Maybe you couldn't exactly see the light bulb glowing over Douglas Palmer's head as he made the connection between people who purchase lighting for their game rooms and his upcoming business plan class.
But the connection turned out to be quite a bright idea: Palmer, who works part time at a lighting store, joined forces with his partner, Bryce Kumka, to create the Darting Lamp, a dartboard floor lamp.
Of course, transforming that first spark of ingenuity into a business plan wasn't so simple, but for Palmer, 23, and Kumka, 22, hard work paid off--their business plan won first place in the 1999 Enterprise Creation Competition, a business-plan contest sponsored by Ball State University in Muncie, Indiana, and Miami University in Oxford, Ohio.
Competition judges were impressed with the partners' preparation and give-and-take-style presentation, says Larry Metzing, a competition judge and president of the corporate division of Indiana Business Resource Inc., an Indianapolis business intermediary specializing in mergers and acquisitions. Says Metzing, "In their presentation, they answered all the questions you would raise if you were considering investing money in their idea."