The Startup Turning Point: When You Need to Ask for Help The stories of entrepreneurs who needed just one big breakthrough, and the four scenarios that got them there.
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It was another hair-pulling day on the startup front lines. Scott Rousseau had spent $700 to exhibit his gourmet sea salt at a retail trade show, but the place was a ghost town. "Nine hours a day for three days in a row, and it was a dead loss," recalls Rousseau, owner of Woburn, Mass.-based Beyond the Shaker.
Rousseau and the exhibitor in the next booth, a woman with a jewelry line, had plenty of time to get to know each other. A month later she reached out to him with an idea: She suggested that Rousseau take part in the wholesale New England Made trade show, despite its expensive price tag. Rousseau risked $2,000 on the tip, purchasing a booth at the 2012 show. The move paid off: He closed deals with 15 stores and two distributors. One of the distributors had her own trade show, which in turn led to 10 more accounts--a breakthrough event critical to Beyond the Shaker's growth, as it moved the company's focus to the wholesale arena.