7 Keys For Starting a Cannabis Business

Have you decided to start your very own cannabis business? Congratulations! Whether selling a product or service, there are key considerations that will give you a leg up and set you on the path to success. Here are some tips to make sure you’re entering the biggest hustle of your life on the right foot.  

Have a solid idea

You have an idea for your cannabis business. A genius, clever, sure-to-succeed idea. You’ve probably been thinking about this idea for a long time, and in every spare minute you had. You know the ins and out of your product or service and can imagine it working perfectly in your head as the most successful cannabis company out there. That’s great! Now it’s time to get stuff down on paper. Successfully communicating your idea is how you get a following and funding. Building a business plan gives yourself a roadmap to communicate your ideas to others and even help clarify things for you as well. Are you an entrepreneur thinking of starting a full-spectrum CBD edibles company? Are you opening a medical marijuana dispensary in your town? Are you a cannabis accountant that specializes in regulations? No matter who your are, the foundational elements are all similar—what’s your revenue model, what’s your goal, where is your funding coming from, what is your target market? By knowing where you want to be and how you plan to get there, you can set yourself up for success.  

Build a strong brand

Branding is one of the earliest things you will tackle—you need it to help communicate your product or service. Branding your business can even help you attract investments and will strengthen your pitch if investors can envision your idea. Branding is more than just a logo, and the strategy behind your branding will help inform a lot of your business decisions. Who you’re marketing to, what differentiates you from your competition, what your price point is—all of these factors work hand-in-hand with your brand identity. Core elements when sculpting a brand identity are your name, logo, values, story, mission statement, and secondary features like patterns and typography. All of these elements mix and match in beautiful ways to communicate to your audience your brand essence in an impactful way.  

Get organized

You’re only as strong as the tools you have—tools to just make life easier. And being organized will help you be an efficient entrepreneur. Every person’s use case is unique to them and their business, but here are some of my favorites: GSuite. Here at HIGHOPES we use GSuite, which is no surprise since Google is a leader in this field. It’s helpful to have one environment to live in during the workday—mail, documents, files, and communications are all in one spot. Some helpful lesser known benefits like team-folders, offline editing, and templates help streamline our process and enable us to get to the important stuff more quickly. Asana. We all need a place where we can brain dump all the sh*t in our minds and organize it in a way that is going to be helpful for us to be effective business owners. I love Asana because it is a flexible enough platform to employ different strategies for different workspaces—Kanban charts for visual plotting, gantt charts for our tightly scheduled projects, even templates for common setups to save on time. And we all know how precious time is. Headspace. While this one isn’t a direct connection to productivity, I wanted to emphasize how important mental health is so I decided to throw it into the mix. When you’re living the hustle, burnout is a real threat. By keeping yourself balanced, even if it’s just a few minutes of breathing, you can make a world of difference. Take a breather and come back recharged and ready to kick ass.  

Bridge your transition

Deciding to start a cannabis business is a huge leap, but don’t make the jump harder than it has to be. Keeping your day job enables you to have a steady income while the beginning stages of your new business might not be able to afford you that reliability. And when you have a safety net, you’re not in a scarcity mindset, so you’ll set yourself up for better headspace when you’re making decisions. It’s a hustle nearly every entrepreneur is familiar with, so you’re in good company.  

Think about the end

One of the difficult but crucial decisions you need to make as a cannabis business owner is when to quit. Over half of new businesses fail within the first five years of opening, so it is a good idea to be able to recognize when your business just isn’t going to succeed. It’s easier said than done, but it is important that you think beforehand about the metrics by which you will determine whether to move on or keep at it. Are there certain points in your business that you can take a look around and see if it’s met your minimum expectations? Sometimes the smartest thing to do is to recognize when you’ve reached a point where it won’t work and move on.  

Don’t be afraid to pivot

You obviously have the drive and passion for your idea. You wouldn’t be starting a business if you didn’t! But oftentimes we can get caught in the weeds of daily life—the decisions, the dumpster fires, urgent but not necessarily important questions—and we forget to take a step back and assess whether we’re going with the flow or wrestling our idea to work when it might not be a perfect fit. Sometimes when you feel like you’re hitting a wall, all you need to do is pivot, and you’ll open yourself and your company up to success. The cannabis space is one place that we’ve see pivoting as a planned move. With states coming into the medical marijuana game, a lot of business owners recognize the potential for recreational cannabis to be just a short distance down the road. They’re planning on the pivot. And they’re branding their company to capture both the current medical and potential recreational markets. Some companies plan to expand their business and begin with selling CBD while the cannabis regulations shake out. Once they have the logistics of their CBD business built out, then they tackle the medical and/or recreational market as well. Not all pivots are as well thought out, but that doesn’t mean that there isn’t value in a quick shift to align better with the market.  

Don’t stop learning

Last but not least, it’s important to remind yourself to never stop learning. Passion for your idea will propel you through the grind. But unless you’re informed about the decision that you’re making, you’re potentially risking your cannabis startup. Be conscious of your own skill set as well as your weaknesses. And don’t be afraid to not know something and ask someone who does. We can’t all be badasses in every field, and it really helps to have someone in your corner to share some of the load and help inform your decisions. Do you need a marketing plan for your CBD tinctures? Do you need packaging for your edibles? Do you need a PR strategy for your vape line? Specialists exist for this very reason—to help you succeed! While we can’t help you with all of these qualities, we can help you with branding and marketing services catered to the cannabis industry! Connect with us today to begin your journey to a successful cannabis business venture.
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