Wednesday, September 7

8:00 AM

Breakfast – Register, pick up your badge, and fuel up for Day 1!

9:00 AM

Enjoy Your Work with Jason Mundok

To “enjoy your work” is not necessarily to experience blissful pleasure every minute of every day. Instead, it’s about experiencing a full spectrum of emotions that challenge you to you grow as a person and professional so you can build a fulfilling career. Through his own personal journey as a custom software consultant, Jason has identified three dimensions that must be considered as you move toward work that is truly enjoyable: the type of work you do, where you do that work, and the culture that surrounds it.

As consultants and small business owners, you have a lot of flexibility and control over your work with plenty of options. You shouldn’t be doing work that you don’t enjoy! Jason will explore each of these three dimensions through personal stories, experiences from his own career, and suggestions on how you can identify the best ways for you to align with each.

In this session you will learn:

  1. The three dimensions to consider as you develop and grow your career
  2. How aligning with these dimensions can position you for long-term success
  3. How to use your discoveries to ensure that you’ll be enjoy your work

10:00 AM

Using Human-Centered Design to Delight Clients, Customers, and Consultants with Heather Winkle

As consultants you serve multiple masters –clients, users, and technology – in service of your business. It’s a delicate balancing act that all too often tips toward the loudest client, the most opinionated user, or the path of least technical resistance. But are these really the requirements that will enable you to create innovative solutions that are widely adopted and deeply embraced?

Human-Centered Design is a creative problem solving approach. It is both a mindset and a set of methods. It starts with deep empathy for the people who will interact with your solution and keen observation of their needs and contexts. It positions you to understand choices and behaviors and uncover thoughts, emotions, and motivations. This approach teaches you not just what to build but how to build it in order to make it not just useful and usable, but desirable and delightful. Industry leaders like Apple, Google, and Amazon have shown time and time again that human-centered design leads to solutions with higher adoption, increased productivity, reduced training and support, and optimal return on investment.

In this session you will learn:

  1. Techniques for better understanding your users and designing from their perspective.
  2. Frameworks for unpacking, organizing, and discovering insights to frame and inspire innovation.
  3. Rapid prototyping techniques for testing early and iterating your way to the best solution.

11:00 AM

Morning Break – Coffee and conversation.

11:15 AM

How to Use A/B Testing and Research To Make More Informed Design Decisions with Nick Disabato

We all know design is important, but are we really capable of measuring its impact? Most design decisions end up speculative until we put them in front of paying customers – and even then, we may not fully understand the effects of our work. How do you design more carefully and deliberately, while ensuring that you’re able to get a solid return on your investment? In this talk, Nick will explain why research and A/B testing are important, how the two practices inform one another, and how to design in a way that reduces risk while creating happier – and more – customers.

In this session you will learn:

  1. Why it’s hard to assess ROI in a traditional design process
  2. Why it’s important to research before you test
  3. How to use research to create new test ideas
  4. Why research is essential to any business
  5. The research techniques you can use in your business
  6. How to interpret research insights
  7. How to launch and analyze a test

12:15 PM

Lunch and Networking

2:00 PM

Lessons from Our 10 Years at Johnson & Johnson with Jeffrey Scornavacca

Opportunity knocks and you have the chance to take on a big client. You meet this with a feeling of excitement (big client!) and terror (big company!). Navigating these waters can be a challenge for the most seasoned consultant. The good news is that there’s a real opportunity here if you spend some time investing in your softer skills. Silver Lake Productions’ experiences over the past 10 years at Johnson & Johnson will give you some tools for when the moment arrives.

In this session you will learn:

  1. Why you need to believe in what you do. Everyone has their own path to develop confidence. Do believe the thing you are billing for is worth it?
  2. Why you need more patience than you think. There are lots of cooks in the kitchen at big companies, each one with their own checklist. Master the checklists and provide additional value to your client.
  3. How to sell your project/story to the client. Many times our process starts in the middle of the organization and we never actually pitch to the true economic buyer. You need to create a story to help your client convince the boss. It’s not about technology at all, it’s about value creation.
  4. How to find out what your client really values. Spoiler alert: you ask them and sell that; not the deliverables.

 

 

 

 

 

3:00 PM

The Path To Value Pricing: How to Remove Your Self-Imposed Income Limits with Jonathan Stark

If you’re like most consultants, you bill yourself out on an hourly basis. This process effectively devalues your services and puts a cap on your income. In this session, Jonathan talks about how hourly billing holds your business back, prevents you from doing your best work, and can even damage your relationships with clients. Jonathan will describe an alternative method called value pricing and will give you a few ways to transition your business from hourly billing to value pricing.

In this session you will learn:

  1. How hourly billing limits the growth of your business
  2. How hourly billing can damage your relationships with clients
  3. How value pricing works
  4. How value pricing differs from hourly billing
  5. How value pricing differs from fixed bids
  6. How to transition from hourly billing to value pricing

 

 

 

 

 

4:00 PM

Afternoon Break – Complimentary snacks & soda.

4:15 PM

Portfolio Management & Delegation with Molly Connolly

Many small business owners struggle with how to delegate. Sometimes it feels like it will take longer to explain a task than it does to do it ourselves, sometimes we’re worried the quality of the work will suffer, or sometimes we just don’t know exactly what we need without digging into the problem. Successful delegation takes work and one of the tools we can use to identify opportunities for successful delegation is a portfolio management tool.

In this session, Molly will walk you through a portfolio management tool she used to manage a busy workgroup that varied from 10-15 employees. Seeing how much work there is to do can be intimidating but can also get you “unstuck” and force you to stop being a bottle neck so your team and your business can thrive.

In this session you will learn:

  1. How to create a snapshot view of your portfolio
  2. How to identify opportunities to delegate
  3. How to follow-through on delegation and increase your bandwidth

Thursday, September 8

8:00 AM

Breakfast – Welcome to day 2!

9:00 AM

The Power of Goal Setting with Ellen Burton

Do you have a picture of success? Do you know what it will look like when you arrive? As consultants we help our clients define and achieve goals on a regular basis, yet we rarely take time to do it for ourselves. In this session coach Ellen Burton talks about why it’s so much more exhausting to work hard each day without goals. Not having realistic and measurable goals is like going to the grocery store without a list: you spend more time and money that you’d planned and probably end up at home without the items that you truly want! This coaching process for setting solid goals is a departure from software guided, corporate goal setting some of us have experienced. This is “Process Work” and it’s a way to get clear on your goals and what achieving those goals will look and feel like.

In this session you will learn:

  1. A creative and flexible method for goal setting
  2. Clear direction when it comes to choosing opportunities
  3. The ability to recognize and celebrate your success when you arrive

 

 

 10:00 AM

How to Hire the Right People for Your Business with Nancy Simonson

One of the biggest challenges any organization faces is who and when to hire. As a small business owner, this decision is even more critical as the expense and time involved in hiring someone new is significant. An important, and often overlooked starting point is to take the time to define the type of person and skill set that would be the most beneficial to your organization. Nancy will talk you through ways to assess your own, or your current team’s strengths, in order to define a profile of the services that could be delegated to a new employee or outsourced. Once you’ve identified what you really need, she’ll talk to you about how to find that right person. And finally, when you’ve hired the right person, how to ensure that they will be successful within your organization.

In this session you will learn:

  1. How to determine what roles you really need and prepare job descriptions for those roles
  2. How to identify the attributes of a good consultant and what to look for in a resume
  3. How to hire and build the best team
  4. How to on-board your new employee
  5. How to motivate your new employee and help them be productive and successful

 

 

11:00 AM

Morning Break – Coffee and conversation.

11:15 AM

Financial Planning for The Business Owner with Kathleen McDonald

As a business owner, you wear multiple financial hats. You run your business, which includes everything from balancing income and expenses to risk management, employee benefits, and perhaps attracting and retaining great employees.

But how much time do you spend focusing on your personal financial situation?  We are often so busy running the business, we lose site of our own personal financial goals. By implementing a structure that supports a strong plan, that includes realistic goals and strategies to assess progress, you will be on your way to feeling like you are “taking care of business”.

In this session you will learn:

  1. What key areas you need to focus on including retirement, tax, estate, insurance and investment planning.
  2. How to define realistic financial goals.
  3. How to build the plan, the structure, and team you will need to make progress towards making your business work for you.

 

12:15 PM

Lunch and Networking

2:00 PM

Improving Your Personal Agility for Increased Productivity and Career Satisfaction with Casey Mulqueen, Ph.D.

As consultants, you operate in a volatile and uncertain business climate. To flourish — even survive — small business owners need to respond to this kind of climate with nimbleness. You need to not only adapt to unexpected changes, but also recognize changes as opportunities for innovation, and then capitalize on them. In other words, You need to anticipate the future and proactively create change.

Personal agility means adopting a flexible mindset that promotes the generation and implementation of original and useful ideas. Agile individuals perform at a higher level than others and have the capacity to move quickly to spot and exploit opportunities in fast-changing environments, and they produce new products and services with efficiency. They also experience greater career satisfaction and an enhanced sense of personal power and influence. The good news is that agility is a highly flexible quality that can be learned and developed. The skills you will be introduced to in this session can be applied to product development, deployment, marketing, sales, and other business issues that you face on a regular basis.

In this session, you will learn:

  1. How cognitive biases prevent you from optimizing your agility, and strategies for recognizing and overcoming these biases.
  2. A model for understanding the lifecycle of developing ideas and turning them into practical plans that can be accomplished.
  3. Concrete strategies to enhance your innovativeness and ability to implement new ideas.

3:00 PM

My “Secret Sauce” Recipe for Sales: Relationship Building, Negotiation and Flexibility with Adam Aronson

For many skilled consultants selling is not part of their core competency and the thought of promoting and selling their services is distasteful. We have fears of attending uncomfortable networking groups or presenting cheesy powerpoint presentations. But as Adam explains in this session, consultants have the easiest and most organic sales process of all because we offer solutions to real problems.

By learning how to talk about the solutions and benefits you provide (as opposed to listing the skills you have), you can build meaningful relationships with existing customers and potential clients.

Whether you’re working to keep your plate full as a sole proprietor or trying to fill a pipeline for your team, there will come a point in your career where you need to be proactive about sales. Adam will focus on how relationship building with colleagues, potential clients, and vendors is a key driver for a successful sales process.

In this session you will learn:

  1. Techniques you can use to build stronger relationships with prospects and clients
  2. How to grow opportunities organically within existing clients by leveraging existing relationships
  3. Examples of implementing a flexible mindset to ensure long-term customer satisfaction

4:00 PM

Afternoon Break – Complimentary snacks & soda.

4:15 PM

Getting in the Zone with Cris Ippolite

Consultants by nature have to juggle many tasks. You’re managing client needs, you’re defining specifications, estimating project costs, and providing a skilled service. As a business owner you’re juggling operational, financial, legal and human resources issues. Throw in an entrepreneurial mindset and you may find yourself managing several different services or even different businesses that leverage different skill sets.

Effective project management is an important skill in juggling multiple tasks but even more powerful is the ability to switch between tasks in a productive and focused way. In this session, Cris Ippolite, software developer, trainer, and NFL fantasy football analytics writer talks about how he positions himself for success by getting in the right “headspace” for each task.

In this session you will learn:

  1. How to self-identify ways to focus your attention
  2. How to set up an environment optimized for productivity
  3. How setting up a disciplined scheduled ultimately leads to more creativity and impact