First Find Angels

This advice comes from Paul Allen: Internet Entrepreneur:

"My advice to first-time entrepreneurs: find angel investors to back you. It's easier, it's faster, you'll get a better valuation, and more help from your investors.

Start with an 'advisory board' of 6-8 seasoned business people who are well connected and willing to help you find investors and build your company. Give them some equity in return for their help. (I think 1% equity for 2-3 years of assistance is good for an early stage company). Some of them may end up investing in your company; others will open doors for you that lead to capital.

Later on you can graduate to venture capital, but only after you have a track record and a team and a clear exit strategy that can be accelerated by the largest investments VCs make."