First, generate your own cashflow. Bootstrap it. If your idea is good, you should be able to find someone willing to buy/use it, even if at a discount. If you have customers, you don't have to give away your controlling stake when you do go for capital.
Then, get a credit line or other banking investment. In this economy, it's admittedly difficult, but not if you have contracts with steady revenue. Often a small credit line allows you to float a couple of months of payroll for growth ahead of orders, for example.
Then, when you are clearly on your way up, try to get an angel investor. You do this more for the experience/mentoring of that individual, and access to a network of contacts, than the money at this point. Very rarely does the third step occur without proof of viability of your vision. The goal for an investor is to be able to see major upside on their investment.
And, avoid VCs unless you really need serious capital fast. And, always reserve a little money for a barrel upon which to bend over.