I am both an investor and an "investee"; We've quietly closed 59 deals in 5 years in one of the toughest markets to find good deals, Vietnam.
The biggest waste of effort for most entrepreneurs is to enter into a Pitch Competition (unless the entrepreneurs can calculate and accept that whatever may result, the competition created worthwhile marketing---OFTEN THEY DON'T). Most would-be investors at conferences and public pitch competitions are not interested in investment of new ideas (not really); these "investors" are there to seek bigger investors for their funds.
Entrepreneurs reading this board: if your revenue is less than $500K usd, it's better that you continue devoting your heart and soul into building the business rather than serving your hopes and dreams to uninterested investors. Build a business strong enough so that YOU can control the negotiation. Investors ask too much and do too little to help the entrepreneurs grow their businesses because they lack operational acumen.
The rare chance that an entrepreneur finds would-be money at one of these public pitches or forums, the entrepreneur should quickly assess whether the investor can actually help grow his/her business. At a conference, my casual conversation with a fund manager lead to investment inquiry in my project. Within 5 minutes of that suggestion and after 45 minutes of conversation, I graciously turned him down. He was stunned and prodded to understand my logic. I explained that his experiences and expertise, through impressive, were not suitable to help me grow. The process of due diligence, negotiation, monitoring, reporting, auditing, and all the business requirements for taking investment money would derail my own processes for growing the business. Some money is simply NOT worth taking until one understands and accepts the trade-offs.