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Priced To Sell

Great idea, but can you profit from it? Here's how to find out.

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This story appears in the June 1998 issue of Business Start-Ups magazine.

There are three key components to making a lot of money with your invention. One is a great idea people love; the second is a product that can be made at a low cost; and the third is a strong marketing plan. I've found the first and third goals much easier to attain than the second. Even if they build a working model that does the job, many inventors find out too late that the product costs so much to make, it can't be sold for a profit.

Herb Hoeptner is a professional inventor in Gilroy, California. About 30 products that he invented--or that include his designs--have made it to the market. Hoeptner's latest products include a Frost Proof Yard Hydrant, a water faucet that can be used in open areas and won't freeze; an Anti-Siphon Frost Proof Faucet, which prevents contaminated water from backing up through a hose; and a Backflow Preventer, which prevents water lines from freezing and keeps contamination from entering the water supply. The three products earn more than $1.5 million in total retail sales per year.

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