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Not So Fast! Seeking an investor? Slow down and take five steps to protect your company from making a bad choice.

By David Worrell

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

Bob Shallenberger knows time is money. He talks fast and makesdecisions quickly. By all accounts, Shallenberger's need forspeed has made him a highly successful entrepreneur. But last year,when his home-building business needed an investor,Shallenberger's rapid-fire approach to decision-making almostburned the house down.

Being in real estate, Shallenberger finds that investors are notshy about offering him their money. Says Shallenberger,"Having an investment that returns 30 percent annually and isbacked by real property, it's pretty easy to get peopleinterested."

For Sale
Shallenberger's company, Highland Homes of Saint Louis, neverneeded an investor until, early this year, with two $500,000 homesalready under construction, his banker pulled the plug. "Whenthe bank said we were already overextended, we decided to take onan investor," he recalls.

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