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Inventing Business

People want to start businesses. They just need an idea: yours.

This story appears in the April 2001 issue of Entrepreneur. Subscribe »

Back in 1992, Michael Miller decided the time had come to strike out on his own. Miller was 30 and had nine years of corporate experience under his belt. What he didn't have was an idea for a business.

Miller got that final piece of the puzzle from an inventor he was associated with. The inventor (who wishes to remain anonymous) had come up with a mechanical device that takes weeds and roots out of lawns and gardens. Miller liked the invention, called the Weed Hound, and felt the inventor was really onto something. Miller test-marketed the product at several lawn and garden shops. The response was favorable, and Miller knew what he wanted to do: "When I demonstrated the product to people, they said, 'Wow, that is really great.' I knew then the product was a winner, and I decided to license it." In 1994, Miller launched his company, Hound Dog Products Inc., in Edina, Minnesota, to do just that. Since that time, he's added a variety of different items to the Hound Dog line and expects sales to grow from $5 million in 1999 to up to $6 million this year.

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