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The Shallow End

Don't start by diving into bigger markets-get your product's feet wet by finding a profitable niche.

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

Inventions are the basis for plenty of companies, from multimillion-dollar corporations to small, $100,000 businesses. While many inventors shoot for the former, those in the latter category are nothing to sneeze at. They can generate a modest annual income, often without hiring any employees, facing stiff competition or having to make a significant investment. For inventors without strong management skills, finding a unique product in a small target market is often ideal.

Kelly Greene of La Jolla, California, got her inspiration in 1992 when she moved into a new apartment. Greene, 42, liked swimming laps for recreation and fitness, but her apartment complex's pool was too small to provide a meaningful workout. She thought the best solution was to create a method to swim in place.

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