As a small business owner, it was important that I made my money work for itself. Even though picking winners is not an easy game, I scored a home run by investing in startups whose returns could yield between 5x to 100 times returns on the initial investment. However, it was crucial to conduct the appropriate due diligence on the business, market, competitive landscape and founding members to mitigate against risk. At the restaurant management company I founded for instance, we helped with the due diligence process by only showcasing highly vetted food-service businesses that were available for franchising opportunities. Each entrepreneur and their high level officers have to pass through background checks in order to even be considered, in addition to pitching the business venture to our investment committee. As a potential investor in any company I always advise that you should follow your gut. Ask yourself if this business addresses a real concern or problem in the marketplace, and bottom line, if it makes sense. If you do not see a real usage, you should definitely move on without hesitation. Additionally, never invest money that you cannot afford to lose.