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Child's Play

Breaking into the multibillion-dollar toy industry is easier than you think. Here's how to get your toy on the top of every kid's wish list.

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This story appears in the August 2007 issue of Entrepreneur. Subscribe »

Imagine turning an idea you hatched during your morning shower into a $5 million business--in just three years. That is precisely how Don McNeill, the Wilmington, Delaware, inventor of You've Been Sentenced, conceived of his now wildly popular board game for kids ages 8 and up, which uses a deck of 540 pentagon-shaped cards to come up with ingenious and hilarious sentences.

"I started with an idea, one investor and $50,000, which was just enough to pay the bills," says McNeill, 43. "My daughter drew the prototype on her computer, and I called people I knew from a 20-year career selling commercial printing and gave them one-quarter of 1 percent of the company to help me produce the game."

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