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Let's Party!

How throwing a first-rate shindig for your start-up can help bring in the business

This story appears in the August 2002 issue of Entrepreneurs Start-Ups magazine.

You're cordially invited...to have a bit of fun with your start-up. That's right-amid all the funding and business plans and zoning laws, there can be an oasis. It's called the "Getting to Know You Party," and it's your way of introducing yourself to the neighborhood. "A grand opening party is great because it's a nonthreatening way to get people to come to your business," says Phyllis Cambria, co-founder of PartyPlansPlus.com, an event planning company in Coconut Creek, Florida.

There are a few ground rules, though. First of all, "party" doesn't equal "pitch." Yes, you're throwing the shindig to advance your business and make connections-but it's also a social event. "If you were to invite a client over for dinner at your house, and it turns into a sales pitch, that's bad manners...and bad business," says Cambria. To keep the event feeling festive, refrain from giving people your business spiel the moment they walk in the door. Say "Hi, I'm Joan Entrepreneur. Welcome to our soiree-food is this way; drinks are this way. Make yourself comfortable."

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