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If you can handle it, Wal-Mart's panel of experts will tell you how good your invention really is.

By Don Debelak

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

When Jason Clute, 42, came up with his big idea in 1992-a devicefor propping up a sleeping baby-he never imagined the product wouldone day hit the shelves of Toys "R" Us and Wal-Mart."I was making the product for my friends," he says."I thought it would end at that, but they all encouraged me totry to put the 'Prop-A-Bye Baby' on the market."

Still undecided on what to do, Clute found his answer when afriend mentioned the Wal-Mart Innovation Network (WIN), whichevaluates new ideas. "I wasn't sure what to do," hesays. "But when I heard the evaluation was only $150, I said" 'What the heck, I'm going to give it a try.'" After all, my friends were all telling me I had a greatidea." So Clute submitted the invention-and learned the idearanked in the top 15 percent of all ideas submitted. It turned outto be all the encouragement Clute needed: In 1992, he launched DEXProducts and introduced the Prop-A-Bye Baby. Clute sold $3 millionworth of products last year, and today, DEX Products has annualsales of $20 million.

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