Mostly what it takes for entrepreneurs to get outside investment is to convince the investor that they can "do it". They can create the product or service, they can convince people to pay for the product or service and they can provide all this at a profit. For those of you who have written elaborate business plans and put together your polished power point presentations I have one simple suggestion, put all that aside and prove you can do it.
I had the good fortune to meet someone a couple of years ago who was working on starting up a biofuels company. Biofuel in his case is taking food waste, fat/grease, and turning it into a fuel any truck or car can burn with minor modifications to some hoses and other small engine parts.
A green business coming out when oil prices were over $100 a barrel seemed like a no brainer. There was one tremendous challenge, this founder had never done it before. Oh he had done scads of research. He had some advanced degrees from an ivy league school. He really knew about the topic and he had exceptional passion. But he was swinging for the fences, "I need to produce millions of gallons of fuel" right out of the gate. Its the economies of scale concept. Raising the funds to do this was difficult and then he decided to prove he could do it.
He scaled back his growth plans and focused on being a micro producer in a localized single city market to start. The strategy worked. He's out of the gates and producing hundreds of thousands of gallons of bio-friendly, renewable fuel. With this going he is now working on the other two key points - show he can sell it profitably.
Anyone starting something new can benefit from proving they can do it. Sometimes this means following a bootstrap strategy (blog article), sometimes building advanced prototypes is enough (blog article) and sometimes it's taking a big grand vision and scaling it way, way down into something you can digest.
Reduce the risk for investors and you increase the odds of getting a reward.