Opinions expressed are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of Rolling Stone editors or publishers.
New businesses are opening all the time, often by first-time entrepreneurs. And while thorough research, planning and thoughtful decision-making can give you a good start in your entrepreneurial journey, nothing can prepare you for the true journey that lies ahead.
With business experience comes a great deal of wisdom, and those who have been in business for any length of time can tell you that learning always comes before success. So, to help get the next generation of business leaders set on the right path, the members of Rolling Stone Culture Council consider their own unique perspectives and share their best advice for those just starting out.
Hone Your Listening Skills
Whether it’s employees, peers or clients, truly understanding what others are trying to communicate has become a lost art. Successful leaders hear, process and act on what’s relevant to the business. For successful people, it’s second nature in most interactions. – Scott Thomas, Genetec Inc.
In light of the past two years of challenges that all business owners have faced, I would advise anyone thinking of opening their own business to be flexible. Be prepared to pivot. Don’t get stuck on any one method or product. Think outside the box when things get tough, and be ready to try something new. Flexibility is key to surviving and thriving in an unsteady economy. – Sheila Dedenbach, Heavenly Sweet
Jump in and Help
Don’t focus so much on your role; instead, look for ways to get involved, be useful and jump in where you can. The road to success is built on opportunities, and opportunities are everywhere if you pause and look for them. People want to work with people they can count on. Who you know is important, but who knows and trusts you is everything. – Cynthia Johnson, Bell + Ivy
Invest in Yourself
The key to your future success is self-investment! Invest in yourself and you will be able to reach new heights. Educate yourself, learn from what isn’t working and hire a business coach for strategic innovation skills that can make all the difference when it comes time to market an idea and pivot to avoid unexpected roadblocks. Hire better than you, and focus on solutions rather than the problem. – Kelley Swing, Head Case Hair Studio
Find a Mentor
Winston Churchill once said, “The farther back you can look, the farther forward you are likely to see.” We can accomplish looking back and seeing forward through seeking mentors. A mentor is that one person who can steer you, assist you, take a true interest in your success and nurture your career aspirations. A mentor is not transactional; if you are lucky, it’s a lifelong relationship. – Marshall Ogen, CannabisBPO
Approach Each Venture Ethically and Holistically
You should approach each venture as ethically and holistically as possible. Is it good for the planet? Will it help people? Will the world be a better place with your product or service? The answer should be a resounding “Yes!” That is the difference between leading a business and business leadership. – Shirin Etessam, OML
Follow Your Heart
Prioritize Your Needs