What are the most important qualities to look for in an investor?

There are many qualities. But there’s a main one I always look for. It centers on how enthusiastic you are to have that person as an investor. And that determination can be made based on something I like to call the phone test.

Here’s how the test works. When that would-be investor calls you, how excited are you to take that call? Or do you dread that call?

What this test tells you is how much you are willing to jam with the investor. The reason you might be enthusiastic about him or her is perhaps they are bringing a certain expertise to your company, like sales, which you don’t currently have. Or it could be knowledge about an area of technology. Or maybe they know something about the competitive landscape.

Regardless, you’re excited, and that’s an important part of a successful relationship with an investor.

The fact is, investments are like marriages. It takes 10 years to build a public company today. Even if you are not trying to go public, it could still take 10 years to pay back your investors. Even if your goal is be acquired, there are no sure bets.

And it doesn’t mean you always have to like them, but you have to be able to work with them and work with them well.