Company: CME Information Services Inc.
Founded: by Lou Bucelli and seven partners in 1989
Location: Mount Laurel, N.J.
Business: Produces and markets medical education products and services
Start-Up Capital: $10,000

CME started by videotaping doctors' conventions and selling the recorded presentations to nonattending physicians who wanted to keep track of the latest developments. When customers began requesting coverage of a wider range of topics, founder Lou Bucelli recognized a broader market. Bootstrapping finances dictated that he produce the material himself, but to do so required medical knowledge he didn't have and couldn't afford to buy. His solution: create an advisory board of doctors. "It was amazing," he says. "I got input from talented physicians for virtually nothing." To this day he offers a modest honorarium, but some board members turn it down on the grounds that the opportunity to exchange ideas with their fellows is payment enough. Still others barter medical know-how for advice on starting a business.

This article was adapted from material that first appeared in Inc. magazine in August 1997.