The Roadmap to Success in the Cannabis Industry
The road to a successful cannabis business has several on-ramps. You’ve got to research where you want to go, how long it will take to get there, and what potential detours or roadblocks lie ahead. Whether you’re driving a Tesla or mini-van matters less than having a reliable roadmap and heeding the signs along the way.
Higher Yields Cannabis Consulting is a welcome center, safety checkpoint, and navigation guide for cannabis start-ups, scaling entrepreneurs, and the industry’s many stakeholders.
We opened our doors on the heels of Colorado’s recreational cannabis legalization to help a groundswell of applicants navigate each step of their journey from “seed-to-scale.” Now, we help clients in multiple states and across the globe.
I founded the company because I want to see people succeed in the cannabis industry and to see the industry succeed as a whole. Who succeeds is just as important. We want to see a robust, diverse market where quality and innovation can thrive.
That means helping grassroots businesses, pairing social equity applicants with investors, and educating successful entrepreneurs who are eyeing the cannabis niche.
We’ve grown our own grassroots company to include a broad scope of services designed to help new, established, and growing cannabis businesses. Our reputation and many “miles” of collective experience have led U.S. states and foreign governments to seek our expertise in helping them with various efforts including assistance with cannabis legislation.
However, no matter who we work with and how far we go in this industry, our primary goal is sharing our expertise and knowledge with those who can benefit from it most. Buckle up and learn what we’ve picked up over the years.
Chaos can’t drive a business plan. You may not know what to do or think about first, second, or third when starting a cannabis business. The key is to prioritize tasks so that you keep moving forward one mile-marker at a time.
Early on, I devised the Four Steps to Higher Enlightenment based on my own experience and working with clients. You can think of them as steps, milestones, buckets, or benchmarks to help you map out a plan for your business.
1. Find Your Path
Choosing your on-ramp onto the pathway toward a cannabis business is a critical step that requires proactive thought. What vertical(s) will you pursue? There are several paths and they are expanding. Will it be cultivation, infusing, dispensary, transportation, or some subset or combination of these options?
Once you decide where you want to go, you’ll arrive at the paperwork phase. You’ll be forced to stare at long sentences and legalese as you shore up agreements with partners and complete the license applications for your business.
The importance of your application can’t be overstated. If paperwork isn’t your forte, it can be well worth it to get help with this step so you’ll shine – and avoid disqualifying errors. The competition is fierce and winning a license can come down to a single point.
2. Design & Build
Everyone knows construction is synonymous with slow-downs. Your cultivation and processing facility or dispensary will require zoning approval, design, planning, and permitting – and that’s before you even break ground. You’ll have to wait for multiple governmental entities to wave you into your next stop along the design-build highway.
It’s equally important to get the right people for the job. For instance, you wouldn’t want your homebuilder uncle managing a specialized project the size and scope of a commercial cannabis build.
Unless you’re a builder with extensive commercial construction experience, pass on the temptation to manage the project yourself – even if you’re a wizard at managing a Fortune 500 company. Hire a pro after vetting them well.
3. Marketing & Branding
Marketing and branding are the face and voice of your product. Who are you? What do you offer? Why are you the right choice? These are questions whose answers can mean the success or failure of your business.
Creative souls can enjoy surfing a sea of color choices, package design, logos, and brilliantly scripted communication, but things like SEO, web design, and engineering a podcast require another skill set that not all creatives possess.
The regulations around cannabis marketing vary widely by state. You need to know where and how you can get exposure for your brand without earning negative attention from state regulatory agencies. Be sure you have a team member or consultant that knows the laws inside-and-out.
Creativity, along with technical and regulatory fluency are must-haves to develop the best possible brand and marketing strategies. As cannabis laws are evolving very rapidly, state-by-state, it pays to consider how your brand could stack up in terms of interstate marketing and sales when the time arrives.
4. Growth & Scaling
How many people like answering the interview question, “Where do you see yourself in five years?” When confronted with that question, you might have thought to yourself, “not here.” The good news is that you don’t have to be there, you can be here.
If you’re ready to expand, congratulations! However, it’s wise to consider this possibility from Day One.
Choosing your ideal entry point into the cannabis industry is important, but having a vision for the far future is inspired and may be critical to your survival.
There’s a seesaw of supply and demand to keep in mind. Plus, regulations are evolving and no one knows precisely what’s next – despite our best strategic predictions. Planning for growth is essential; having more than one plan is wise.
Are you going to grow bigger? Grow vertically? If you’re in a position to do so, you may also be thinking about a niche opportunity – a market not adequately fulfilled or one that’s not being well-served. Do all you can to research thoroughly ahead of execution.
States Requirements vs. State of Mind
At Higher Yields Cannabis Consulting, we strive to remain ahead of the curve as states continue to welcome cannabis commerce in some form or another. We’ve done roadshows to help unravel the intricacies of state requirements for aspiring applicants and have begun offering free webinars in a broader effort to provide that much-needed support.
We know that there’s a giant wall of information that can stop people before they even get started. We don’t want you to give up.
Everything can be broken down into manageable parts and pieces – from your business plan to licensing, building, compliance and a hundred other things that, all together, can seem overwhelming.
When you can’t see the forest for the trees, we help you zoom in on one tree at a time until you’re ready to zoom out and finally experience the 30,000-foot view of your business. We’re also here to fill gaps – knowledge gaps, personnel gaps, or gaps you might not have known you had until you hit an impasse.
Leading + Team Alchemy
As the CEO of Higher Yields Cannabis Consulting, I’m hands-on, touching down where needed. We offer many services to help segmented and vertically-integrated cannabis businesses succeed, which means we treat each client’s goals and business as a unique puzzle to solve. My responsibility is to step in and help find solutions that get you to your dream destination.
Teams are more than the sum of their parts. That’s true for us and our clients. You might have someone on your team whose career has been all things cannabis – someone extremely knowledgable with no business education. Then, that individual is paired with someone with a brand new MBA and no real experience.
Together, diverse perspectives get the job done. That’s how this industry operates best for those passionate about pursuing it.
At any point in your business journey, feel welcome to reach out to us to schedule a consultation and we’ll help you actualize what’s possible.