How can you turn one invention into a string of successes? What are the secrets to building a lasting business from an initial flash of inspiration?
Patrick McNaughton knows. Since McNaughton, 34, and his sister, Jamie, 36, started their business in 1985, McNaughton Inc. has created more than 30 new products. Today, the Minneapolis company has 15 employees and 40 independent sales representatives and has sold millions of its products to mass merchandisers, catalogers and overseas markets.
The McNaughtons built their company by combining their talents: Patrick is the inventor and handles financing and production, Jamie handles operations and sales, and the two share marketing duties. Their success rests on two key factors: "fun" products that are clearly differentiated from others on the market, and their uncanny ability to ride the rising wave of market trends.