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The Party's Not Over

Lessons in prospering once the crowd has given up and gone home--because their party is over, and, yes, it's time to clean up.

Back in the '80s, when Prince exhorted us to "party like it's 1999," who knew he was predicting the future of business? For entrepreneurs, 1999 was one big party. You could announce plans to sell anything online-galoshes, light bulbs, coffins-and be toasted for your brilliance. You could go public and watch money rain down like confetti. Thanks to a roaring economy, even non-dotcoms saw unprecedented growth and profits.

But now it's 2001, and as you stumble through the trampled confetti and broken martini glasses, it looks as though the party's over.

But wait: If you stop and listen, there's still something in the air. You can hear the beat and excited voices of a new thing stirring, and you're on to the fact that the night's not over, not by far; it's just time for the squares to go home. What happens next is smaller and more exclusive, but it's the party with the payoff-this is the room the sun rises on.

And how can you get invited? As with any hot event, it's all about who and what you know-so keep reading. In "Get a Grip," Mark Henricks examines how dotcoms can stay in the in crowd. In "Take My IPO . . . Please!", Chris Penttila talks to three entrepreneurs who put their IPOs on hold, but not their companies. And in "What Now?", Chris Sandlund explains why fast growth is still possible-and why corporate America may become your unexpected ally.

Don't worry about the line. You're with Entrepreneur. You can get in.

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This article was originally published in the June 2001 print edition of Entrepreneur with the headline: The Party's Not Over.

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