5 Characteristics Essential for Success as a Cannabis Entrepreneur

Everyone going into the cannabis business is a pioneer and an evangelist for the industry.
5 Characteristics Essential for Success as a Cannabis Entrepreneur
Image credit: Justin Sullivan | EyeEm | Getty Images
5 min read
Brought to you by Marijuana Retail Report

Thousands upon thousands of people are flocking to the cannabis space with the promise of lucratively as legalization continues to take hold across the U.S. states, despite recent threats from the federal level and cannabis’ favorite villain, Jeff Sessions. Cannabis is a sink-or-swim space. Many are entering the space with best intentions, but few actually make it. Many are unprepared for the dedication it will take, some just aren’t sufficiently versed in cannabis to succeed at it and some are simply just in it for the wrong reasons. Despite this, many rock stars of cannabis show no signs of slowing their growth. Could you be the next rock star of cannabis?

Here are five essential characteristics of the cannabis entrepreneur that set apart the amateurs from the professionals.

Full commitment to cannabis.

A successful publisher of cannabis news indicated on social media recently that he has no backup plan, because he is so confident in the growing space of cannabis that he’s dedicated himself and his career to it.

If you’re just “kind of” interested in cannabis, you likely won’t thrive in the cannabis space. Being in cannabis requires that you understand all aspects of the mighty plant from medicinal purposes to the current legal status across the country and the globe. You should be able to talk in an educated and informed way about aspects of the cannabis industry that present challenges and triumphs.

You need full commitment to cannabis because everyone who has chosen to work for this industry is a spokesperson for something that’s widely misunderstood. Cannabis requires the voices of those who are committed to it for it to advance.

Related: 3 Ways Cannabis Brands Can Make a Powerful First Impression

Do what you're good at.

Running a cannabis business often requires someone to be a jack-of-all-trades. From logistics planning to marketing to customer service to compliance, there’s a lot of boxes that a cannabis entrepreneur needs to check in a day. Keep with what you’re good at, and get people to help you with the rest.

Cannabis entrepreneurs are in such an innovative space that specialized expertise needs to be honed, while others band together behind those specialized pieces of expertise for support and advancement. Outsource your social media strategy to a cannabis communications firm. Find a security team to help with your distribution. Get a creative agency to work on your website. Use a graphic designer for your promotional materials.

One of the first signs of failure is thinking you can do it all. No one can. Everyone needs support, and it’s always OK to ask for help.

Related: 3 Challenges You're Likely To Face Once You Open for Business

Stand (respectfully) on the shoulders of giants.

The cannabis industry was created by individuals who call themselves pioneers. They have earned a legendary place within cannabis culture that should be honored and respected.

Cannabis has come a long way since the early days of medical legalization in states California and Colorado. The cannabis industry pioneers set the foundation for advocacy and helped get legislation within their states to make some significant moves for cannabis. That is why we are all here now. Emerging within the cannabis industry takes a recognition of the efforts that have lent themselves to opportunities for eager businesspeople.

Seeking mentorship from early cannabis industry pioneers is an excellent way to blend the early efforts towards cannabis with emergent technologies and sales strategies as the industry becomes ever more sophisticated.

Related: The New 'This Is Your Brain On Cannabis' Ad Is Rad

Don't compete, collaborate.

Cannabis is a highly competitive space where licensing, shelf space and the privilege of working in cannabis is at a premium, but people who focus too hard on outdoing their competitor lose focus on their client and their mission.

In some places like in sponsorship and exhibitions, it’s becoming very “pay to play” which can be tough on resources. Cannabis is a space that can benefit from taking the “all for one and one for all” approach. Recognize opportunities to collaborate, join resources and earn a greater share of the target market.

Related: 3 Ways to Work in Weed Without Ever Touching The Plant

Commitment to highest quality product and work.

Cannabis is very professional and becoming more sophisticated; you can see this through web design, social media and dispensary design. Ancillary service providers are also stepping up to the plate to provide cannabis companies cannabis-specific services to help them stand out.

Compliance and licensing requirements for distribution and transportation ensure that cannabis companies are meeting, and exceeding, the quality assurance standards for cannabis. Testing has become extremely tight, and rightfully so, with threats of contaminated product sometimes making news. Consequently, distributors are also becoming an all-encompassing solution for QA for the cannabis business.

If you’re not committed to being the best in your field and niche of cannabis, you will fall short. There is always someone out there who will do things better than you. Complacency is not an option for the emergent cannabis entrepreneur.

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