Here is a really great article about starting. Some of the tips will be harder to apply than others, depending on your idea.
Here is the story in brief:
1. Don't risk your life savings / minimize your risk by following the ideas below
2. Solve a problem that people will pay you money for
3. Make sure they will pay by asking them to Pre-Order your product
4. Only build what is necessary (Minimum Viable Product a la The Lean Startup by Eric Reis)
The article then goes into how to scale (at a high level) but here is the message: you only have a certain amount of money so go after a market that you can win. Make money from that niche and then grow progressively bigger. He then presents a 2x2 matrix to decide how to invest your energy.
In the end he says that businesses fail when the owner gives up. This is true and as owners you need to consider if and how you might be taking steps toward giving up every day - and reverse the trend if needed.
But in the end, businesses fail because
- they are not viable and run out of money;
- they are viable and run out of money (because of poor planning or bad decisions); or
- they could have been viable if they made changes but didn't and ran out of money.
Yes, the owner can run out of energy, decide to quit and the business can come to an end. Think of the owner who is 60 and has no exit strategy. Who exits a viable business that makes money when they are young? The main issue that most of us have to worry about is running out of money and whether we are serving clients that can pay enough to make it a viable business (value creation and value sharing).