One of the things they teach in business school is that there is no standard acceptable risk or standard acceptable return. People have very different risk preferences. Getting $300,000 back from $190,000 is great if it's a sure thing and you can afford it without noticing if you lose. If there's a good chance of failure, then success should be worth more than $300,000. Venture capitalists generally invest only in businesses that can increase their investment value 10 to 100 times in 3-5 years, because they know that the failure rate is so high that the successes have to pay for all the failures.
Tim Berry is the chairman of Eugene, Ore.-Palo Alto Software, which produces business-planning software. He founded Bplans.com and wrote The Plan-As-You-Go Business Plan, published by Entrepreneur Press. Berry is also a co-founder of HavePresence.com, a leader in a local angel-investment group and a judge of international business-plan competitions.