In the midst of life in the time of COVID-19, grocery stores are working 24/7 to thwart toilet paper pandemonium and keep staples like bread, bacon, and canned beans in stock. Meanwhile, doomsday preppers are sharing tips on Youtube, and guns and ammo are selling well – and so is cannabis. Cannabis is proving to be recession-proof, but there are still challenges. Learn what’s going on in the cannabis industry in a time of business as unusual.Continue reading
Why Work with Cannabis Consultants to Help Get Your License?
Because marijuana legalization is on the rise, with more than half the states in the United States legalizing cannabis in some form, it would appear that starting a marijuana business is easier than ever. However, because the cannabis industry is predicted to become a multi-billion industry that promises many business opportunities, competition has become increasingly fierce. Also, not all state marijuana programs are created equal; each will have its own regulatory compliance requirements, regulations for cannabis retailers and cannabis manufacturers, and application processes.
Cannabis laws and regulations vary from state to state. Some states have a limited number of licenses to award. Because the state cannabis program regulators and license evaluators expect to get hundreds, if not thousands, of applications when they open application windows, they will use a scoring methodology to rank applicants. Therefore, licenses will be awarded to applicants based on merit. In this guide, we will discuss the benefits of working with cannabis consulting firms and how they can help you get a cannabis license.
Complete All the Application Requirements on Time
Because cannabis applications are massive documents, it typically takes 4-6 weeks to complete the application, on average. While the exact requirements for cannabis licensing and permitting will vary from state to state, most applications will require a business plan, standard operating procedures (SOPs), strong financials, cannabis-friendly real estate, and background checks.
All these requirements take time and money to complete. The business plan alone needs to be a well-crafted document that demonstrates your ability to operate a cannabis business that is profitable and achieve cannabis compliance. Your business’s SOPs will need to be a detailed documentation of your facility’s processes and procedures.
Demonstrating that you have adequate funding to become a fully licensed cannabis business will require gathering all the documentation that shows you have a legal source of funding. This also involves financial documents showing your purchases, such as real estate, design build payments, employee salaries, and all other costs involved in getting your facility operational.
You also need to secure cannabis-friendly real estate. Because this is one of the many requirements for getting your application completed and considered for licensing, a cannabis consulting company can help you with site selection so you can find property that adheres to safety and security standards and meets all the relevant regulations and zoning restrictions for your particular cannabis business type, specifically for your state.
When you allow a cannabis consultant to become an extension of your team, you will have marijuana professionals who will ensure you complete your requirements and meet your deadlines. Using tested processes, they will create a timeline that schedules every aspect of the application to ensure each section is completed in a timely manner.
Gain Competitive Edge and Stand OutWhile you may have experience and skill in running a business, you may not have expertise in each aspect of the cannabis industry. These include cannabis laws and regulations, tax compliance, facility safety and security requirements, marijuana cultivation processes, extraction technology, and so on. Experienced cannabis consulting companies are comprised of teams of experts that specialize in the various fields of the marijuana industry. This includes lawyers with in-depth knowledge of state and federal marijuana laws, policies, and cannabis regulations. The team will also likely have finance experts to ensure you can demonstrate tax and accounting compliance. Expert cannabis marketers know the restrictions involved in marijuana marketing. And skilled marijuana architects and engineers will ensure your cannabis facility design and construction complies with your state’s cannabis safety and operational regulations. Each of these cannabis experts will help ensure that each aspect of your application is completely professional to demonstrate competency. With years of experience in completing marijuana licensing applications, an experienced cannabis consultancy firm knows what it takes to make your application stand out. Leveraging application templates and customizable formats, your application will benefit from a strong structure that has been effective at winning business licenses.
Leverage the The Skills of Expert Industry Researchers and Writers
Cannabis consulting companies have professional application writers who are skilled at technical writing, researching, and proofreading. So not only do they have extensive knowledge in the cannabis industry, but they can also write your application in a concise and clear manner. They will tackle all the tough questions and demonstrate your business’s ability to become successful and profitable.
Whether your business is a grow facility, dispensary, cannabis testing lab, or vertically integrated company in the medical cannabis or recreational marijuana market, the right licensing consultant and professional application writers will ensure your narrative is clear, consistent, and compelling.
Cannabis applications are composed of dozens of worksheets with some applications reaching over a hundred pages. Each section will typically have a word limit, making it crucial that you write your answers in a manner that is concise and clear. It may surprise you that many marijuana applications have been dismissed due to a technicality, such as a missed or incomplete section. Professional technical writers are thorough and diligent about double-checking all their work to ensure your application is complete and competitive.
When you trust a qualified, cannabis application writer to help you complete the written portions of your application, you can be assured that the writing will not only be captivating but consistent, but free of punctuation and grammar areas. They will also ensure that the writing is free of biases that may raise red flags.
ConclusionApplying for licenses in the highly competitive marijuana industry is time-consuming and complex. It’s impossible to complete entirely on your own, without help from marijuana professionals. If you attempt to do it on your own because you believe it is a way to save money, you will likely discover the hard way that you may not meet the deadlines or complete the sections. Becoming a cannabis business owner is costly due to application fees, license fees, cannabis real estate requirements, and equipment and technology. It would be a shame to invest so heavily in launching your business and prepare it for operations, only to lose what may be your only chance to secure a license. Keep in mind that most, if not all, cannabis application fees are non-refundable. Should you not be awarded a license, not only will the $5,000-$10,000 application fee not be returned to you, but you will need to have a contingency plan for the property you have acquired. Therefore, it would be wise to choose the right cannabis licensing consultant to help you win a coveted license and make the most of your investment.
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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.Continue reading
The How-To Guide to Cannabis Licensing
The increasing number of states passing legislation for the legalization of marijuana and the removal of hemp from the Controlled Substances Act has led to heightened interest in participating in the cannabis industry.
As the cannabis marketplace evolves, stigma surrounding the plant fades, and consumer demand continues to rise. There has never been a better time to participate in what is predicted to be a multi-billion marketplace. However, because marijuana legalization varies from state to state, you will need to familiarize yourself with your state’s specific cannabis program and its rules and regulations. State laws establish who may cultivate or sell cannabis without prosecution under federal law.
Before you get started, you will need to determine the type of licensing, permitting, and documents your marijuana business requires. The different types of cannabis businesses will have their own set of requirements and application processes. In this guide, we will discuss the types of medical marijuana business licenses, how to apply for a cannabis license, and the benefits of working with cannabis consultants to get a license. We will also discuss the business opportunities in the industrial hemp space.
Types of Marijuana Business Licenses
There are various types of marijuana businesses and therefore, different license types. Before you begin the cannabis application process, you need to determine the type of cannabis business you are planning to launch. If your state has both a recreational and medical marijuana program, you have more opportunities to explore. Investing in the recreational cannabis space means access to a broader audience and not having to deal with the paperwork and regulations associated with medical cannabis.
However, if your state does not have a recreational or adult-use marijuana program, an investment in medical marijuana also comes with its benefits. As a medical marijuana business, you would be providing patients with qualifying conditions access to cannabis products that will improve their quality of life.
While you may want to start a cannabis business that deals in both medical and recreational marijuana, you may also have to refine your decision by choosing the specific type of business. Keep in mind that the terms for marijuana businesses are different from state to state. For example, a growing facility may be called a cultivation center in a different state, while a dispensary will be referred to as a retail store by another state. The following are the most common types of cannabis business licenses:
Dispensary – Consumers are most familiar with marijuana dispensaries because they are the brick and mortar establishments or retail stores where they can physically purchase marijuana products. A cannabis dispensary or retail marijuana business is ideal for the entrepreneur who enjoys facing the consumers. Keep in mind that most states have strict regulations for dispensaries, such as locations that must be more than 500-1000 feet from schools, churches, etc.
Cultivation – There are outdoor and indoor growing facilities, also known as cultivation centers. However, outdoor growing facilities are only established in states where the climate and state restrictions allow for outdoor marijuana production. Whether indoors or outdoors, growing facilities are usually required to be located away from schools, parks, libraries, or any other establishments that cater to minors.
Because most state laws typically require that cultivation operations or cannabis production facilities be in remote locations, you can enjoy benefits like security and potential for future expansions. Cannabis production facilities require a significant investment because space, infrastructure, equipment, and soil costs can add up. The growing facility will also need proper ventilation, climate control, irrigation control systems, and the right lighting.
Extraction – Currently, the majority of marijuana sales are concentrates and cannabis extracts. With this kind of demand, starting an extraction operation is a good way to enter the cannabis industry.
Using special extraction systems and skilled extraction technicians, extraction labs take the marijuana plant and apply industrial solvents, heat, and pressure to the plant to extract pure compounds. You will also need to decide which of the many extraction and refinement methods your extraction lab will focus on; this will determine your equipment, labor, laboratory, and licensing requirements.
Processing and Manufacturing – Processors and manufacturers are licensed to purchase marijuana to process it and manufacture it into marijuana products like oils, tinctures, ointments, edibles, and so on.
Distributor – Marijuana distributors are licensed to transport cannabis products from a marijuana establishment to another marijuana establishment. For example, a distributor may transport marijuana from a cultivation facility to a dispensary.
Vertically Integrated Cannabis Business – Vertical integration in the cannabis industry refers to a cannabis company that controls more than one stage of the cannabis supply chain. Achieving vertical integration means consolidating the cannabis production processes by not only growing and processing the product but also distributing it to other businesses or individual consumers.
The Industrial Hemp Program
Hemp has been removed from the Controlled Substances Act, making it legal on a federal level under the 2018 Farm Bill or Agriculture Improvement Act of 2018. Industrial hemp is used for over 25,000 industrial and commercial products, which makes it a cash crop with the potential to be a highly lucrative industry. However, hemp, like marijuana, is regulated by states, and farmers, researchers, and entrepreneurs will still need a license to operate.
How to Get a License to Grow Hemp
The Agricultural Marketing Service of the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) has set up the national hemp growing program. While you can apply for a federal license at the USDA, they won’t be available in the states that ban the commercial growing of hemp. As of the time this article was written, South Dakota, Mississippi, Idaho, and New Hampshire are states with these laws.
The USDA will be accepting license applications year-round, with licenses valid for one calendar year. The USDA has also established a rule that all hemp plants will be tested at a Drug Enforcement Administration-registered laboratory to ensure their THC levels remain within legal limits.
Basic Requirements for a Cannabis License Application
While marijuana legalization and industrial hemp laws vary from state to state, those that have cannabis programs typically have an application process that involves some common factors that application “judges” will require. The following are the more common requirements for cannabis business application:
Business Plan – Marijuana program regulators will need to determine your readiness to operate a legal cannabis business. Therefore, your business plan should be a document that demonstrates your ability to run a productive and profitable marijuana business that follows relevant regulations.
A cannabis business plan follows the outline of traditional business plans. They will have sections like the executive summary, industry overview, market analysis, competitive analysis, sales and marketing plan, ownership structure, operating plan, and financials.
For a cannabis business, your business plan should also include any information that supports your marijuana business idea, such as cannabis market studies and descriptions of your products. This is why it’s crucial to study state-specific cannabis regulations.
Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) – The application reviewers and analysts will need to determine your ability to maintain a safe and secure facility. You’ll need to create clear and actionable SOPs that outline your processes, explain why they are performed, and who is expected to execute the processes. The goal is to prove that you can stay on top of the constantly shifting rules and regulations of the cannabis industry.
Your SOPs should also detail your procedures for health and safety issues, equipment and supplies, and emergencies. Each procedure should be mapped out in detail. Pay attention to any language or wording that may cause miscommunication, which may lead to accidents or legal action.
Financial Plan and Proof of Funding – The application process itself can be costly, with some states requiring thousands of dollars in application and license fees. Therefore, you need to demonstrate that you have strong financials to not only proceed with the application process but to also build and launch your intended cannabis business.
The costs of launching and operating a fully licensed marijuana business requires strong financials and a legal source of funding. Beyond the hefty application fee and renewal fee that range between $5,000 – $10,000, there are the real estate costs, ongoing costs to operate, and staffing. You also need to factor in business equipment, security and surveillance systems, marketing, and capital requirements.
Cannabis Real Estate – Know your local regulations before investing in real estate. Before applying for a license, you will need to have secured cannabis-friendly property that meets all the requirements of your type of cannabis business. For example, your dispensary should be in a location that complies with the state’s zoning restrictions, which likely involve operating at a specified distance from a school.
Keep in mind that not all properties are considered “cannabis friendly.” While your state may approve your location, there’s the reality that your landlord may not approve. If you intend to rent a space, be upfront with the building owner about the nature of your business. This will help avoid problems in the future. Higher Yields has an in-house cannabis real estate team that can help you find the perfect property.
Background Checks – You will need to provide proof that you don’t have any felony convictions. Whether you are applying as the owner, or you are an investor, licenses are typically not granted to those with a criminal past.
For example, applicants for the USDA Hemp program need to provide an FBI criminal history report. You cannot receive a hemp production license if you have been convicted of a controlled substance-related felony in the last 10 years.
Why Work with Cannabis Consultants to Help Get Your Cannabis Business License?
What makes the cannabis business license so rigorous and time-consuming is the dozens of pages and sections that you will need to fill out. However, completing all the sections of the application form isn’t the only challenge. Some states only have a limited number of licenses to award. The state licensing authority may use a scoring methodology that ranks applications and awards licenses to those that perform the highest. This means that meeting the minimum requirements is typically not enough for you to win a coveted license; you need to ensure your application stands out.
Cannabis consulting services provide you with everything you need to accomplish your cannabis application. Here’s what you can expect when you leverage the skills of an experienced team of cannabis application writers:
Meet Deadlines – Some marijuana license applications are massive documents composed of dozens or hundreds of sections. Completing and submitting an application is something that cannot possibly be done overnight. On average, you will need at least 4-6 weeks to complete the application.
Cannabis consultants help you avoid common mistakes that many make when tackling the complex cannabis license application process. Because cannabis licensing consultants have vast experience in winning marijuana business licenses, they know to never underestimate the time it takes to finish the application.
From the moment you ask for their help, they will create a timeline that plans out every aspect of the application. Meeting deadlines is one of the most impressive qualities of expert cannabis application writers. The ability to complete applications in a timely manner comes from years of experience and detailed knowledge of state cannabis laws and regulations.
Competitive Content Thanks to Specialized Skills – Cannabis business applications are massive compilations of documents that require the expertise of all aspects of a cannabis business, from the business plan and SOPs to facility design and financials. Therefore, the best way to approach cannabis licensing is to leverage the expertise of consultants who make it their mission to ensure you’re awarded a license.
Cannabis consulting companies have a team of marijuana experts that specialize in different fields of the cannabis industry, including tax accounting, compliance, real estate, facility design, and so on. Because they have in-depth knowledge of each state’s licensing system and approval process, they have the skill to complete each section of your application properly. This minimizes the risk of getting your application rejected over a technicality.
Expert Writing and Research Skills – Some applications have word limits for each section. This is where the services of an expert cannabis technical writer bring the most value. They will use clear, concise language that will demonstrate in-depth cannabis expertise and your business’s potential to have a positive economic impact.
Qualified technical writers are not only skilled writers but also thorough researchers and diligent proofreaders. As experienced cannabis application writers that are knowledgeable in your state’s marijuana business rules and regulations, they will be careful to write in a manner that meets the expectations of your city or state. And as meticulous proofreaders, they will double- and even triple-check each section for inconsistencies, grammar and punctuation errors, and to ensure nothing is missed.
Demonstrate Profitability and Compliance – The goal of any good cannabis application writer is to prove that you will be a productive and profitable marijuana business operator. They will answer the tough questions surrounding your business in areas like security, storage, taxes, accounting, compliance, insurance, marketing, legal protections, and so on.
Cannabis application writers will also ensure that the content is free of any biases. Many people who attempt to accomplish the application on their own may not realize that answers that are too passionate may hurt their chances of being awarded a license. While it’s done with good intentions, the panel reviewing the applications don’t want biased opinions or humor; they want your application to demonstrate your technical understanding of the processes and operations of running a cannabis business. More than anything, they want to determine your business’s potential for profitability while remaining compliant to state marijuana policies and regulations.
Competitive Edge – If your state is still in the process of legalizing recreational marijuana or still refining its medical marijuana program, a cannabis consultant can help you get a headstart on the competition. A pre-license assessment can help you identify your gaps, weaknesses, and areas where you can improve to ensure you’re ready when your state opens the application window for business licensing.
Each state will have its own rules, policies, regulations, and restrictions when it comes to the cannabis licensing process. Lack of understanding of state-specific laws, licensing information, and the complexities of the marijuana business application process can lead people to underestimate the required timelines and resources.
It’s beneficial to seek the expertise of professional consultants who have a comprehensive understanding of the industry. Many don’t realize that business license applications may be dismissed due to a technicality, such as an incomplete section or missing documents. Because the application process itself can be time-consuming and expensive, it would be a shame to lose what may be your only shot at winning a license because you attempted to do it on your own. Therefore, working with a cannabis consultant when applying for a marijuana license should be approached as an investment.
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Getting started in the cannabis industry can be like working a Level 10 jigsaw puzzle. Some pieces may be easy to put together while others can be stubbornly challenging. Fitting them all together is not for the uninitiated. One of the greatest rewards of my work at Higher Yields Cannabis Consulting is helping people sort through and assemble that jumble of pieces into a blueprint for the success they envision for their cannabis businesses. At Higher Yields Cannabis Consulting, we don’t believe any goal is too far off the map; rather, we show them the way.Continue reading
Recently, the state announced that the next round of applications will be open as of January 7th, 2020 for craft grow, infuser, and transportation licenses. Now, my team and I at Higher Yields Consulting are gearing up to host our second Illinois Roadshow to make sure potential applicants have all the tools, tips, tricks, and knowledge they need to submit a power-packed application. If you’re considering submitting an application, here’s what we learned from our first Illinois Roadshow, the number one thing that makes cannabis businesses fail, and what you can do to give yourself your best chance at winning a license.Continue reading
5 Tips For Finding Cannabis Real Estate
You’ve decided to open a cannabis business, but first thing is first. You need a piece of real estate to operate on.
Finding the perfect piece of real estate is usually the first step in applying for a cannabis business license, whether it is for a dispensary, a cultivation operation, an extraction lab, a consumption lounge or a distribution headquarters. No matter what aspect of the cannabis space you hope to work in, your property choices will be a huge factor in the success of your application – and your eventual business. Planning ahead to make the right choices on property can be the difference between colossal failure and a thriving business.
Commercial Cannabis Real Estate Properties – Where to Start?Not sure where to start? You aren’t the only one. But don’t worry. John Valdez, Higher Yield Consulting’s top real estate broker and VP, is here to help with our best tips for finding the right cannabis real estate for you. Read on to learn how to find your ideal property and set your cannabis business up for success:
1. Location, Location, Location is Paramount When It Comes To Commercial Marijuana Real Estate
The old saying about what’s most important in real estate “location, location, location” applies to cannabis as much as anything else. When you are choosing where to operate your business “the main thing is your location” explains Valdez.
Still, the considerations about location might differ depending on your business type. So think about what your business will need to thrive. For example, Valdez suggests that “if you are doing a cultivation facility, you want to build that close to transportation, where you can get your product out the door soon as you can.” On the other hand, Valdez says that “if you’re doing a dispensary, you want to make sure that you have good foot traffic, because you want a location where you’re clients are able to get to you easily.”
Your location will have a big impact on what you can really do with your business so make sure you find the right place to launch – with everything your business needs to succeed.
2. Learn the Local Cannabis Business and Real Estate Regulations
As you consider location, you should also learn about the local regulations for cannabis businesses in that area. It’s no good finding your perfect piece of real estate only to realize that it doesn’t have the right zoning for your business type. And these local regulations can be much more complicated than just zoning.
“Zoning is a key thing,” explains Valdez “but you want to make sure that the municipality is allowing that type of use.” There are so many aspects to these regulations, it can be easy to overlook something. “I’ve been working with consumption clubs lately” Valdez offers as an example, “and in Colorado setbacks are different for consumption clubs than they are for a dispensary.” Tiny errors on calculations for things like setbacks can be the difference between buying a usable or unusable property. So make sure you have experts on your team who can delve into the local laws and understand what you need.
3. Find a Broker and Cannabis Real Estate Team You Can Rely On
When it comes to your real estate broker, make sure you find someone who you can trust to navigate the complicated task of finding your property. “A broker that’s in the cannabis industry is crucial to having a successful closing and start up to your company” explains Valdez. “If you have somebody that doesn’t know what they’re doing, you can tie your project up for a long time before you even start that application.”
For this reason, Valdez says “one of the biggest things that I would recommend to you when you’re looking at real estate for cannabis is hiring a professional, not only a professional broker but hiring a professional team.”
Cannabis specific real estate brokers understand the rules and regulations involved in using a property for cannabis and they already have contacts in the space. This is needed for finding the right property. Still this knowledge could be strengthened with the help of a good consultant. “Brokers should have a general idea of what the local restrictions are going to be, but having a consultant to verify it is also going to be key” says Valdez.
In addition to your broker and consultant, a good design expert is also a crucial member of the team. They can help assess what improvements might be needed to make a property functional, so you can make an informed purchase.
4. Pay Attention to Available Services
When considering a property, you should also look at the services available. Depending on your business, you may need particular services like access to enough electricity to power an indoor grow, or good internet access for a business headquarters. Whatever your service needs, you may want to find a property that already meets them. “What kind of service is on the property?” asks Valdez “Because your electrical service, your heating, your air conditioning service, those are things that you want to take a look at because those are high dollar items.”
You might plan to just upgrade your services when you move in, but in some areas upgrades aren’t possible or are extremely expensive. It’s best to plan and budget all of this before you make the final purchase. The last thing you want is to buy a property that you can’t make work.
5. Consider Retrofitting a Potential Cannabis Property Carefully
This brings us to the last tip – consider retrofitting carefully. When you are deciding whether to build a new building, retrofit an old one, or just find a property that already has what you need, it might seem like retrofitting is the cost saving option. But that’s not always the case – so a cost/benefit analysis is key for this decision. “For retro-fitting you want to make sure to see what you’re going to be able to salvage and what the build is going to be on it” explains Valdez.
To figure this out you need to know how much are you going to have to spend on the build out for a retrofit or renovation on the property. “Sometimes you can look at it and say, ‘hey, it’s going to cost us an extra $800,000 to build this out.’ Let’s take a look at building a facility from dirt.”
Before buying your property, think carefully about what kind of site improvements will be required. When these improvements are ignored, something as simple as a sprinkler system could add hundreds of thousands of dollars to your costs.
The Importance Of Commercial Cannabis Real Estate
Those are our best tips for finding your perfect property, but they just brush the surface of this complicated process. If you are still feeling confused on how to proceed, Higher Yields Cannabis Consulting can help. Our knowledgeable consultants have helped cannabis businesses in over 30 states to find the right property and successfully launch. We can help your business navigate the process as well.
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How to Build a Strong Cannabis Dispensary Team
Building Your Cannabis Business Executive Team
Opening a dispensary can be a big project, with a lot of steps along the way. But one of the first and most crucial steps in putting together a successful dispensary plan is building a strong executive team. These foundational decisions about who will join your team can affect every other aspect of your business, from applying for a license, to day-to-day transactions with customers. Making sure you have a strong, cohesive team of experts will set you up for success and ensure that your dispensary gets off on the right foot.
Not sure where to get started? Here are our top tips for building your executive team:
Cover Needed Team Roles
While building your team, it’s important to start by considering the important roles that need to be filled to create a successful dispensary.
Your executive team should include a CEO or someone who is heading up the vision of the project, as well as a strong financial partner who has the funds to make your business dreams a reality. You will also need someone with the experience and skills to keep the books, and make sure your financial plans for the future stay on track.
Having a director of retail operations is also must for any dispensary. This person will run the sales side of things, which is key for the dispensary model.
Another important role is the compliance officer. There is a lot of red tape, and tricky regulations to navigate when opening a dispensary. Having someone focused entirely on keeping your dispensary compliant will help avoid a lot of risks and headaches for your business.
Because dispensaries tend to employ a lot of staff, having an HR director can also help. You will need to stay compliant with employment law, and manage things like health insurance and employee complaints. An HR director can focus entirely on these tasks.
Another important role is the Director of Security. This person will create a security plan for your dispensary, and ensure the safety of your staff, customers and product.
Finally, some states actually require a doctor or pharmacist be on the team. This isn’t always the case, but even when it isn’t – this expertise can be a big help on any team.
Filling all these roles is important, but this can be done in so many ways. Sometimes one person takes on a multiple roles, or some roles might be filled by consultants or temporary hires. What’s key is that someone is responsible for each of these areas. So start a list of the roles you need filled and look for the best people to fill them.
Fill Your Team with Experts
As you begin to find candidates for your team, consider their level of expertise. To set yourself up for success, look for experts in whatever role you are filling. Sometimes these experts come from the cannabis space, and have a lot of direct experience working with this plant and industry. In other cases, your experts might come from other fields but have expertise in a particular role (such as sales, HR, real estate, or book-keeping). What’s important is that they have a strong skill set for the kind of work they will be doing in your company.
Check Track Records
It’s also a good idea to check a candidate’s track records. Have they had a lot of success doing the kind of work they will be doing for you? In many states, applications are judged based on merit. This means they are more likely to give out licenses to those with a strong proven track record for success in cannabis, making money and paying the bills on time. If you put together a strong team with members who have a history of success in the type of work your company will be engaged in, you may have a better chance at having your dispensary license application approved – and you’ll also be set up for a successful business.
On the other side of things, you might want to do some background checks on the people you’ll be teaming up with. Criminal records never look great on a license application.
Include Locals in Your Cannabis Dispensary
While expertise is key, location can make a big difference as well. If you are opening a dispensary in an area that you don’t live, teaming up with some locals is a great idea. Most local governments aren’t friendly to the idea of people coming in from outside to create cannabis businesses, and make money off their citizens without creating any jobs. If you’re team is coming in to a new location, having some locals on the executive team can help to build a local presence and show regulators that you are interested in bringing jobs to the local community.
Consider Culture Fit
It’s also incredibly important to consider the culture fit between members of your team. Even if you put together a team full of brilliant experts – if they can’t get along, your business may be doomed to fail. Many businesses fall apart because of conflict on the executive team. So make sure that your team makes sense as a cohesive unit before you launch into a business together.
Use Cannabis Consultants to Fill in Gaps
While an ideal dispensary plan might include all the roles listed above, it’s not always possible or necessary to have each of these roles filled by a full-time employee. A more pared down executive team can sometimes make more sense, as it can be more affordable and agile. The smaller your operation, the more likely it is that a smaller executive team makes sense for you.
If you find that you can’t fill all the roles listed with a full time staff – don’t worry. There are so many options for services and consultants who can fill in the gaps. From HR services, to lawyers, to CPA’s, there are a lot of experts who can be hired to do specific work so your staff doesn’t have to. If cannabis specific expertise is what you need, you can also find cannabis specific consultants who can guide you through the complicated details of this highly regulated, high-reward industry.
At Higher Yield Cannabis Consulting, we’ve helped many executive teams fill in the gaps in their cannabis expertise, and successfully launch into the cannabis space. We’d be happy to help fill the gaps in your team as well – or help you find team members that are a perfect fit.
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Creating a Cannabis Business Plan
Cannabis Business Plan – Where to Start
Trying to start your cannabis business plan? It’s one of the most important documents you’ll create when it comes to the success of your business, so it’s worth putting in some time to get it right. Not only should this lay out all the details of how you’ll pull off your big cannabis business idea, but it is also the document that investors will look at to decide whether your business is worth taking a risk on.
At Higher Yields Consulting, we’ve helped many entrepreneurs to craft successful business plans that entice investors and set up a business for success. So, we thought we’d share some tips on how to create a business plan that makes investors take notice.
Gather All The Pieces for s Successful Cannabis Business Plan
Once you have a strong idea for your cannabis business, you’ll want to spend some time figuring out what you need to make it happen. You may already have some pieces of the picture in place, so start with what you have and then figure out what else you will need. Perhaps you already have a strong team, but need to find a piece of real estate to operate from. Maybe you already have a piece of land, but you need a financial partner to fund development of the property.
Get together the details of everything you need to make this cannabis businessplan to work, such as real estate, a strong team, a business strategy, and well developed financials. If you find something is missing, research and then describe what it will take to obtain it. This could mean spelling out the cost of the real estate you’d like to purchase, or the cost of recruiting that expert you need on the team. Whatever it is, if it is required to make your business function, it should be included in one way or another in the business plan.
Create a Strong Strategy with Cannabusiness Financial Plans
Creating a strong strategy with realistic financials is also a huge part of the battle when it comes to making a successful business plan. Your investors want to know that you have a strategy for how to create and sustain this business in its current market. Consider how your business will stand out from the crowd? Do you have any competitive advantages when compared to the competition? How will you grow your brand and market share over time? Developing this part of the plan can take a lot of creativity and business experience. But, it is also the part of your plan that lays out how you will move forward. If it isn’t well developed – you probably aren’t ready to start a business. If you aren’t confident in what you have, find help from consultants or other experts in the field to develop something great.
Include an Exit Plan
One of the most important parts of a business plan, from an investor’s point of view, is the exit plan. You might think it’s bad form to talk about what might go wrong in your business, while trying to convince an investor to fund your project. But actually, this is one of the key aspects of the plan that investors look for. While your investor might believe in the business and its potential for success, they also know that 90% of startups fail, and this one might too. So investors want to know that there is an exit strategy for how to recoup costs if things don’t go to plan. This might be as simple as reselling or leasing the property that was being used, or even selling off your cannabis license to a bigger player in space. So look over the assets you have or want to acquire. What could you do to recoup funds if things go south and you need to shut down?
Get Help Filling in the Gaps
It’s not at all unusual for an entrepreneur to feel overwhelmed by the task of creating a business plan. It’s a big task with a lot of complex pieces, and it requires expertise in a lot of different areas. If you are doing it by yourself, you’ll likely find there are gaps in your knowledge where experts might be able to offer assistance. There is no shame in asking for help. This business plan will set up your entire operation for success or failure so find help from consultants or other experts to fill in the gaps.
When we work with clients at Higher Yields Consulting, we utilize our experience to help steer them in the right direction. We’ve been through business plan creation so many times, and can help clients develop a strong strategy, build solid financials and avoid common pitfalls in the planning process. We can even help navigate tricky questions like how much equity to preserve while still making an enticing offer to investors.
If you need help crafting your business plan, contact us to see how our team of consultants can help you create a plan that will stand out from the crowd and make investors want to sign on the dotted line.
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Cannabis Business Planning 101: Finding Your Big Idea
Planning For Your Big Cannabis Business Idea
The green rush is here. With more and more areas in the US and abroad shifting their policies to allow for legal cannabis, the marijuana industry has become the fastest growing industry in the world. Still, while many want to get involved with the space and cash in on the rapidly expanding market, not everyone has found a big cannabis business idea that can can stand out against the competition. Let our consultants help you understand proper cannabis business planning from the ground up.
At Higher Yields Consulting, part of our work is to help cannabis entrepreneurs brainstorm big ideas that can bring even bigger returns. So we thought we’d share some of the basic steps you can use when brainstorming your own big idea.
Assess Your Expertise – Do You Need a Cannabis Business Consultant?
When we work with clients on brainstorming business ideas, we usually start by assessing their team and the expertise they bring to the table. So to get started with your own brainstorming session, consider the backgrounds of the people on your team. What skills do they have which might transfer to the cannabis industry? If someone comes from real estate, this could be helpful for more real estate driven business models. Does your team have a background in sales? Perhaps distribution is a good fit. Come from a manufacturing background? You might do well with extraction or product manufacturing. Got a talented chef in the mix? Try doing something with edibles. Will you need to bring in cannabis business consultants to help you accomplish your goals?
Whatever skill sets are present on your team should be the starting point for your brainstorming process. There is no point moving forward on a brilliant business idea, if your team won’t be able to actually pull it off. So make sure you design a plan that speaks to your expertise and feels like something you can make happen.
Cannabis Business Planning – Understand Your Market
While it’s key to start with your own teams expertise, you also have to find an idea that fits into the market you are working in. Even if you craft the perfect plan for your team, if it doesn’t work well in your particular area, it’s just not the right idea. So you will also have to look at where you are at, and how to modify your plans so that they make sense in that context.
Part of this stage is looking at the cannabis services already available in your market. You want to notice if there are gaps (areas where a service or product is needed) or areas of over saturation.
For example, in Colorado there is an over saturation of cannabis cultivators, but much fewer cannabis dispensaries. In this market you can make a lot more money opening up a cannabis shop than you could trying to compete as a cultivator with a stand-alone grow facility. So if cultivation is your team’s skill set, but your in Colorado, a market that is over saturated with cultivators, you’ll need a good plan. You might consider a plan that includes vertical integration so you can cash in on your growing skills by selling your cannabis through your own storefront. These market factors can be the difference between success and failure, so you should always take them into account when you are brainstorming your big idea.
Calibrate Your Financials
Finally, it’s important that your idea has the financials to support it. It’s great to dream big, but you need to have a realistic plan for reaching those big goals. If you know you have a certain budget, make sure that your plans are achievable within that budget. If you are courting investors as part of the process, you’ll need to have a strong business plan with a financial strategy that shows you understand what it will take to make your idea happen, and how much return your investors can expect to get back. Your numbers need to make sense with your plan and show that the business can be profitable. This will not only put investors at ease and increase the likelihood that they will want to invest, it will also ensure that your plan has it’s best chance at success. All in all, it will save you a world of heartache and stress later down the line.
If all this sounds like a big project, it certainly can be. Planning a successful new business isn’t a simple task. After all, 90% of new startups fail. That’s why getting advice and insight from expert consultants can be a big help. From brainstorming, to sharing insider knowledge about the different cannabis markets, to assisting with the complicated financial planning, our consultants have a lot of experience with this part of the process. Feel free to contact us for help or advice on finding your big idea.