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Sprouter Resprouts!

By Miles Burke

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Back in Issue 473 of the Tribune, I penned an article about Sprouter, which was at the time, a similar service to Twitter, except focused on startups and entrepreneurs. Since then, they evolved into more of a Q&A service, similar to Quora, with events and a weekly email newsletter for entrepreneurs. All of this also focused tightly on business and startups, so it was more a shift than a entire overhaul.

Then it all came grinding to a halt. In July this year, I received an email where they announced they were closing; “unfortunately, due to capital constraints, we’ve simply run out of options.” A sad story indeed – however, the world is littered with startups that stumbled and eventually fell by the wayside.

Then, weeks after their expected closing date, I received another email, which stated “The lawyers have given us permission to tell you that there’s something going on and that we’ll be able to tell you about it soon… apparently, we just can’t tell you about it now.”

Sounds like there’s a new wind on their sails? Yes! They’ve just announced this week that a large Canadian traditional newspaper company has acquired them. Not only that, they are now hiring.

You may wonder what all of this has to do with you, particularly if you’ve never used Sprouter, however this gives a beacon of hope to all of those startups out there across the web who may be looking down a dark tunnel. I can see at least three great lessons to be learned here:

Don’t feel afraid to evolve. Too many business people end up failing due to their rock solid belief that sticking to their idea may pay off. If your business isn’t getting any traction, no matter how hard you work, perhaps it’s time to try to shift your focus.

Keep your community informed. I’ve shared a number of stories over the years where negative publicity has grown due to a company’s silence. Don’t wait until then – keep your clients and community informed. It may be daunting for some to share, however your community will respect you for it.

If all else fails, find a buyer or investor. If you are absolutely committed to an idea, and you really have 100% faith it would work, get financial help to avoid shutting the doors. Sprouter certainly has a great idea – let’s hope this capital injection saves them from what had looked to be certain failure.

Best of luck, and well done to Sarah and all the Sprouter team.

As Director of Bam Creative, and Chairperson of the Australian Web Industry Association, Miles spends his time managing his business or speaking about managing businesses. Recently awarded as one of the top Western Australian entrepreneurs under 40 years old, Miles can also be found writing at his blog.

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