By Paul Thompson
January 4, 2017
KANSAS CITY, Missouri – The Northeast Kansas City Chamber of Commerce is working quickly in 2017 to show that their new facility at 2657 Independence Ave. will come with a host of new services for its members.
Chamber of Commerce members can begin seeing that additional commitment on Wednesday, January 18 from 6:00 p.m. until 8:00 p.m., at the first in a series of free business-oriented classes to be conducted monthly by Chamber of Commerce Chairman Jerry W. Potocnik, an area attorney. Potocnik expects the courses to cover a variety of subjects, including the basics of business organization, finance, taxes, insurance, local and state government, real estate leases and acquisitions, estate planning and more.
Potocnik got involved with the Northeast Chamber a few years back, after he began looking into the possibility of transitioning his legal business from Blue Springs into Kansas City. During that time, Potocnik says that he “stumbled” across a leadership class that was being offered by the Chamber. He signed up in the first part of 2014, enjoyed the classes, and ultimately joined the Northeast Chamber of Commerce shortly thereafter. While Potocnik still operates his business out of Blue Springs, he’s grown increasingly involved in Chamber activities over the years and even owns a rehab property in the area. In part through his role with the Chamber, Potocnik is hoping to increase his business footprint in the Northeast in 2017.
“I’m looking right now to establish more of a presence in the Northeast,” said Potocnik. “If I can find the right situation for some office space to rent, I’ll probably try to do that in 2017. I’m looking at a couple of options, so we’ll see.”
The business classes are just another way Potocnik feels that he can serve the Northeast’s growing business community. With expertise gathered through his years of civil practice – experience ranging from real estate to corporate law, probate work to wills and estates – he felt that there is ample opportunity to use his knowledge for public good.
“This one will be focused more on starting a business, or even if you’re an existing business, how you can grow by having a better knowledge base of all of these different areas,” Potocnik said.
In practice, that can mean helping attendees decide between becoming an LLC and remaining as a sole proprietorship, discussing the ins and outs of obtaining a business loan, and even offering advice for how to approach a bank with a business proposal. Over the years, Potocnik says that he’s seen individuals confounded by the realities of owning a business. If they participate in the Chamber classes, he hopes, those same individuals will feel more equipped to handle those challenges. One potential class, for instance, is expected to focus primarily on tax planning.
“When I say tax planning, it’s more of an introduction to the various types of taxes that people will have to deal with when they have their own business,” explained Potocnik. “Whether that’s real estate taxes because they own the land or whether its payroll taxes or self-employment taxes or franchise taxes; those are issues like the world of insurance that’s a complicated area. You can get lost in the complexity of it all, and you have a tendency of pushing it off to a later date.”
Potocnik went on to describe his hope that the classes will feature strong dialogue driven primarily by the wants and needs of attendees.
“We’re certainly open to changing the range of topics to be able to meet the needs of the people who are going to participate,” said Potocnik. “There will be plenty of opportunities to ask questions and engage in some discussions between the participants. We can certainly go in any direction that the group feels it wants to go.”
To learn more about these business-oriented classes or to find out how to become a member of the Northeast Chamber of Commerce, call the Chamber offices at (816) 231-3312.