Sarah Prevette is the CEO & founder of Sprouter. Sprouter is where founders get help with their startups. Sprouter allows entrepreneurs to get curated answers to small business questions from people who know what they’re talking about. The site’s carefully chosen panel of experts provide advice on a variety of topics including law, marketing and funding.

Sarah shares her experiences and lessons leaned before and after the launch of Sprouter.

Alltopstartups: What are the Lessons learned as an entrepreneur before the launch of Sprouter

Sarah. The biggest lesson I learned is that you don’t know what you don’t know. I made assumptions about my business plan without testing them first, and unfortunately many of them proved to be wrong. If you’re assuming something about your business – whether it’s the market opportunity, the target demographic, or funding needs – make sure you back them up with data, research and detailed plans.

Alltopstartups: What are the Lessons you learned after the  launch of Sprouter

Sarah. Since I launched Sprouter I’ve learned that iteration is key. We’re constantly looking for ways to improve the site, and adding or removing features based on user feedback. We always ask our users for suggestions, ideas, what they love, and what they hate. It helps us evolve Sprouter to something that is a must-use tool in someone’s day.

I’ve also learned how important marketing is to a startup. If you want customers, they first need to discover you. Gain visibility however you can through various channels, and get creative. It’s often a combination of tactics and not one silver bullet that will bring your name to the masses and help you build a brand.

Alltopstartups: What are the biggest challenges you have faced and how you did you solve them.

Sarah. One of the biggest challenges we’ve faced is doing as much as possible with limited resources. When you’re building a startup you don’t have extra people or time, so you have to do as much as possible in limited time frames with limited human capital. I’ve learned to really make the distinction between our necessary feature builds and our nice-to-have big ideas. The only way to remedy working with limited resources is to realize that you can’t possibly do everything you’d like to do, and to focus in on what will help the business the most.

Alltopstartups: What advice do you have for entrepreneurs chasing the startup dream

Sarah. Entrepreneurs need to test their idea. Talk to anyone and everyone you can to do informal market research. Find out if what you think is a need is actually a need. Also make sure you learn from the mistakes other entrepreneurs have made. There are so many resources that allow you to tap into existing knowledge bases – find them and learn how you can avoid the missteps of others. And finally, get out there and network! You may be inclined to stay at the office round the clock to work on developing the product, but saying is true – it’s all about who you know. Get out into your community, attend events and conferences, and make valuable connections.

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