funding - What it is and How it works, How to Seek Economic Development Resource Support, Power of Peers - Peer Sharing to Solve Business Problems, Managing Your Sales Effort, Demystifying Commercial Real Estate. Register at

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 e-mail 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:
Ruth E. Thaler-Carter, chair and editor, and Steve Royal, publisher.

Not an RPCN member? You can join RPCN now to receive great benefits, including free admission to RPCN presentations at Brighton Town Hall, a listing in the RPCN Member Directory, and discounts to RPCN events. CLICK HERE for more information on joining RPCN.

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