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Start with a prototype  

This article is fairly basic, but it does cover the essentials of why and how you should go about putting together a prototype (software or hardware), and also points out that you should test the prototype not only technically, but, even more important, commercially, before raising money.

Validate the customer need and opportunity. I always hate it when I see startups invest millions of dollars in technology before they validate their ideas in the market, only to find that customers seem to be looking for something slightly different. Test your idea early in a form that is easy and inexpensive to modify.

More from the library:
First time sales versus returning sales
Investment increases your risk
Product vs Business vs Company