Entrepreneurs looking for advice on starting, growing, and managing their businesses have a lot of options online. Of course YoungEntrepreneur.com is a quality source of practical information, a number of entrepreneurial blogs are available to anyone who can perform a Google search, and there is a site called Sprouter.com. Sprouter is (now) a site where entrepreneurs can get their specific questions answered by other entrepreneurs who have been there and made it happen. We don't all have physical access to great mentors, and Sprouter helps bridge the gap between entrepreneurs in need and successful business people with advice and guidance.
We recently caught up with Sarah Prevette, the Founder and CEO of Sprouter.com. Sarah is a true entrepreneur in every sense of the word and always has fantastic advice for those looking to start and build their own business. Enjoy the interview, and don't forget to share your thoughts in the comments section!
You recently announced a redesign and re-focus of Sprouter.com.Â Can you tell us a little about this new direction?
We launched our Q&A functionality last summer, and we've been blown away by the response from the community and from expert entrepreneurs who have come forward to provide startup advice. We've had some amazing entrepreneurs give their advice on the site — people like Aaron Patzer from Mint.com and Mark Suster, a prominent investor and blogger. We decided to simplify the site to focus on the Q&A platform, instead of offering several services.
What prompted the changes you've made to Sprouter?
When we launched the Q&A functionality it was buried on a sub-domain, ask.sprouter.com. We wanted to bring the Q&A to the forefront of what we do to help entrepreneurs around the world, and make it easier for startups to ask questions and browse through answers.
You seem to truly care about entrepreneurs and want them to succeed. What is your philosophy behind this focus?
The reason I started Sprouter was because I had questions while building my last business, and I couldn't find anyone to answer them. Being an entrepreneur can be very isolating, especially if you don't have a strong network of fellow entrepreneurs, or if you don't live in a startup hotspot like Silicon Valley. My philosophy is that successful entrepreneurs want to pay their knowledge forward to the next generation of entrepreneurs, helping them learn and succeed with their businesses. It's been incredible to see entrepreneurs helping other entrepreneurs around the world.
What three pieces of advice do you have for a young entrepreneur just starting out?
- Test your idea. Talk to everyone to do informal market research. Find out if what you think is a need is actually a need.
- Don't be afraid to ask questions. Take advantage of resources like Sprouter to tap into existing knowledge bases and learn from other entrepreneurs' mistakes.
- Network, network, network. The old adage is true — it's all about who you know.
How do you personally define success?
I’m not sure there is a definitive end-game success. To me, it’s about little wins every day and ongoing progression. Success is continually elusive – as soon as a milestone is achieved, it’s on to the next one. Personally, I want to feel like I’m contributing, having impact, and pushing boundaries.