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Custom-Made Convenience This entrepreneur's painting the town--and doing it comfortably.

By Celeste Hoang

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

What: Paint pail with a custom-fit handle
Who: Mark Bergman of Bercom International LLC
Where: Chanhassen, Minnesota
When: Started in 2002
Startup costs: Approximately $300,000

No stranger to entrepreneurial ventures, Mark Bergman had been dabbling in inventions since 1986, from baby spoons to children's shoelaces. But it wasn't until 2000 that he came upon the idea he'd been waiting for.

While painting around his house and using an empty coffee can to hold paint, Bergman decided to make a strap out of duct tape to help hold the can after his hand got tired. He used it for a week, realized the business potential of a strapped-on paint holder and presented it to his patent attorney.

At the time, Bergman, 50, was working in Minneapolis, where he shared office space with a sales rep for the paint business. "I showed him the prototype and some design ideas, and he thought he could sell it with the other products," recalls Bergman. "Once other rep groups got excited about the product, I had the confidence to get it placed in retail stores."

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