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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.

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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