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Get Your Answers Straight

When feedback from different investors is cloudy, go to each of them individually to gain clarity.

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This story appears in the January 2010 issue of Entrepreneur. Subscribe »

You've just ushered your last board member out of your office after a long and confusing board meeting. You get in the car with your CFO and drive over to your favorite bar to get a beer and talk about what just happened. You say, "Did we just hear three completely different things from each of our investors?" Your CFO responds, "Nope, we heard five different things, and none of them was clear, direct or definitive."

This happens all the time, especially if you are facing an important event such as a financing, major strategic change, or sale of the company. There are a variety of VCs: the one with all the answers, the Socratic one who just asks questions until your head is about to explode, the quiet one who sits in the corner and takes notes, and the dude who can't seem to put his BlackBerry away--even when he's the one talking. Building consensus among this group of people, especially in stressful situations where everyone's interests are not necessarily aligned, is difficult at best.

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