It pays to be brief and clear. Entrepreneurs hoping to raise money had better be able to describe a proposed venture within 45 seconds or risk losing their audience. So says Elton B. Sherwin Jr., director of Motorola Ventures and author of The Silicon Valley Way.

Harried venture capitalists don't have time for drawn-out presentations. Instead, they want pithy pitches that bristle with snap, crackle, and pop. Sherwin has come up with a list of Seven Sacred Questions that any entrepreneur should be able to answer directly and succinctly: 1) What is your product? 2) Who is the customer? 3) Who will sell it? 4) How many people will buy it? 5) How much will it cost to design and build? 6) What is the sales price? 7) When will you break even?