After 16+ years of hosting over 190 events and sending 151,000 emails to date over that time, I have developed a series of yellow and red flags I look for to save myself energy. Here are some of them:
1. I prefer email, and if some people claim their idea can't possibly be communicated in writing in a simple format, I pass.
2. Anyone who says their investment is guaranteed that is like saying "bomb" on an airplane anyone with a year of experience or any education on regulations knows not to say that.
3. When someone says they are buying an island to develop a resort, run the other way. The larger the project is, the more amateur the person hawking it is, and the more daisy chain (not real or great) the project may be in my experience. There are many $1B projects which are excellent, but most great deals are $1M-$100M or $100m-$500M, which are real, direct to the owner, etc.
4. When others get insulted that I would like an agenda for a phone call and review materials before jumping on, I prefer to have my team navigate or try to move on.
5. If I am treated in a rude way, or rushed, the person seems highly stressed or follows up 3x over 24 hours, or 5x in a week, I know they will eat whoever I introduce them to alive and make me look bad, so I move on.
6. When someone uses ethnic slurs, derogatory language, or things that would get you auto-canceled (many times for good reason) in today's society, if you have that poor of judgment to say such things, I do not want to work together.
7. If someone demands to talk to me on the phone, refuses to talk to my team and is rude about it - I move on.
8. Not a hard and fast rule, but if you don't take yourself seriously enough not to use a Gmail or yahoo email address, don't have a website, email signature, etc. and haven't invested $100 or $1,000 in these few things, why should we invest our time worth that same amount - we can't take you more seriously than you take yourself.
9. Suppose you are doing 9 different things and you do not have 1-3 areas of focus. In that case, it will be hard to work together typically unless those 9 different things are all in one bucket or focus area, such as 9 ventures in the niche of stem cells or dry cleaners or workforce housing.
10. If it is not immediately crystal clear what you do and it is not unique, I try to be helpful but I know it is very unlikely I will be able to help a lot.
11. When someone takes it personally and gets angry at a client or me and takes it personally that we didn't reply to their email, as if they have us on retainer to reply to their random emails, which come in all shapes and sizes at all times of the day from 1,000's of people, I know we can't work together.
12. When an email looks like a high school essay and is super long it makes it harder to figure out what the main point is and I will likely miss it.
There are many more screening criteria I consider, but these are 12 that I wanted to share today. Also, when someone has something very unique in 2-3 compelling ways, is concise, and seems like a great person, then I go out of my way to try to be extra helpful when I can as I'm sure you do as well.
I hope a few of these help investors or those raising capital with screening messages or putting out requests for time or capital. Have a great end to your week.