I was at the Microsoft TechFest 2007 event yesterday (separate blog entry on it coming) and while there, took some time to meet up with some companies looking for funding.
During one of the presentations, I was impressed with the team and very impressed with the ability of the team to clearly articulate the pain. We then got to the solution.
I listened, pondered, and responded with: "Hmmm, maybe but I'd do it this way if it were me." I proceed to explain my idea.
The response was: "Well, cool, we can do it your way, we're just looking for funding."
These guys can now vouch for my "fast no" policy.
The point here, besides the naked sucking up trap, is that I am not driving the company, I'm funding a solution which will generate returns for you and my limited partners. Toward that end, I want to believe in your story, your ideas, your solutions and not design your product/company. While I might have some ideas, great, in the end, it's your thing. I'm investing in you, your team, and your solution.
After hearing a pitch, I usually feed it back to the entrepreneur just to make sure we are on the same page. I'll ask lots of questions, offer up a view, etc, but in the end, I am looking for a great team to drive an idea to success, not a bunch of people to execute on some half baked mush that comes out of my mouth. If I'm in left field, you say no to me; that's the right thing to do.
Beware of backseat drivers in your business. They usually grab the wheel at the wrong time and cause serious pile ups with fatalities.