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Follow the Lead Seeking capital to finance expansion? Streamline your search for the perfect investor by using an online database.

By David Worrell

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

Finding investors is hard work. Entrepreneurs who have been through the process a few times, like Todd Parsons, 40, co-founder of San Francisco-based BuzzLogic, will tell you it's the hardest part of running a business. For Parsons, who co-founded BuzzLogic with Jeff Glover, 40, and Mitch Ratcliffe, 45, finding venture capital to turn the consulting company into a cutting-edge software company took about four months and included some of the most grueling analysis, networking and salesmanship of his career.

Parsons found one tool that made the search easier and ultimately more fruitful: an online database that helped him find and evaluate investors in his area and industry. The investor database he used from Growthink Researchis one of hundreds of such tools that have sprung up both online and offline.

Ranging in price from a few hundred dollars to several thousand, an investor database can streamline your money-raising efforts; even the simplest investor list may be enough to help you find the perfect fit. However, no list is perfect, and even the best database cannot guarantee that you'll raise any money at all. How you select and use a database will likely determine your success.

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