Plan a Successful Launch Party

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Does your company have something to celebrate? Perhaps you're launching a new product, or commemorating an important milestone. Congratulations! The hard work and dedication required to pull off such a feat should be marked. But where do you begin planning a company party?

Kasie Smith, president of Serendipity Media, LLC in Grand Rapids, has a lot to celebrate as of late. WestMichiganWoman.com launch in January, and in August, Serendipity will publish it's seventh print publication–West Michigan Woman Magazine.

Kasie is gearing up to celebrate the launch with a party, but there are several factors that go into planning such an affair. If you're in a similar situation, or if you're planning a gathering for any reason, take her advice, "The number one priority when someone is planning something is what is your objective, and what is your budget? That dictates the food, venue, dress, and whether you will have entertainment or not." Although determining the budget of the event is first and foremost, Kasie says this element of party planning "goes beyond dollars and cents." It may seem like a cost savings to hold your event in the office rather than at a restaurant or club, but factor in the employee hours it will take to purchase food and materials, set up, and clean up after the event. This "investment in time" could outweigh the cost of renting an event facility.

Deciding what food or drinks, if any, to serve comes down to the time of day and the mood set by the invitations. For a networking event, Kasie recommends cocktails and hors d'oeuvres as opposed to a sit down dinner. It is harder to network with assigned seating.

If you're planning a more intimate event, use invitations to set the "ambience" of the event, Kasie says. If you mention that the event is "swanky," or "formal," and the time of the event is in the evening, guests will know to dress in cocktail attire. If you use words like "casual," and the event is held in the afternoon or early evening, guests will likely come in business casual attire.

"It's up to who is throwing the party, but it needs to be indicated on the invitation," she says.

Throwing a launch party helps to market your new product or service, but to Kasie, it's more.

"I think a launch party is more about thanking the people who helped create the project. It's an opportunity to celebrate the successes," she says.

You may also want to include prospective advertisers and clients on the guest list, but be selective, especially if you're planning on a budget.

"Sometimes inviting the masses does not make sense. If you invite twenty-five of your top customers and treat them well, you'll get more bang for your buck," she says.

Whether to serve alcohol or hire entertainment for the event also depends on budget and the overall feel of the party. Take these factors into consideration when planning your next launch party or corporate event.

Written by: Erika Fifelski was born and raised in West Michigan, and after a brief stint on the sunrise side, she's home and loving it. Erika enjoys cooking, sewing, vacuuming, and discovering new ways to live sustainably and support local businesses.

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