We used to do an all-day trade show called Biz Link, which was basically a business-to-business networking blitzkrieg that occurred once a year. I mean, it was mega. There were businesses. There were links. Everyone went home exhausted, pockets bulging with business cards, heads swimming with ideas.

But a few years and a recession later, our members told us that they could no longer spare the manpower for an eight hour event and couldn’t we make it more compact and more frequent?

“Yes!,” was our answer, and thus, Business After Hours was born.

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Now, as the name implies, the networking occurs after 5:00 p.m. (saw that coming, didn’t you?), at a cool place like The Torque Club at RIR, with wine and beer. It’s less of a time commitment, and, frankly, meeting people is easier with beer-in-hand, amiright?

I’m always impressed with the diverse mix of companies that exhibit at these things. We now have 50 Chamber member companies exhibiting at next week’s Business After Hours, on March 5th. That list includes hotels, colleges and universities, business advisors, website designers, nonprofits, social services, insurance, bowling alleys, banks, something called TapSnap, etc. In no other RVA universe will this mix of companies and people be in the same room at the same time.

We even have a new sponsor this time, 7-11, which joins Holiday Barn Pet Resorts, Richmond International Raceway, the Richmond Times-Dispatch and Richmond.com, Airrosti and WoodForest National Bank.

BAH also is inexpensive ($15 for Chamber members in advance, $30 for non-members). It would cost you way more than that in time and effort to contact all 50 companies, or even half that amount, on your own time.

To sum up: BAH is painless and inexpensive, food and bev are involved, and you get to walk around and meet all sorts of interesting and helpful people who provide a good or service that you just might need. We do this twice a year, once now and once in September, and you don’t have to be a Chamber member to attend.

Check it out and get registered in advance. Walk-ins are welcome, but you’ll pay a higher rate and that makes no sense.

See you on the 5th!

– LB

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