Make sure you ask any venture capitalist you're considering these questions:

1. How do you plan to participate in my company?

2. What can you contribute to the success of my company?

3. How do you view the board of directors' role and management's role?

4. Can you tell me about other venture capitalists with whom you have discussed my company?

5. Do you or any of the other venture capitalists have any investment in our competitors?

Excerpted from Start Your Own Business