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Beyond the Big Idea You've got a million-dollar idea; now all you need is a strategy to make it marketable. These inventors brought their ideas to life--and hit it big. Find out how they made it happen.

By Karen E. Spaeder

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

Brilliant ideas don't get shelf space in big retail storesor airtime on TV shopping channels. They don't have legions ofscreaming teens coveting them. They don't have dozens of VCswriting big checks, nor do they demand a high price on eBay.

The fact is, brilliant ideas are just that-ideas-until they getturned into salable products. And the difference between an ideaand a salable product is extreme-just ask an inventor who tried andfailed to get his product to market, then ask an inventor whodetermined the proper recipe for turning a brilliant idea into amust-have in the minds of consumers.

"A lot of inventors assume people will flock [tothem]," says Robert Smith, president of Rockton,Illinois-based Robert Smith & Associates PR, whoseexpertise has landed clients' products in the likes of Wal-Martand Walgreens, and on home shopping channel QVC. "They findthey're in for a rude awakening. Just because you created theproduct doesn't mean people will buy it."

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