- Category: Consulting
- Published on Friday, May 01, 2015
- Written by Daniel Lieberman
- Hits: 1229
Every business has pain points. Some common problems we hear about over and over again include:
- How do I find (and keep) great employees?
- How do I get the financing you need to grow?
- The Yellow Pages doesn't work anymore. I need help with the Internet and Social Media
- Help! My company grew and none of our systems work anymore.
- I'd like to sell our business. I need help to get ready for a successful exit.
- I have a great business idea but I have no experience.
- I'm a successful small business owner. There are too few hours in the day and I'm exhausted all the time.
InCommN consulting has cures for all of these headaches. We're a team of experienced, creative, dedicated professionals with a wide range of skills and backgrounds. We'll help you think about and solve your business problems, or connect you with somebody who can. Our skills include:
- Finance. Rick Feldman is an economist, former financial planner, and serial entrepreneur
- Product Development. Rick Plaut is experienced in developing new products, customers, markets and businesses.
- Engineering and Project Management. Dan Whitford is an engineer and former naval officer. He has managed a variety of programs and projects for the U.S. Department of Energy, Department of Defense, and the Intelligence Community as a research scientist and engineer.
- Software: Daniel LIeberman was a software developer, managed software development teams and worked as a business analyst and project manager in a consulting company specializing in scanning and imaging and document management. He is a writer and has consulted extensively about web marketing and social media.
- Mentoring: All of us have worked with Valley Venture Mentors as mentors and facilitators. We are expert in the Lean LaunchPad methodology.
- Networking: We're very active members of the Western Massachusetts entrepreneurial community. We know lots of interesting people.
We've got room for a few more new consulting projects this spring. Come and talk to us about your headaches at one of our Don't Eat Lunch Alone meetups in May 2015. Besides the usual fun of DELA networking, we'll be setting aside time for you to "Pitch Your Pain."
- Category: News
- Published on Friday, April 24, 2015
- Written by Rick Feldman
- Hits: 977
Entrepreneurship Initiatives: We at INCOMMN have been busily creating new approaches and offerings to ensure business, organization, and regional resiliency and success. We’ve been key partners with Valley Venture Mentors, and we’re working closely with CoLab in Easthampton (in Eastworks) and CoWork Springfield (in TechSpring), and promoting the TechSpring Innovation. We’ve had clients and advisees learning about and utilizing the production kitchen at the Franklin County Community Development Corporation, and we’re supporting the work of the Family Business Center at UMass. Most recently, we completed an economic impact study and report for Berkshire Film and Media Collaborative, describing and detailing the economic value of the film and video sectors, and what they can mean to the future of our region. These are all amazing organizations and businesses, and we’re honored to be working with them. They are building the future of a strong, growing, sustainable western Massachusetts economy.
Social Impact: We’re engaged as advisors and organizational coaches throughout the region: our guiding principle is that entrepreneurship and new ventures, and a strong not-for-profit sector, all working collaboratively, do and will create the kinds of jobs we want, develop the resources we need in a sustainable and thoughtful way for now and the future, and ensure a regional quality of life for our children and future generations. We work to strengthen our entire network: Pioneer Valley Local First, Valley Venture Mentors, Family Business Center, Berkshire Film and Media Collaborative, the Community Development Corporations, Hilltown Families, Four Winds School, Wellspring Cooperative, CISA, and an emerging center and program to promote and teach about and help form workers’ owned cooperatives are among the many INCOMMN in thrilled to work with.
Education: If that wasn’t enough, we’ve launched an on-line lean launchpad assistance/coaching/consulting program. This past semester we worked closely with Smith College to support the Draper Undergraduate Women’s Entrepreneurship program and the UMass Department of Industrial and Mechanical Engineering ELITE program, both designed to mentor and teach entrepreneurship and leadership.
AND NOW.,.. we’re planning to spin-off a new affiliated business built to develop and deliver intensive, high-quality tailored-to-your-needs education, consulting, mentoring, and direct engagement/intervention (on-site, hands-on). To pilot test our plan, we’re launching a one-month series in May as part of our Don’t Eat Lunch Alone (DELA) events.
Come to one of our May DELA’s, and “PITCH YOUR PAIN”; get consulting time with the INCOMMN team!
Register in advance or first-come/first-served
2-minute pitch: who you are, what your business or organization does, tell us your most serious challenge, tell us what you want to accomplish;
3-minutes of Q&A and discussion;
Up to 12 presentations per DELA (four opportunities in May: Springfield, Holyoke, Easthampton, Greenfield)
INCOMMN team will call every presenter.
This new team provides powerful Pain Relief!
Entrepreneurship guidance, coachinbg/mentoring, advising, training
Intrapreneurship: want to start a new program? launch a new product or service? solve an internal company or organizational challenge?
Social media and Internet utilization
Branding, marketing, sales
Lean Launch, Continual Creativity, Design Thinking workshops, courses, coaching
Quality Assurance systems
Management and organization
Value-chain analysis and development
Financial analysis, management, development
Hands-on, on-site, direct intervention options
- Category: Continually Creative
- Published on Friday, December 26, 2014
- Written by Rick Feldman
- Hits: 907
We’re completing another year at INCOMMN, and a year’s worth of newsletters (Daniel Lieberman has been amazing!), and we want to review our recent accomplishments and challenges, and contemplate what comes next. The right context do this review and contemplation is the regional context; that is, after all, INCOMMN’s main interest: collaboration building to achieve a resilient, sustainable regional economic community.
In the past year, I completed two regional economic studies that figure in to our review. The first was a deep-dive into broadband connectivity and its economic value in Western Massachusetts. The second, more recent one, was a very targeted look into commercial film production in the region. A couple of things stand out from these studies.
First, by way of background, each study was built on very close analysis of the region’s economic fabric: what sectors produce, and how much they sell, and to whom; what sectors they purchase from; and how many people are employed in each sector, how much do their households receive in income, and how much—and on what—do they spend. The picture that emerges describes these various interactions and transactions, allowing us to gain greater precision in understanding the region’s economy.
Here are some key points we learn from all this:
- The Valley core—the cities and towns along the Connecticut River—carries the region. If Springfield, Holyoke, Chicopee, South Hadley, Northampton, Deerfield, and Greenfield prosper, the entire region benefits: incomes increase, new ventures are sustained, agriculture expands, manufacturing expands, jobs are created.
- The more suburban and rural places support that core growth when people and small enterprises can locate further west and into the Hilltowns. When these towns cannot sustain their households, then everyone becomes that much more dependent on the Valley core, and that core simply cannot support both its own population and commerce and that of the rest of the region.
- To ensure that the more rural areas sustain local households and businesses, they absolutely need greatly improved and maintained advanced telecommunications, and they need closer economic ties to the core. Film production, hospitality, agriculture, tourism and small production enterprises establish and sustain those economic ties.
- Currently, the main regional ties are founded on education, health services, real estate and financial services. That’s great, but insufficient and not sustainable for the long term.
- Entrepreneurship—and we’re all witnessing the rapid growth of new enterprises, both commercial and social impact ventures—helps strengthen the regional fabric, and amplifies the need to do more. Local investment is necessary, as are more partnering, more collaboration among individual enterprises (especially true in manufacturing), and long term venture viability. There’s been a lot of wonderful activity in this arena (and INCOMMN is a key player), but the full measure of its economic value has not yet been felt.
The eco-system that is emerging in the region to address these needs has gained strength: it’s starting to accomplish significant results. More businesses and social ventures are starting, and they both create jobs and create demand for products and services from other businesses in the region. Many more graduates from the Universities, smaller colleges, and the very excellent community colleges are staying in the region rather than feeling compelled to leave in search of jobs and opportunities. Investment is starting to increase. Services in support of all this—the Community Development Corporations, Common Capital, local banks, Valley Venture Mentors, SPARK, INCOMMN, CISA—are active and robust.
And the trains are running again, physically tying the Valley core together and the entire region to the entire east coast. This level of transportation is a huge development, and will be felt in in the long-term. It may never be a hugely profitable piece of the transportation network, but it is an enormous investment in the sustainable economic health of the region.
My INCOMMN partners and I, and our colleagues, are thrilled with these prospects and developments, and we’re excited by the continuing challenges and opportunities. We will continue to do all we can to foster and encourage growth and collaboration building among social venture and commercial enterprise start-ups. Also, we will call upon our policy makers to build on these opportunities. Although we now operate within a global economy and global environment, we’re ever more aware of the need for resilient local and regional economies and healthy environments: we learned through this last recession that investing in local and regional collaboration and enterprise will get us through many global challenges.
- Category: Continually Creative
- Published on Thursday, December 25, 2014
- Written by Rick Feldman
- Hits: 807
If you haven’t visited and enjoyed the Holyoke Public Library, we recommend you do! Several area libraries—South Hadley, Chicopee, and Holyoke—have undergone significant design and construction phases in the past few years, as more and more libraries embrace their roles as community centers. Study and meeting spaces, exhibit spaces, and community rooms are as important now as the holdings on hand. Add to this the regional library system that allows people to access library resources and materials over the Internet, and we see the rebirth of the public library as a cornerstone of community building.
The Holyoke Public Library is a shining example of well-designed, usable space that’s welcoming, functional, and beautiful. Currently, HPL hosts a brilliant exhibit of sustainable architecture designs that were completed as part of an international competition. The designs of fifty-one college and university design students from around New England and Canada are on display, showing various possibilities for four sites in Holyoke. Each design seeks a Net Zero Energy (NZE) and Zero Carbon Emissions (ZCE) solution to residential and commercial development. This work was completed through the 2013-2014 NESEA (Northeast Sustainable Energy Association, headquartered in Greenfield, MA) Student Design Competition. Sponsors were NESEA, City of Holyoke, Holyoke Public Library, Barr Foundation, and the National Grid Foundation.
The Library itself is a model of what’s possible in renewing our urban environments, and the exhibit showcases the possibilities in extraordinary designs and details. It’s important to realize that urban environments are not static; there's a lot that can be done to meet current and future needs and interests. These designs envision a beautiful and livable cityscape that’s achievable, and desirable. There are many people to thank for this showcase: we’ll name one who has had a special impact on regional sustainable development: thank you to Joe Bosworth, a friend and colleague.