The Chamber Blog

Small Business Day at the Capitol: Feb. 19

(Nebraska Chamber) -- If you are a small business owner or have small business interests, spend a morning at the State Capitol on Feb. 19 to learn about the legislative issues that will impact Nebraska's small business community. Small Business Day at the Capitol will provide key information on bills pending in the Unicameral.  This is your opportunity to learn more about important legislation addressing workers' compensation, roads funding, regulations, workforce development, unemployment insurance and taxes.  Cost for the program is $20, which covers materials and lunch.  For more information or to register, call (402) 474-3570 or e-mail  Registration deadline is Feb. 15.

Bulk Mailings

One of the most popular benefits that the Chamber offers is the use of our Bulk Mailing Permit!  You can save not only the $200 plus dollars for the permit, but also another $.30 cents per mail item with a mailing of 200 or more items!  Some restrictions us today for details! 308-345-3200

Proposed Overtime Regulation


The US Chamber of Commerce will be hosting a conference call this Thursday, October 22 at 3:00pm ET to discuss the Obama Administration's proposed changes to the regulations defining who qualifies for overtime.

Under the proposed rule, workers will automatically be eligible for overtime compensation if they are not paid more than $970 per week ($50,440 per year). That's up from $455 per week ($23,660 per year) under current rules. Increasing the salary threshold so dramatically will mean employers will have to decide whether to reclassify millions of employees or increase their salaries to remain exempt. Many will likely be reclassified from exempt to non-exempt (eligible for overtime).

Learn more or register for the call here!

October 21 is "Support Your Chamber Day"!

'Support Your Local Chamber Of Commerce'
This Wednesday, Oct. 21, is "Support Your Local Chamber of Commerce Day."  The Nebraska Chamber values its relationship with local chambers across the state.  The State Chamber believes the overall interests of any community are best served by an effective, vibrant local chamber.  And we believe the businessperson's first responsibility for involvement is to the community in which he or she lives and does business.  We encourage all Nebraska Chamber members to find new ways to get involved with their local chamber by volunteering to serve on a committee, working at an event, contributing to a local fundraiser, or recruiting other members to join.  Joining your area's chamber is a smart move for your business for many reasons, but mostly because you have access to a valuable networking and marketing system.  A recent survey by the Shapiro Group found that nearly two-thirds of U.S. consumers said they were more likely to buy goods or services from a business that belongs to a chamber of commerce.  If you're not already a member of your local chamber, we encourage you to join today.

Scholarships to Students who Return to Southwest Nebraska

Many community-based affiliated funds include scholarship accounts. But scholarships shouldn't be a one-way ticket out of town; they should be a round trip ticket for kids to eventually return home. Where appropriate, scholarship committees may want to reassess their guidelines.

In 2011, Jordan Pick and Emily Wood were the first students to benefit from the newly formed Nelson Hometown Scholarship program, which awards scholarships of at least $1,500 or more annually. The fund was established by Senator Ben Nelson. Applicants must attend the Nebraska College of Technical Agriculture in Curtis, Mid-Plains Community College in McCook or North Platte, or the University of Nebraska-Kearney.

Importantly, they must express a sincere desire to return to southwest Nebraska sometime in the future. Now, four years later, Jordan and Emily have not moved back to McCook-yet-but they are working their way home in the foreseeable future. Jordan graduated from UNK with an early childhood education degree which allows her to teach young children up to third grade. She has applied for a teaching position in McCook. Jordan is also working on setting up a 501(c)(3) non-profit with the intent of helping military families. She is currently in the process of filing the paperwork.

Emily graduated from UNK as an English major with a Business Administration minor. She will attend law school at UNL. She is no longer eligible for the renewable scholarship, but she plans to return to McCook to practice law with her father, County Attorney Paul Wood.

"They are exactly what I had hoped we would have for the Nelson Hometown Scholarship program - to get their education where necessary and to return to their roots in Southwest Nebraska," Senator Nelson said.

Nebraska Community Foundation, a 501(c)(3) organization, serves communities, organizations and donors throughout Nebraska.

5 Things Real Leaders Do Everyday

Summer is a great time to push hard and develop not just your business skills, but your leadership skills. In fact, it was in the summer of 1899 that industrial giant Henry Ford left his position as chief engineer at the Edison Illuminating Company’s headquarters to concentrate on automobile production.

Ford knew that he needed to leave the safety of his position to explore life as an entrepreneur on his own terms. While we know Ford as one of the great inventors of America, if you’ve ever studied his leadership skills, they too are truly astonishing.

Leadership, like entrepreneurship, is an often aspired-to position, but it’s rare for most to actually achieve and display true leadership capabilities. Being in a role where you’re the boss, the supervisor, and for entrepreneurs, the founder doesn’t by default mean that you’re a good leader.

You can start a business, but that doesn’t mean you can lead a movement, or even a staff. Leadership takes an incredibly nuanced balance of authority and compassion, grit and softness and drive and a sense of reward. It’s perhaps the toughest role entrepreneurs will ever step into when they begin to hire out staff and drive their vision forward.

Don’t fool yourself into thinking because your business is a great idea, it means you’re a good leader. Develop and cultivate the traits great leaders posses by taking small daily actions.

Here are five things real leaders do, inspired by the leadership of Henry Ford (along with some of his great quotes).

1. Listen

“If there is any one secret of success, it lies in the ability to get the other person's point of view and see things from that person's angle as well as from your own."

Real leadership requires more listening than talking. When you pause to really hear other people’s side of the story, to let their perspective sink in and allow yourself to not be attached to your own notion of what’s right, you exhibit a true quality of a leader.

Listen more than you speak and learn how to hear others. It’s not that other points of view will necessarily be right, but just listening can go a long way. Great leaders allow other voices than just their own be heard. 

2. Assess

“A business that makes nothing but money is a poor business.”

Every day, real leaders assess their businesses, the day’s activities and their teams, products and time. Money is a crucial and necessary reason for business. You need money to thrive, survive and keep your business going. It’s a wonderful thing. However, money for money’s sake alone will not drive decisions that are for the good of your staff, your community or the greater scope of humanity.

True leaders assess what areas their businesses are being efficient at and what areas they are not, and weigh their monetary decisions against other criteria. Monetary decisions can’t always be measured alone. Sometimes they need to be balanced against values such as integrity, vision and purpose. A true leader assesses the bottom line and his or her moral compass, and then makes adjustments accordingly.

3 + 4. Improve and take action

“You can't build a reputation on what you are going to do.”

After they assess, great leaders look at where they can get improve. When they identify better ways of doing things, they act. It’s a perpetual cycle: assess, improve, action.

True leaders don’t just apply the cycle to their businesses, they apply it to themselves. How can they be clearer communicators? How can they be better leaders? Where can they improve their skills?

Leadership is an ever-evolving and continuous process for yourself and your business. Start inward and work your way out.

5. Expect

“Quality means doing it right when nobody is looking.”

Real leaders have high expectations of others, but they have high expectations of themselves, too. True leaders expect more from themselves than any member of their teams. They lead by example, not by threat. They inspire their team to perform at the peak vs. demanding.

Real leaders also know that sometimes, team members won’t be able to live up to the expectations the team needs to thrive and they’ll have to take action. Being a leader means making touch decisions, decisions not based on personal emotions but the good of the team. They know that there are situations where changes have to be made.

Expect a lot from yourself to build and to maintain your business and your team. Real leaders make the necessary changes and do the right thing for the good of the whole group.

By Adam Toren

Serial entrepreneur, mentor, investor and co-founder of

Networking Opportunities

Business After Hours, Coffee Connections, Membership Development, Ribbon Cuttings and Grand Opening Ceremonies provide a social setting for business contacts and an opportunity for members to promote their business.

Involvement/Committees/Network with our Business Community

The McCook Area Chamber of Commerce committees get you involved in the heart of the Chamber. Becoming a member of a Chamber committee provides an opportunity to work with McCook's most active citizens in planning and implement changes in our community's future. The Chamber of Commerce offers numerous opportunities for you to become involved in your business community.

Chamber committees meet regularly, offering networking opportunities, education and community outreach.

We encourage you to get more involved by joining one of our committees. To participate, contact us.