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If it's not distinctive, it won't sell.

By Don Debelak

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

Rob Albert sold $46 million worth of products in 1999 andexpects to sell $120 million this year. He's also gotten fiveproducts onto the shelves of major retailers.without spendinga dime on advertising. How has Albert, 34, accomplished everyinventor's dream? By building his San Diego-based company,Evergreen Research and Marketing LLC, on one simple premise: Smallmanufacturers' products need a little something extra to standout among the competition.

This premise has proved good as gold since Albert started hisfirst business in 1989, selling horse shampoo with his brothers tofeed and tack stores. Albert visited stores throughout Florida andwas struggling to get sales when he learned some people were usingthe horse shampoo on their own tangled hair. When Albert realizedthat a shampoo that could detangle a horse's mane couldcertainly detangle even the gnarliest human hair, fireworks wentoff in his head. Within two years, more than 450 newspaper articleswere published on the Horse Shampoo. Albert sold over $30 millionof product, mostly in major retail stores, before selling thecompany in 1994.

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