Party On, Wayne

How to throw a business party that has people talking for months

It's a rite of passage: Sometime, usually not long after launch, a business holds a party and invites not only employees (of course), but also customers, prospects, vendors, business associates, and pretty much everybody else who has ever had the slightest contact with the company. And the invitations are rarely humble. Most tout the pending event as "the party of the year." Do they deliver? Rarely. The overwhelming majority of start-up parties range from boring to deadly, and smart guests who have been around this block before make plans to go, make one swoop around the room-and promptly rush for the exit.

Yikes, that turns parties into a huge waste of money-and sometimes, a major embarrassment. What's gone wrong? For starters, young entrepreneurs know their bashes shouldn't duplicate the hedonistic excesses of the grain parties they loved in college, but they don't know what else to do. So they do boring. But it doesn't have to be that way. Read on for plenty of tips about business-party to-do's.

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This article was originally published in the August 2000 print edition of Entrepreneur with the headline: Party On, Wayne.

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