Do these things or risk blowing your investment pitch

Many entrepreneurs, having wrapped their passion and intellect around their “next big thing,” can’t wait to hit the bricks and share their insights and enthusiasm with waiting investors, convinced that the check writers will “get it” and willingly part with their investment dollars. Unfortunately – and, in some ways, fortunately – the fundraising process is complex and requires focused preparation. Entrepreneurs who prepare carefully will be in a much stronger position, both to articulate their plans well and to execute on those plans when they secure investment capital.

Are you ready to present your plans to an investor who will not share your level of expertise or passion for your chosen domain? Professional investors are skeptical and, in most cases, generalists. Your job as the entrepreneur is to take your vision and make it as tangible and credible as possible. In the process, you are selling yourself — your market knowledge, product prowess, management ability, adaptability, and flexibility. You’ve got 30 minutes and about a dozen prepared slides to get the job done.

Having built two companies, invested in dozens, reviewed thousands of potential investments, and succeeded and failed, here’s my advice for entrepreneurs preparing to raise capital from investors:

Invest in yourself first. Investors will look at your financial commitment (your “skin in the game”) as a proxy for both your dedication and conviction. Investing time is interesting, but hard dollars take the discussion to the next level.

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Author: Stephen G. Barr, Group Publisher

Author, Syndicated Columnist, Editor In-Chief and Group Publisher at SGB Media Group, a social media marketing firm specializing in digital media content production, publishing, affiliate marketing, public relations and advertising. Over 25 years experience in retailing, advertising, website & online forum development, niche social networking, affiliate marketing, search optimization, branding and identity, site location, non-profit fund raising. Event planning, promotion, production and MC/Host at public events. Author, Editor & Publisher of 35 syndicated, digital publications utilizing multiple digital distribution channels in conjunction with launching and administrating national advertising campaigns for major Fortune 500 advertisers in partnership with Google, Ning, Facebook, Myspace, Yahoo, DoubleClick, LinkShare, PepperJam and other industry leading third party affiliate networks. Product development team member from conception to launch on many websites, tangible goods and organizational structure for start ups. Specialties: Public relations, retailing, advertising, website & online forum development, niche social networking, blogging, email campaigns, affiliate/performance marketing, search optimization, branding and identity, site location, event production & promotion, non-profit fund raising and tasteful, responsible adult content publishing. An internationally recognized and read social media columnist & pundit on The Examiner, Associate Content,, and Technorati and his own affiliated sites.

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