Steve Niewulis played in the minor leagues for the New York Yankees before injuries to his rotator cuff cut short his career. Not wanting to give up baseball, Niewulis, 32, decided to combine his baseball talents with a clever idea and create a business that's since taken him to the big leagues.
When he had played in an independent league in Florida, Niewulis noticed he and the other players had trouble keeping their hands dry while batting. That problem inspired his big idea: He attached a sweat-busting rosin bag to a wristband so a player could use it to dry off the bat handle between pitches.
In less than two years, Niewulis's Fort Lauderdale, Florida, company, Tap It! Inc., has sold thousands of units of his product, the Just Tap It! wristband, which retails for $12.95 and is used by baseball players, basketball players, tennis players, golfers and even rock climbers. His secret to success? Find a small distribution network, one that lets small companies with just one product line succeed.
Don Debelak (firstname.lastname@example.org) is a new-business marketing consultant who has introduced new products for more than 20 years. He is the author of Bringing Your Product to Market (John Wiley & Sons, $19.95, 800-225-5945).