Now is the time to prepare for the 2023 After Hours Job Lottery. This annual registration period allows businesses to compete for one month in 2023 to host this popular networking event.
First, what is after-hours work (BAH)? This networking opportunity is open to Chamber member businesses. BAH is usually held on the 4th Wednesday of the month, except for holiday months when they are moved up and there is no BAH in January and September due to the chamber’s annual meeting and ColorFest. Chamber representatives and their staff, as well as invited guests of the host, are welcome to attend. BAHs are held by most chambers across the country as a way for businesses to promote themselves while attendees can network, meet other professionals and find a way to interact with Chamber staff and board members.
Signing up for this lottery is an easy process. Between now and Friday, November 18, contact the Chamber at (970) 264-2360 or email Membership Coordinator Kim Hartfill at [email protected] When you contact us, please indicate your first 3 preferred months in which you would like to host the event. Be sure to include your business name and contact information, such as the person in charge and an email or phone number. The lottery draw will take place on Monday, November 21. Chamber staff will begin reviewing the requested months and will attempt to format a schedule and contact the requesting businesses.
When considering hosting an after-hours business, consider partnering with another commercial firm in your location for a “block party,” or partner with a chamber firm that does not have a physical location, or partner with a non-profit agency. What is the benefit of partnership – many benefits! First, if you partner with other nearby businesses, all of your businesses will be exposed. You create a “block party” atmosphere where there is more engagement, more activity, more exposure. You all also help share the costs of the event. You can create fun activities to engage people in all businesses. It’s a high-energy engagement process. When you partner with a business that doesn’t have store exposure, you all get exposure, you can partner on a like-minded business topic, product, or activity, and again, you can help share costs.
The same is true if you partner with a nonprofit agency. You support a community-based organization, showcase your philanthropy, and everyone gets famous and wins. The other great thing about partnering is that you increase your chances of winning because any business can enter the sweepstakes.
If you haven’t been to an after-hours business in a while, consider going out. Take an hour or even 30 minutes to visit and support another business, connect with your colleagues and work ON your business, not just IN your business. In all my years of hosting and attending this event, I have NEVER left without learning something new, meeting someone new, or being able to help someone or have someone help me! These relaxed networking events are more beneficial than most people realize. Business is conducted in a relaxed atmosphere where business owners and managers can connect with each other and help themselves and their businesses.
For questions about organizing business after hours, contact Kim at the Chamber at (970) 264-2360. She will be happy to walk you through the process and answer your questions.
Mary Jo Cullehan
Mary Jo Cullehan is the executive director of the Pagosa Springs Chamber of Commerce and also serves on a number of local and state boards.