Then consider what type of investor you need. These days, many startups seek a few hundred thousand dollars from angel investors first, leaving venture capital for later rounds.
Once you decide that venture capital is what your business needs, start pitching three or four firms. Make sure the firms have a demonstrated interest in your industry, your stage of company formation and your geographic area.
Work each of these meetings well, with proper introductions, a summary memo and follow-up emails. Broaden your search to additional firms only if what you've discovered from the first three or four gives you an indication that it will be worth the effort.
Related: The Voices of Venture Capital
Related: How to Find the Right Investor for Your Business
Tim Berry is the chairman of Eugene, Ore.-Palo Alto Software, which produces business-planning software,