Entrepreneurs share advice for the next generation of business leaders

Photos of the featured members.

The opinions expressed are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of Rolling Stone’s editors or publishers.

New businesses are opening up all the time, often by first-time entrepreneurs. And while thorough research, planning, and thoughtful decision-making can get you off to a good start on your entrepreneurial journey, nothing can prepare you for the real journey ahead.

With business experience comes great wisdom, and those who have been in business for a while can tell you that learning always comes before success. So, to help set the next generation of business leaders on the right track, members of Rolling Stone Cultural Council consider their own unique perspectives and share their top tips for those just starting out.

Sharpen your listening skills

Whether it’s employees, peers, or customers, truly understanding what others are trying to communicate has become a lost art. Successful leaders hear, process and act on what is relevant to the business. For successful people, it’s second nature in most interactions. – Scott Thomas, Genetec Inc.

Be flexible

In light of the challenges that all business owners have faced over the past two years, I would advise anyone considering opening their own business to be flexible. Be ready to pivot. Don’t get stuck on a particular method or product. Think outside the box when the going gets tough and be ready to try something new. Flexibility is essential to survive and thrive in an unstable economy. – Sheila Dedenbach, sweet celestial

Come in and help

Don’t focus too much on your role; Instead, look for ways to get involved, be helpful, and step in where you can. The road to success is built on opportunities, and opportunities are everywhere if you stop 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 personal investment! Invest in yourself and you can 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 bring an idea to market and pivot to avoid unexpected obstacles. Hire better than you and focus on the solutions rather than the problem. – Kelley Swing, Head Case Hair Studio

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Find a mentor

Winston Churchill once said, “The further back you can look, the more likely you are to see ahead.” We can accomplish looking back and looking forward by seeking out mentors. A mentor is that person who can guide you, assist you, take a genuine interest in your success and nurture your professional aspirations. A mentor is not transactional; if you’re lucky, it’s a lifelong relationship. – Marshal Ogen, CannabisBPO

Approach every business ethically and holistically

You must approach each business in the most ethical and holistic way 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 “Yes!” resounding. It’s the difference between running a business and running a business. – Shirin Etessam, OML

Follow your heart

If you feel in your gut or in your heart that something is wrong, follow these tips. Logic is not our only guide in business. – Klee Irwin, Irwin Naturals Inc.

Prioritize your needs

As a business leader, finding the support you need is a big part of your growth and your job. Be comfortable with asking for help and don’t be afraid of rejection. – Mo Ghoneim, artistic help