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Got a New Idea?

If the answer is "not really," don't worry; just buy the rights to someone else's invention and reap the profits. Now that's a bright idea.

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This story appears in the February 2003 issue of Entrepreneur. Subscribe »

The Entrepreneur: Chris Lawson, 35, founder of Lawson Hammock Co. in Raleigh, North Carolina

Product Description: The Lawson Hammock, a one-person, off-the-ground tent for campers that features a mosquito net

Start-up: $25,000 in 1997

Sales: Approximately $150,000 for 2002

The Challenge: To market someone else's invention when you lack your own million-dollar idea

Chris Lawson didn't have an invention of his own, but that didn't stop him from finding one and bringing it to market. How did Lawson do it?

Steps to Success

1. Find the ideal product. Lawson felt most comfortable selling a product in a market he was already familiar with. He hoped to find an invention significantly different from others in the market; identify a small base of customers ready to buy the product; ensure there was potential for large orders, which would secure sales growth; and hold down expenses with a product that could be easily outsourced.

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