The one thing that will allow your business to get funded, or to get a business to business buyer to buy from you or a college to admit you is the sense that your success is imminent.

If it's a foregone conclusion that you're going to break out, that all systems are go, then only an idiot wouldn't jump on board.

So, the real question is: what signals indicate that your success is imminent?

The brilliant venture capitalists are the guys who invest their money months or years before everyone else realizes how imminent the success is. They have better radar than the rest of us. Your job as a marketer or entrepreneur is to amplify the signals that buyers and investors look for. Spend your money on the right stuff, ignore the rest. If you try to market and spend on every element of your story, you'll be merely average. If, on the other hand, you can focus on which signals represent an imminent success, the leverage kicks in.

Simple old-school example: In 1984, I drove across the country from California to Boston to take a summer job at Spinnaker Software. As I drove through Chicago I passed a billboard for the company. Incredible! This little startup already had billboards across the entire country.

A few months later I found out that they had exactly one billboard, located between the airport and the convention center, put up just in time for the Consumer Electronics Show. For the buyers flying in from Minnesota or Texas, this was was one more clue that the company was about to hit it big.