5 Tips For Finding Cannabis Real Estate

cannabis-real-estate

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. 

Schedule a FREE Consultation
Whether you already own a cannabusiness or want to get into the business we can help.

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Higher Yields Consulting is a Marijuana Consulting Group comprised of industry experts with decades of combined experience in the legal industry. Whether you are looking to get into the business or already have a license we can help your business succeed. Call (844) HI-YIELD to schedule a free initial consultation.

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5 Tips for a Successful Cannabis Dispensary License Application

Cannabis Business Team

5 Tips for a Successful Cannabis Dispensary License Application

Getting started on your cannabis dispensary license application? It can be a complicated process! Just ask Higher Yields’ application writers and consultants. We’ve been awarded licenses in over 13 states, in both the adult use and medical markets, and it hasn’t always been an easy road. But with the right approach, getting approval is within reach.

Here are our top 5 tips for a submitting a successful cannabis license application:

1. Don’t procrastinate! Plan ahead to finish your application on time.

This tip might seem obvious, but many applicants put off working on their application until the time is almost up. The last thing you want is to end up in the 11th hour throwing things together without much intention.

Each application has a big list of requirements, and it’s important to make sure each section is strong and complete. Plan ahead and delegate sections so you can make sure you have time to finish with a competitive application.

Dispensary License

2. Put together a strong team with a good business history.

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. 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 should have some experts in your field, a strong financial partner, and consultants with the experience to fill in any gaps. Some states even require a doctor or pharmacist be on the team.

Your application should be built around the strengths of your team, so make sure it is a team worth highlighting.

3. Create detailed operations plans.

It’s important to create detailed operations plans for your application. This is one of the harder parts to put together, because it requires someone experienced in the industry who can really understand the day to day operations of your business. This can be a challenge because many business owners don’t know the details of day-to-day operations that haven’t started yet. These plans need to cover everything involved in your business including things like compliance, community engagement, record keeping, audits, security and more.

This is once place where consultants can be extremely helpful. We have thousands of pages of operating plans already created, which can be cut down and customized to your business.

4. Find the right real estate – but buy on a contingency.

Another crucial aspect of your application is the real estate. You need to find just the right property to house a cannabis business. This property should meet all the zoning requirements of your state, and local jurisdiction, and be suitable for the day-to-day needs of your business. But once you find that property, you also have to convince the owner to let you purchase or rent on a contingency. This is easier said than done, since many owners don’t want to wait around for months to see if your approved, but it is important. That last thing you want is to end up with a unusable property, if your cannabis license application is denied.

Finding the real estate on contingency is one half of the battle, but then you will also need to get the local government to approve. Some jurisdictions have officials that just want to help applicants get going and start bringing in some tax revenue, but others are trying to slow things down and make things difficult. Finding real estate in an area that’s more friendly to cannabis business can make a big difference.

5. Build a local presence.

Wherever you decide to start your business, it’s important to build a local presence. Most states and localities aren’t crazy about people coming in from outside to create cannabis businesses, and making money off their citizens without creating any jobs. So, it’s important to have a local team, or at least have members of your team that are local.

Moving to the area for even a few months before you submit your application can also make a difference. Get involved in the local cannabis community, go to the local political meetings and town hall meetings about cannabis, meet the decision makers and show your investment in the community. Establishing strong relationships with regulators can help later when they are grading applications. Plus, attending these meetings gives you a front row seat to new developments, so you won’t get caught off guard to any changes in the local cannabis policies.

Need some help with your application? Higher Yields Cannabis Consulting can help. Our knowledgeable consultants and application writers have helped cannabis businesses achieve licensing success in over 13 states. We can help your business navigate the process as well. Contact us to get started creating a cannabis license application that stands out from the crowd.

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Higher Yields Consulting is a Marijuana Consulting Group comprised of industry experts with decades of combined experience in the legal industry. Whether you are looking to get into the business or already have a license we can help your business succeed. Call (844) HI-YIELD to schedule a free initial consultation.

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Medical or Recreational Cannabis Licensing: What Type Should You Choose?

medical cannabis licensing

Medical or Recreational Cannabis Licensing: What Type Should You Choose?

Medical vs. Recreational Cannabis Licensing

The cannabis industry is in a serious boom time. As state after state continues to open up regulated cannabis markets, the opportunity for new businesses to enter the cannabis space is huge – and only growing. Still for many just starting the process of applying for cannabis licensing, there is one big question to consider: should you be applying for a medical or a recreational cannabis license?

While many states make this choice easy, by allowing for only medical cannabis, states with recreational cannabis often offer both options. This gives applicants an important choice between becoming a medical or recreational cannabis business. Whether you are building a dispensary, a grow facility, an extraction lab, or an edible brand, your status as a medical or recreational cannabis business can affect your success in the long term. So it’s important to consider the options carefully and make sure that you are making the best decision for your brand.

Trying to decide for yourself? To help with your decision, we’ve outlined some of the main factors that smart cannabis businesses use when determining which license type to go for. Read on to see what considerations might apply to your cannabis business.

Reasons to Apply for a Recreational Cannabis License

Thinking about applying for a recreational cannabis license? You aren’t the only one. In states where there is an option, most businesses go with the recreational license. In fact, it is such a big trend that in states with recreational licenses, medical cannabis businesses seem to be dying out almost entirely. Why? Well there are a few reasons that businesses overwhelmingly choose recreational:

1. Recreational cannabis has a broader audience.

One of the main reasons that businesses prefer to apply for recreational licenses, is the broader audience that recreational cannabis can bring. While medical cannabis can only be purchased by someone who has had it recommended by a doctor, recreational cannabis can be purchased by anyone of age. This expands the potential reach of your brand considerably, and removes an obstacle your customers would have to navigate in order to purchase from you. As a cannabis business plan, it just makes sense.

2. Recreational businesses don’t have to deal with medical regulations.

Similarly, recreational businesses also don’t have to deal with the paperwork and business processes associated with medical cannabis. With medical cannabis businesses, all clients have to have up-to-date doctor’s recommendations for medical marijuana. Making sure each customer has their paperwork in order can be a big logistical headache. Recreational makes things simpler by eliminating these requirements.

3. Recreational has more income potential.

Ultimately though, the real reason that businesses choose recreational is simple – recreational cannabis businesses have more income potential. With a much broader audience, that can include recreational and medical cannabis users, the recreational space offers more potential for growth and success.
If you can apply for recreational cannabis – you probably should. From a financial standpoint, recreational cannabis is the almost always the best choice.

medical marijuana

Reasons to Apply for a Medical Cannabis License

While a recreational cannabis license is an obvious first choice for those who have the option, there are also sometimes good reasons why people choose to apply for a medical cannabis licenses. Even in states with both, in some cases, medical could be the right option for the particular business applying. Here are some of the main factors that lead people to choose medical:

1. There are no recreational licenses (yet).

Likely the biggest reason to apply for a medical license is simply lack of options. In states or towns with only medical licenses available, businesses will have to apply for medical in order to become licensed at all.

Still, even if your eventual goal is to become a recreational cannabis business, applying for a medical license can be a crucial step in the right direction. “Generally you want to get the first medical license because the people who get the medical licenses will have the first chance to convert into recreational states,” explains Cory Waggoner, Founder and CEO of Higher Yields Cannabis Consulting. In competitive states, such as on the east coast where there’s only 5-10 licenses they are handing out, getting one of those first medical licenses can put you in the best position to go recreational when it eventually opens up in your state. As a cannabis businesses that’s already functioning and operating, and has been through the cannabis permitting and licensing process, you will be in a great position to apply for a recreational license.

2. You are targeting the medical market.

Another reason to go medical is because you are targeting a specific demographic that is more likely to choose a medical brand. There are still a lot of people who want medical cannabis, specifically. If you are target marketing medical patients, it may make sense to go with a medical license. Take California, for example, where cannabis is taxed at a higher rate for recreational users than it is for medical patients. In states with this kind of tax difference, many patients don’t want to pay the extra taxes, and so may be more loyal to medical businesses. As more and more businesses target the recreational sector of cannabis, smart entrepreneurs may be able to make a strong niche for themselves outside of the adult-use market.

3. The medical regulations may work better for your brand.

A final consideration that might push some businesses towards medical is the differing regulations for medical and recreational products. While you might think that cannabis compliance would be stricter for medical, in some cases it is just the opposite. For example, in Colorado, you didn’t even have to test medical marijuana until a recent change in the regulations. While recreational cannabis had to be tested for contaminants like mold and pesticides, medical was allowed to go to market untested. These more relaxed regulations may have worked better for some brands. Medical markets also sometimes allow for edibles to be sold with higher dosing. In California, for example, edible dosing for recreational cannabis products are capped at 100mg per package. However medical cannabis businesses can offer products with dosing as high 2,000mg per package. If you are a brand who focuses on high potency edibles, a medical license may work better for your product line.

The Best of Both Worlds: Applying for Both Medical and Recreational

Of course another option is to simply apply for both medical and recreational licenses. This move may be your best option, if you can afford it. For one thing, it lets you serve everyone – which increases your income potential considerably. On the down-side you will have to pay fees for each individual license, and may need separate locations and cannabis tracking systems for each side of your business. Still, this option hedges your bets in a big way, especially if your local government seems likely to waver on recreational cannabis. “If they have a moratorium for a few years and then they decide they don’t want cannabis anymore, they’re probably going to start with recreational” explains Waggoner. Having both medical and recreational could help your business survive even if recreational cannabis businesses are shut down.

Do You Need Help Deciding Which Cannabis License Type Is Right For You?

So which option should you go with – a medical or recreational cannabis license?

“I think it really just comes down to opportunity,” says Waggoner. “Where’s the opportunity to make money?” The answer really depends on your particular cannabis business plan, and the regulatory landscape in your state and city. The opportunities available to you makes all the difference in answering this question.

Need some help deciding? At Higher Yields Consulting, our knowledgeable staff has helped over a 100 cannabis businesses through the process of cannabis permitting, licensing, and achieving full cannabis compliance. Our clients have achieved licensing success in more than 13 merit-based states and 7 countries, and we are happy to assist your business navigate the complexities of cannabis licensing.

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Higher Yields Consulting is a Marijuana Consulting Group comprised of industry experts with decades of combined experience in the legal industry. Whether you are looking to get into the business or already have a license we can help your business succeed. Call (844) HI-YIELD to schedule a free initial consultation.

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Cannabis Consulting: Why Your Cannabis Business Might Need A Complete Compliance Audit

cannabis compliance

Cannabis Consulting: Why Your Cannabis Business Might Need A Complete Compliance Audit

CANNABIS COMPLIANCE –  OVERVIEW OF THE BEST FOUNDATIONS

In the new cannabis industry regulations have a way of creeping up on you. Cannabis compliance regulations are in a constant state of change as the industry is just beginning to grow and adjust as is the case with any new market.

How does a cannabis business hope to stay on top of compliance and regulations?

Higher Yields Consulting helps with cannabis consulting for most cannabis businesses who are in need of fulfilling cannabis compliance requirements – in all 50 States of the U.S.

Our cannabis business compliance consultants specialize in giving a thorough compliance audit to check for any business compliance gaps a cannabis business may have.

We’ll go over the foundations for keeping your cannabis business compliant with the current and ever-changing regulations. With the foundations up to date, you’re ready to maximize your efficiency in business processing and operations.

WHAT IS CANNABIS BUSINESS COMPLIANCE?

Cannabis business compliance is the process of business adhering to established laws, standards, regulations, policies, and remaining up to date on emerging trends. When abiding by the regulations the state government sets forth, it’s necessary to have cannabis compliance as one of your primary business goals.

Cannabis compliance can help cannabis businesses achieve other goals for overall growth in the business. Taking the necessary steps to comply with relevant laws that change consistently within the industry will keep your business ahead of competitors.

Below are the following types of cannabis businesses we help through cannabis compliance:

  • Provisioning Center/Dispensary
  • Grower
  • Processor
  • Secure Transporter
  • Safety Compliance Facility or Lab Testing Facility
  • Cannabis Facility
  • Cannabis infused Product or Cannabis Edibles
  • And much more

We help cannabis businesses remain ahead of the curve through a complete cannabis compliance audit.

INITIALIZING A CANNABIS COMPLIANCE AUDIT

A cannabis compliance audit is an extensive review of a cannabis organization’s adherence to the laws and regulations. A compliance audit for any type of cannabis business will give us an idea of what stage you’re at.

Higher Yields Consulting will walk your business through all the compliant intricacies. Whether you want a cannabis business to show up on the US map (by filling out a cannabis business license application) or you need to identify a missing regulation requirement.

Our cannabis consulting company will quickly and accurately divulge the following business compliance prerequisites any type of marijuana business needs to operate accordingly within the local state.

1) STANDARDS OF GETTING A CANNABIS BUSINESS LICENSE AND PERMIT

Before opening a marijuana business, you’ll need authorization to operate through a cannabis business license and necessary permits. Our cannabis consulting company will help you through the initial application process.

As you apply for a cannabis business license there are several things the local state licensing board will need.

The basic cannabis business license requirements is ensuring your business has the following:

    • A well-thought-out business plan.
    • A well-written license application.
    • Proper documentation authorization.
    • An efficient & diligent team (contracts with trusting partners).

A cannabis business license and permit will allow you to do many things, as a business, depending on your local state’s regulation guidelines.

2) IMPLEMENTING STANDARD OPERATING PROCEDURES (SOPs)

Other than getting cannabis business licenses to permits, it’s important to have SOPs.

Whether you own a dispensary or a grow facility, a standard operating system (SOPs) analyzes and describes every detail in every task performed. SOPs are education and communication-based tools that help operational team members learn a functional process for efficient business growth.

3) MARIJUANA BUSINESS IN NEED OF SEED TO SALE SOFTWARE (METRC, BIOTRACK)

Our cannabis consulting includes a functional seed to sale software or METRC analysis for your marijuana business. METRC is an acronym for Marijuana Enforcement Tracking Reporting Compliance.

This is specifically design for the government to analyze transaction tracking and tracing in dispensaries, grow facilities, extraction lab facilities, or cannabis edibles production facility. METRC is an advanced way to track all necessary business production operations.

BioTrack is a seed-to-sale tracking system, similar to METRC, in the cannabis industry that helps supports many  marijuana businesses. It’s essentially seed to sale software system to analyze cash flow operations.

4) INTEGRATING AN EFFICIENT OPERATIONAL SECURITY INFRASTRUCTURE IN A MARIJUANA BUSINESS

In our cannabis consulting process of conducting a cannabis compliance audit, we ensure your marijuana business is compliant with security measures.

It’s important to build a security infrastructure to safely guard your marijuana business against negative influencers.

HIGHER YIELDS CONSULTING WILL RELIEVE YOUR MARIJUANA BUSINESS OF A CANNABIS COMPLIANCE HEADACHE

When marijuana businesses utilize a cannabis consulting company like Higher Yields Consulting, your business will operate at top efficiency and stay ahead of changing cannabis industry regulations.

As a business thoroughly abides by strict regulatory compliances (from submitting a well-written cannabis business license), to using safe security measures, the marijuana business will succeed when obstacles appear.

Contact us to get your marijuana business compliant today.

Schedule a FREE Consultation
Whether you need help with cannabis compliance or one of our other areas of expertise Higher Yields Consulting is here to help.

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Higher Yields Consulting is a Marijuana Consulting Group comprised of industry experts with decades of combined experience in the legal industry. Whether you are looking to get into the business or already have a license we can help your business succeed. Call (844) HI-YIELD to schedule a free initial consultation.

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Uniforms and Code of Conduct Agreements: You Don’t Get a Second Chance to Make a First Impression

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Uniforms and Code of Conduct Agreements: You Don’t Get a Second Chance to Make a First Impression

First Impressions

 

For a moment, try to imagine yourself walking into a fine dining restaurant. The walls, decadent with brilliant art; the ceiling, intricately laced with gold leaf. The first drink of the night starts off at the front bar as you wait for your table to be prepared. From the greeter, to the bartender, the staff is absolutely lovely, friendly, and enthusiastic. As you’re guided to your seat, you notice a crystal chandelier delicately dangling in the center of the room. You are being sat at the V.I.P. table. The greeter sits you down, places menus gently before you and tells you that your server will be with you shortly. Skimming over the menu with your eyes, your mouth waters from the savory smells invading the air around you. Moments later, the door to the kitchen swings open and a dude in dirty jeans and a band T-shirt, rockin’ a sideways ballcap, bursts out and swaggers his way over to your table. Obviously hungover, he smells like a half-drunk anti-deodorant activist. He stops at your table and, through slimy teeth, slurs out “Hey yo – Hey yo. You thinkin’ food dude or are you just gonna cruze on some booze?”

The question here is, do you walk out before or after you finish your drink? There’s no question that we will not be dining here tonight, nor will we ever bring a client here for a business anything. The deeper question is, how often do we allow our staff to do this to our establishments?

 

 

Impressions and the Cannabis Culture War

 

Especially in the world of cannabis, we are having to fight a culture war to foster a responsible use culture and make a professional industry from something that, for over 80 years, has been a hobby for some and an outlaw lifestyle for others. When patients walk into your establishment (which you’ve taken the time to build out, decorate, choose and stock display cases for, & pour your blood sweat and tears into crafting), do your staff match the decor? Do they carry themselves professionally or are they “bro-dude-ing” the professionalism right out of your patient’s experience?

Some business owners feel uncomfortable setting harsh boundaries and expectations with employees and making high demands of detailed elements like “how one speaks”, as it definitely feels like micromanaging. Yet, in states where THC products are still under prohibition, employees at smoke shops still have to swear on their jobs that everything in the store is for tobacco use or incense burning only. They don’t have a single “bong” for sale, but have quite the selection of “water pipes”. If you go into a fine dining restaurant, everyone’s shirt is freshly laundered and pressed, there is no leaning on the counters or bar, service is friendly and efficient, and no one is being even remotely crass when dealing with a guest. Everyone’s language is kept clean, and professional.

Why is it, that people will conform to those standards when working at a restaurant, but when you ask your employees to make sure their pants are clean before they come in or to stop using slang terms with the patients, they seem so resistant? Is it your expectations and consequences? Bad training? Maybe you don’t yell at them loud enough… I would argue that it’s the culture of our industry as a whole. This is both bad and good news. It’s bad news when looking at the typical person who’s dream life is to move to a legal state and work as a bud-tender and trimmer. They’re usually not as excited about a career in retail as they thought they would be, and their bright, over-the-top, enthusiasm quickly dissolves into lethargy.

 

 

Enforcing Employee Codes

 

For a lot of us who grew up in restrictive cultures and harshly anti-cannabis states, legal states make dispensaries sound like Willie Wonka factories for weed heads. When people get in and learn that it’s just another retail job, it can rot a good apple quickly. It’s also a bad idea to have alcoholics as bartenders, foxes as chicken coop guards, and people who obsess about your product directly over with it. True, at a wine bar you will have staff tastings where staff are asked to taste the products so they can speak about the products from experience, they are also asked to spit the wine out as the go through the tasting so the intoxication doesn’t dull their training experience. Yes, you want your employees to be able to speak in an educated way about the products. You also want your employees to speak in an educated and professional way in general.

It is okay to set boundaries and expectations for conduct and appearance at your dispensary, in fact, as the owner, it is your job to craft the corporate culture of your business. Cannabis branding is not just about a logo. The logo’s job is to give the consumers something to associate with their experience of your product and service. Brands such as McDonalds and Nordstroms denote a specific level of both quality and service in our minds. Ever wonder what “successful branding” really means? Just this… Over the past several decades, the businesses that maintained consistency in the quality of their products and services, are now commonly known for them. It’s really just that simple.

 

Your Brand is Your Personality

 

No one goes to Taco Bell because they’re looking for an organic vegan meal. No one goes to IHOP for a great steak. So where does your business fall into the spectrum of the businesses around you? Would people say that your cannabis retail location is the corner store dispensary or do they call you the fine dining of local cannabis goods? Further, if you do find yourself on the lower end, what is one simple solution to increase brand recognition, create more staff compliance, and increase the professionalism of each patient’s experience? Uniforms and Code of Conduct agreements.

Having your brand literally in front of the patient the whole time of purchase will certainly help associate your brand with their experience more than, let’s say, doing nothing. It also allows you, as the one who chooses the branded uniforms, what level of professionalism your employees will come dressed in every day. Instead of doing T-shirts with wacky graphics and bright colors, consider embroidered dress shirts. Instead of telling your employees to wear whatever pants are comfortable, or just setting limits like “no yoga pants” and “pants must be worn at the waist”, consider setting the expectation of “Pants must be black, properly fitted, dress slacks, worn at the waist and held up by either a belt or suspenders”.

 

 

Resistance From Employees

 

You will always face resistance from employees when changing policies like this, though if given a 60 day compliance period, most employees will either comply, or sort themselves out of the mix. After 6 months, the change will be the new norm. As your business grows its reputation for being more reputable, higher level employees will seek you. Just as the quality of your light attracts bigger bugs in the night, the quality of your cannabis branding can attract new partners, investors, and employees who are looking for others who “take it seriously”.

This is where we leave you with this choice. What will you do with your business and brand? Tomorrow when you go into your shop, check their pants and shoes, then ask yourself if they would be allowed to serve a sandwich and bowl of soup at a restaurant dressed the way they are. Ask: if my waiter was dressed like this, what would I assume of the quality of my upcoming meal? Remember, that it’s never too late to re-brand, until it’s too late to re-brand. If you’re noticing that your profits have hit a plateau, it’s time to choose; grow or die. Sometimes upgrading your business starts with upgrading your staff.

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Higher Yields Consulting is a Marijuana Consulting Group comprised of industry experts with decades of combined experience in the legal industry. Whether you are looking to get into the business or already have a license we can help your business succeed. Call (844) HI-YIELD to schedule a free initial consultation.

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Branding: How To Court Your Customer

marijuana branding

Branding: How To Court Your Customer

BRANDING AND RELATIONSHIPS

When we try to conceive and talk about “branding”, we most often approach it from a strict business mentality. Our machine minds take over as we do our best to boil our company down to a slogan that’s going to be “catchy” or an image that will both “represent us” and “stick in their minds”. We think of it as a way to define our company, market ourselves, or build a following; but what we’re really talking about here is relationships. So let’s talk about relationships.

When you first meet someone who’s going to be special in your life, how do you attract them? Is it their first impression of you? Or maybe, your “look”, or the way you’ve dressed yourself up? Perhaps it’s how they perceive you socially, or generally in comparison to others. Wait! Obviously, it’s all about that first real one-on-one experience with you. Right? Well, with both business and dating, the truth is that it’s all of the above.

BRANDING AND THE LAWS OF ATTRACTION

Now, any basic business person already understands these elementary concepts, but have they learned the art of the dance? In all forms of “attraction”, some people are naturals, some get lucky, some are wise enough to get coaches or mentors. The purpose of attracting is setting yourself up so that you have the real opportunity to build a relationship beyond a single moment of connection. With this perspective in mind, why do we create brands while thinking about our business and ourselves, on a personal level, instead of thinking about the specific types of cannabis customers we’re trying to attract to our cannabis businesses?

When you go out on a first date, are you really trying to show “your true self” or are you purposely projecting only the best parts of yourself that you think your potential partner is seeking? These are some of the traits that we’ve found to apply on a social and macro-cosmic level as aptly as they do in actual interpersonal relationships.

BRANDING – WHAT’S IN A NAME?

Over the generations of branding trends, we’ve noticed that brands have as much of an ability to isolate certain potential clients as they do to attract others. Sure, calling your dispensary “Uncle Jerry’s Pot-a-Palooza” sounded like a great name when you were testing out the potential products, but the next morning, before you file that license, rent that property next to the old record shop, and contact a sign company; you may want to ask for an outside opinion.

The more “fun” the name incorporates, the more it will appeal to the culture of “stoner humor”. The more “medical” it sounds, the more “approachable & trustworthy” it will appear to older and more conservative crowds. The problem with both is not in who they attract, but who they either fail to attract or who they repel.

Still, there is a third option. High end cannabis branding has been finding recent success by using words or phrases that have seemingly nothing to do with the cannabis products themselves, but carry more of a “sense” or “feeling” of luxury or an exotic nature. Generally, if you were to name your brand “Luxe”, french for luxury, it could easily represent anything from a cannabis brand to a perfume, meaning that the only sense the name gives to your customers is the experience and emotional memory of luxury and foreign lands. Combining the right kind of professional cannabis brand image with these kinds of more aloof brand names can present a mystique, sending the message: “Whatever this is, it’s the good stuff.”

WHY SHOULD CUSTOMERS CHOOSE YOU?

Your customers think that they can get what you have lots of other places; so why would they keep coming home to you? Maybe, at this point, you’ve already failed at love at first sight. It’s okay, we’re talking about rebranding now. At this point, how else can we build that attraction? Well, by social comparison. When thinking about how they’ll see your product next, will the items have their own display case or is something used to keep things presentable? In packaging, we can think ahead so the sole responsibility of keeping your cannabis merchandise tidy and presentable on the shelf isn’t the sole responsibility of the local budtender on shift.

When hanging next to other cartridges, do your eyes read the font more easily on your packaging than others? If you look at your packaging in a lineup of others, would you guess that your product would be visually identified as the most expensive or highest quality? What local partners do you have promoting your product at popular events, festivals, & community gatherings? Further, when you are out in the community, what image are your representatives projecting on your company’s behalf? Yes: all of this is still “branding”. This is why it takes a community to make a real business. Some are naturals at this, and some are wise enough to get help when it’s time to take the next real step forward.

BRANDING – LOOK THE PART

Someone walking around at an event with a duffle bag full of hamburgers wrapped in paper towels may actually have some trouble giving them away for free. But someone walking around with hamburgers stacked aesthetically on a silver platter will sell out before the burgers cool. So when out at events, are you telling your staff to “dress comfortably” or did you make uniforms and set a dress code? These are the little moments that matter!

When Starbucks started, their mission was not to make coffee, it was to replace the word “coffee” itself. When I was young in business, an exec from their company bragged to me “One day people won’t say ‘Let’s go get some coffee’, but say ‘Let’s go get some starbucks’.” Hearing this, I thought, there was no way; he had to be out of his mind… and that was my first real lesson in business. Little moments matter.

Having grown up, I’ve learned that when you first hear of a product or new company, first see a new something on an old familiar shelf, see a new sponsor at a show for your favorite band; these are the beginnings. These are the key moments that we work to make meaningful, and potentially form a relationship from them. If that new thing catches your attention once, you may not engage with it, but after the third time, on average, people stop and interact. At that point, it’s about the actual quality of your services and products, your customer’s belief in what they’ve conceived of your brand, and what it means to them.

If I call my chemical company “one-earth sustainable chemicals”, it doesn’t matter what I’m actually making; I’m going to be protested less than “capital-first chemical solutions” (Though the latter would probably grab more investors). Even if both companies manufacture the exact same products. When you find yourself in times of trouble, image can be everything.

BRANDING – IMAGE MATTERS

People want something to believe in, to rally around, to fall in love with. Connection is the purpose of life for most of us on this planet. It’s why we make families, observe our faiths, and live in communities; we recognize that we need each other. So why does your customer need you? How much time do you spend telling people to buy your product versus showing them how you can help them? If you offer the most “expensive looking” and highest quality product, and it’s “marked at a discount” so it’s still at a competitive price point; now you’re doing them a favor. You’re reaching out and giving instead of looking for new opportunities to take. You’re making the same amount of money, but having your product is now a bragging right, so your sales start trending steadily upward. The point here is just this simple; like it or not, “image matters”.

At a lecture, I was fortunate enough to attend, a group of investors asked Russell Simmons, “How do you always know what the next big thing is going to be?” Russell responded, “I don’t. I look at where there is a need and an opportunity to do a good thing for my community, then I do it. Funny, it always comes back to me once others see it, support it… and it turns into that next big thing.”*

Step one to branding is not just knowing who you are now, as a company, but who you want to directly serve in your community. Step two is finding a way to use your brand and logo to convey to the community how you are going to help them. Step three is having a good product and service… but that’s a whole different article.

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Higher Yields Cannabis Consulting

Higher Yields Cannabis Consulting

Higher Yields Consulting is a Marijuana Consulting Group comprised of industry experts with decades of combined experience in the legal industry. Whether you are looking to get into the business or already have a license we can help your business succeed. Call (844) HI-YIELD to schedule a free initial consultation.

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3 Things to Watch for When Preparing a Cannabis License Application

cannabis application

3 Things to Watch for When Preparing a Cannabis License Application

Applying for a cannabis license is stressful and often times confusing. No two states or countries are alike with their application process. To compound matters further in many areas you are competing with others so it’s not enough to just get it right it has to be perfect and show good reasons to outperform other applications. Below is some advice for those who will go the process without expert technical writers.

1. Timing/Preparation

A good cannabis license application can take months or years to create. Consultants will frequently put in thousands of hours researching, writing, and interviewing people. In order to make an application more competitive, cannabis consultants will find vendors selling any sort of new product relative to the industry, and then have them sign an exclusivity agreement.

Products can be anything from cleaning solution intended for processing equipment, to software that manages employee training. Experienced cannabis business consultants like including these things in the application because it gives them a competitive edge for their clients. However, the process is very time consuming because it requires a great deal of research and negotiation.

The best thing any client, or would-be licensee can do is to plan ahead. Start working months in advance. If that’s not an option, then carefully selecting a consultant who can work quickly under pressure will be key to success.

2. Cannabis Business Compliance

Before the application is released, the state or municipality will publish regulations that spell out how products should be labeled, whether wholesaling is permitted, and even acceptable hours of operation. The application needs to rigorously comply with all of the state and local regulations. This is why cannabis business compliance consulting is so important, these rules and regulations vary by area and they change often.

This requires careful study, which many clients dislike doing. Regulations are never fun to read but I will read them many, many times over the course of writing an application.

There are also federal regulations that play a part in any application. The business must comply with HIPAA as well as all OSHA standards. Federal labor laws must be adhered to. The Americans with Disabilities Act is a relevant piece of legislation, as well.

3. Writing/Organization

The writing style needs to be cohesive, eloquent, and fast-paced. The single hardest part of preparing an application is presenting the information. I have to find a way to marry dull information with a style that keeps the reader engaged. It’s not easy. Whenever I can, I tell things in the format of a story.

Trial lawyers prepare what’s called a “theory of the case.” It’s a single, unifying statement about why your client deserves to win the suit. Good trial lawyers will boil an entire case into a single sentence that summarizes the entire case. When I write a competitive application, I do the very same thing; I work with the client to come up with one comprehensive statement about why my client deserves to win a license, then I incorporate that statement into every narrative. It helps tie the whole application together, and it helps the reader remember this applicant.

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Higher Yields Cannabis Consulting

Higher Yields Cannabis Consulting

Higher Yields Consulting is a Marijuana Consulting Group comprised of industry experts with decades of combined experience in the legal industry. Whether you are looking to get into the business or already have a license we can help your business succeed. Call (844) HI-YIELD to schedule a free initial consultation.

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Find the Path – Marijuana Startup Services

cannabis startup services

Find the Path – Marijuana Startup Services

Higher Enlightenment – Find the Path

Let’s be real, cannabis-related business is complicated.

New medical and recreational opportunities on the horizon are highly attractive markets with huge potential. However, most entrepreneurs and investors are unfamiliar with the challenges and hurdles that come with new regulatory environments, and many end up failing in their efforts because they don’t have the right systems in place.

Investing in a marijuana businesses consultant greatly increases your chance of success. With nearly a decade in the industry, Higher Yields Consulting is the nation’s premier firm. With over 100 completed cannabis license applications in 13 merit-based states and 6 countries, we have the experience, proven track record, and systems to take your business from seed to scale.

Our 4-step Higher Enlightenment process equips owners and operators with the tools and know-how to get started and navigate the industry with confidence.

Find the Path is Step 1 and the foundation for creating a successful business. These marijuana startup services will prepare your business to weather the complex challenges of the always-evolving legal cannabis industry.

Find the Path is the road to success in the cannabis industry. Whether you’re just getting started and looking for a team to help manage and direct the process, or if you’re interested in shoring up your operations to become more efficient and compliant, we can help.

Contact Higher Yields for a consultation on how Higher Yields Consulting can be of service to you!

WHY CHOOSE HYC FOR STARTUP CONSULTING SERVICES?

 
  • Applying for a marijuana business license is a timely and often arduous process. With high stakes and high competition in new markets, utilizing our Marijuana Business Applications services will mitigate your risk and make you an attractive candidate to regulators
  • We’ve provided services to domestic and international clients and worked in dozens of varying regulatory frameworks. Our cutting-edge consultants will work with you to create a consistent and compelling narrative. With customizable templates, award-winning core operating materials and procedures, our dedicated team will make this process efficient, saving you time and money.
  • An optimized operation starts with incorporating proven Standard Operating Procedures. These are fundamental base-protocols for running an effective business and navigating the changing rules and regulations. Our templates create well-defined processes and step-by-step instructions specific to your regulatory environment.
  • Different markets each have unique rules regulations – staying current and compliant is mandatory if you want to stay in business. These rules often change very quickly as regulators respond to new challenges, which can in turn cause businesses to become non-compliant overnight.
  • Our Marijuana Business Compliance services leave you confident that your operations are above-board and running smoothly. On-site consultants will complete a comprehensive audit of your facilities, identify potential violations, provide corrective action, and ensure owners and operators are properly trained in best practices.
  • A thorough understanding of METRC, the marijuana products tracking and tracing software, is essential to remaining compliant. One discrepancy between this software and your inventory can spell disaster for your business, as you will face heavy fines or risk losing your license.
  • Our METRC Reconciliation services will help you discover and rectify any differences. We also train your employees on proven methods to lessen inconsistencies, empowering your teams and giving them confidence to handle future errors with ease.
  • Marijuana business tax structures are complicated and many startups are taken by surprise when they close out their first year of operations. With our 280E Tax Structure services you will gain a clear understanding of this arcane rule and have a strategy in place to minimize your liability and increase your bottom line. Our consultants will help you save annually by reducing taxable income through the proper allocation of taxable goods.

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Higher Yields Cannabis Consulting

Higher Yields Cannabis Consulting

Higher Yields Consulting is a Marijuana Consulting Group comprised of industry experts with decades of combined experience in the legal industry. Whether you are looking to get into the business or already have a license we can help your business succeed. Call (844) HI-YIELD to schedule a free initial consultation.

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Marijuana Business Banking in Florida

cannabis business banking

Marijuana Business Banking in Florida

Marijuana Banking Is Now Open For Business in Florida

The Sunshine State has one of the fastest growing medical marijuana markets in the country. Since the start of 2018, the number of patients enrolled in the state’s program has increased by 100% with no sign that enrollment will slow down. Marijuana business banking services in Florida are going to be in high demand.

Additionally, Florida is considering changes to its program that will drive the numbers even higher and open the floodgates for more cannabis business licensing.

For example, smokable flower is currently not for sale, however the state is expected to make a decision this fall to regulate the cultivation, distribution, and sale of cannabis flower.

Also, Florida’s Department of Health is currently writing rules regarding the production of cannabis edibles, one of the fastest growing parts of the cannabis industry, and which will surely increase enrollment.

While this is great for the industry, for patients, and for commerce, Florida’s cannabis business owners took a hit earlier in the year when First Green Bank, an Orlando-based financial institution, closed its doors to medical marijuana.

Many Florida medical marijuana businesses were left in the dust without anywhere to stash their cash, and had to rely on risky models to pay their employees and keep their doors open.

One of the largest challenges facing owners in the cannabis industry is securing their money. Most businesses still operate on a cash-only basis, which increases risk, decreases growth, and oftentimes leads to the violation of state laws and regulations.

Thankfully, as the industry has matured, reliable, regulated banking is becoming more and more available in most states.

If your marijuana business needs banking services, Higher Yields Consulting has you covered. We’ve partnered with top financial institutions that are ready and willing to work with your business and provide the services you need.

HOW MARIJUANA BANKING WORKS

 

The first step is doing an evaluation of your cannabis business to examine whether or not it is in compliance with FINCEN (Financial Crimes Enforcement Network). Once your business has successfully completed this process, we submit your information to participating financial institutions and work to find the best one that suits your needs.

We then provide the support and services based on your business needs. This includes monitoring your account and integrating and syncing your POS for reporting and verification by your new financial institution.

KEY BENEFITS OF MARIJUANA BUSINESS BANKING SERVICES

 

We foster a direct banking relationship with an established financial institution. This gives you access to checking and savings accounts with check writing, in addition to armored carrier services and vaulting for your cash.

You will also have access to tax and payroll services that allow you to not only pay your employees with actual paychecks and potentially direct-deposit, but also easily withhold for taxes and avoid any penalties associated with paying for your taxes with cash.

All of this allows you to run your cannabis business more effectively and safely. With the increased security of depositing your daily receipts, minimizing the amount of cash passing through hands at your business, and receiving an ongoing level of service that is in compliance with FINCEN, you can focus on what matters most: growing your business and offering a superior level of quality and service to your customers.

Contact us from Higher Yields Consulting to establish banking stability for your business.

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Higher Yields Cannabis Consulting

Higher Yields Consulting is a Marijuana Consulting Group comprised of industry experts with decades of combined experience in the legal industry. Whether you are looking to get into the business or already have a license we can help your business succeed. Call (844) HI-YIELD to schedule a free initial consultation.

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Michigan Welcomes Cannabis Banking Services

cannabis banking michigan

Michigan Welcomes Cannabis Banking Services

Banking Will Make Or Break Your Cannabis Business In Michigan

 

The Michigan Medical Marijuana Licensing Board has yet to award a single license for marijuana businesses in the state.

The state’s law regulating the medical marijuana market was passed over 18 months ago, and in the six months since the state’s regulatory agency began accepting applications, medical marijuana is still not open for business.

There are a number of factors for why no license has been awarded, however one of the largest roadblocks is that marijuana business owners are finding it difficult to access to traditional banking services.

Michigan lawmakers project that cannabis could grow up to $837 million dollars in the first year, but with nowhere to secure their cash, many businesses are struggling to stay above board.

Thankfully, as the industry has matured in other states, cannabis businesses now have access to traditional, regulated, banking services, which gives business owners peace of mind knowing that their money is secure.

Securing your money may make the difference between whether or not your cannabis business is awarded a license by the Michigan Medical Marijuana Licensing Board.

If you need banking, Higher Yields Consulting has you covered. We’ve partnered with top financial institutions that are ready and willing to work with your business and provide the services you need.

HOW CANNABIS BANKING WORKS

 

The first step is doing an evaluation of your cannabis business to examine whether or not it is in compliance with FINCEN (Financial Crimes Enforcement Network). Once you’ve successfully completed this process, we submit your information to participating financial institutions and work to find the best one that suits your needs.

We then provide the support and services based on your business needs. This includes monitoring your account and integrating and syncing your POS for reporting and verification by your new financial institution.

KEY BENEFITS of CRB BANKING

 

We foster a direct banking relationship with an established financial institution. This gives you access to checking and savings accounts with check writing, in addition to armored carrier services and vaulting for your cash.

You will also have access to tax and payroll services that allow you to not only pay your employees with actual paychecks and potentially direct-deposit, but also easily withhold for taxes and avoid any penalties associated with paying for your taxes with cash.

Contact us to get your business financial stability today. 

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Higher Yields Cannabis Consulting

Higher Yields Cannabis Consulting

Higher Yields Consulting is a Marijuana Consulting Group comprised of industry experts with decades of combined experience in the legal industry. Whether you are looking to get into the business or already have a license we can help your business succeed. Call (844) HI-YIELD to schedule a free initial consultation.

The Latest from our cannabis consulting blog