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Simple Idea, Small Investment, Big Profits

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Before video games and unlimited text messaging, boys used their fingers to tap and flick a pointed paper object to pay a game they called “football” on any smooth table. It was finger football and it involved the constant risk of discomfort from the sharp points on the paper football smacking you in the face.

A safer board game version of finger football was created in 1989. But it died out after a brief stay on the market. The inventor of that board game has recently taken finger football to a new level. He is proof to the success that can result from resilient commitment to a home-based business.

The company founder kept his job while developing a product in his spare time. An investment of only $100,000 from an outside investor expanded the process. It permitted the company founder to quite his job and open a corporate office for Zelosport.

After a year of full-time commitment, the Zelosport finger football game was launched. It provides a football field configuration with soft footballs instead of the sharp pointy paper ones. The game sold 12,000 units in its first year, which is a phenomenal success in the game business. More than 80,000 games have sold over four years through seasonal mall kiosks, Amazon.com, and other retail outlets.

Zelosport is maintaining its low-cost approach for now without seeking mass production for the big-box retailers. But the ultimately wider market beckons as the company adds more games to its product line. Zelosport already has games available or in development that mimic baseball, hockey, basketball, soccer, golf, tennis, and auto racing. First, the company is promoting itself as a creator of custom branded products. For example, the football games can display the field and logo of any college or even high school. Coors Light asked Zelosport to create games with the brewery’s logo as gifts to its distributors.

Even in a high-tech era, the right low-tech offering can appeal to consumers. The success of Zelosport is evidence that a simple idea and small investment may yield big profits. The company started small and has still not exploited its potential.