Put networking to work for your business

Chamber Corner

By Daniel J. Heitzenrater,

President and CEO of the Chautauqua County Chamber of Commerce

Networking may sound like a buzzword, but it’s actually a strategy to improve your business connections and sales. The Chamber of Commerce has been focused on networking for decades, and we have seen a resurgence in the past year as our collective work and mindsets continue to emerge from pandemic mode. The desire to be in a room with other people has never been stronger for many, and so we have seen growth in attendance at a variety of Chamber events, especially our Business After Hours networking experiences.

Businesses of all types find value in personal meetings with others. Getting to know other professionals and those in other industries can lead to valuable resources including referrals, sales, increased confidence, and the ability to raise your own public profile.

While the Chamber has developed some structure around its networking program, the events themselves are relaxed and informal. They include plenty of time to simply mingle with others while enjoying the hospitality of our host business, as well as some fun interactive moments that highlight each business entity in the room. It’s a great opportunity to meet people and learn about some businesses in Chautauqua County that you may not have even been aware of. These simple interactions are more than just a way to exchange business cards – although that’s important too. They are building true connections among people in a way that truly builds community.

The Chamber’s Business After Hours events are spread countywide and held throughout the year. They have become so popular, in fact, that businesses are asking to host them. If your business wants to get on our list for future consideration, please call our office and we would be happy to talk with you. The Chamber also provides a multitude of other opportunities for businesspeople to gather including our series of legislative events, our popular Annual Awards Banquet, our golf tournament, and our Annual Meeting.

In addition, many of our Community Chamber committees are now hosting occasional smaller gatherings that are regionally focused, providing even more networking benefits for local businesses. Some recent examples were a meet and greet in the Westfield area, an evening community get-together in Hanover, and a coffee hour in Jamestown. Our Dunkirk committee also held a roundtable discussion for local businesses, and our Mayville-Chautauqua team is working on quarterly forums to address local business needs.

You do not have to be a Chamber member to attend the Chamber of Commerce Business After Hours events. Chamber member businesses can send up to two people at no cost. Any attendees above the two-person limit, or non-members, pay just $10 to participate. Our upcoming Business After Hours on March 16 at The Green Door Tavern in Bemus Point is nearly sold out, and we have others coming up at Pearl City Hops in Jamestown in April and at 64 on the Rocks in Fredonia in May. Check out our online calendar for a full list at www.chautauquachamber.org.

Business After Hours at The Green Door Tavern March 16

Space is filling up quickly for the Chautauqua County Chamber of Commerce Business After Hours on Thursday, March 16 at The Green Door Tavern, Route 430, Bemus Point. Business After Hours is a Chamber networking event that runs from 5-6:30pm. It’s designed to let local businesspeople meet in a comfortable setting, enjoy some appetizers and a cash bar, and provide a little information about their business or organization. This Business After Hours event is sponsored by The Green Door Tavern, Media One Radio Group, The Post-Journal, and OBSERVER. Additional Business After Hours events will be announced throughout the year. Each Chamber member business can send two people at no cost to each Business After Hours. Any employees above the two-person limit, or non-members, are welcome at $10 each. Advanced registration is not required but is requested for our planning purposes. You can sign up now through the Chamber’s web calendar at www.chautauquachamber.org.

Tuesday Talks: Workforce Recruitment and Retention is March 21

The Chautauqua County Chamber of Commerce and the Small Business Development Center are pleased to open this year’s series of Tuesday Talks panel discussions with a forum centered on growing and retaining a strong workforce. In an atmosphere where good employees may be hard to find and harder to hold onto, the informative panel discussion will focus on local efforts and resources.

Our guest panelists are Nate Aldrich, Economic Development Coordinator, Chautauqua County; Katie Geise, Workforce Investment Board/Chautauqua Works; Brian Lebarron, Jamestown Community College Workforce Development; and Julie Page, Jamestown Community College Career Services. Tuesday Talks is a one-hour, online-only forum to provide tips and guidance for local businesspeople. These events are conveniently held via Zoom, so you can attend from the comfort of your own desk chair and so they won’t take a great deal of time out of your workday. All attendees must register through the Chamber’s web calendar at www.chautauquachamber.org to get the Zoom link.

If your business is tourism-based you may also want to sign up for the free Chautauqua County Visitors Bureau Spring Tourism Workshop on the theme of Ramping Up for Seasonal Hiring, to be held from 9 am-noon, Thursday, March 23 at the JCC campus in Jamestown. Learn more about that event by contacting communications@tourchautauqua.com.

Chamber State Legislative Breakfast is April 28

The Chautauqua County Chamber of Commerce State Legislative Breakfast will be held Friday, April 28 at Chautauqua Suites in Mayville. State Senator George Borrello and Assemblyman Andrew Goodell will be our guests for a discussion session with moderator John D’Agostino from the Observer. We urge you to come prepared with questions for our state elected representatives. Advanced registration is required and is open now on the Chamber’s web calendar at www.chautauquachamber.org. This event is sponsored by Chautauqua Suites Meeting & Expo Center, Media One Radio Group, OBSERVER, The Post-Journal, and the Small Business Development Center. Check-in will begin at 8:00am with a buffet breakfast prepared, and the program will begin promptly at 8:30am. We ask that all attendees visit the buffet line before the program begins. The price is $22 for Chamber members or $26 for non-members. Sign up now or save the date and watch our calendar as we confirm venues and dates for many other events in the year ahead!


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