How to Build a Strong Cannabis Dispensary Team

dispensary consultants

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

cannabis branding

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 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