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5 Essential Characteristics of a Cannabis Entrepreneur

The cannabis business isn't for everyone. Do you have what it takes?

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Cannabis is a sink or swim space. Many are entering the space with best intentions, but few actually make it. Many aren't prepared for the dedication it will take, some aren't just versed enough in cannabis to be successful 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?

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Here are 5 essential characteristics of the cannabis entrepreneur that set apart the amateurs from the professionals.

Related: Navigating the Top 3 Post-Startup Challenges for Cannabis Businesses

1. You're fully committed.

A successful publisher of cannabis news indicated on social media this week 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 find yourself thriving in the cannabis space. Being in cannabis requires that you're able to 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. Why do you need full commitment to cannabis? Because everyone who has chosen to work for this industry has emerged as a spokesperson for something that's widely misunderstood. Cannabis requires the voices of those who are committed to it for it to advance.

2. You're a great delegator.

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 checkboxes that a cannabis entrepreneur needs to cross off 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.

3. You respect the OGs.

The cannabis industry was created by individuals who call themselves pioneers, and they have earned a place within cannabis culture, and legend that should be honored and respected. Cannabis has come a long way since the early days of medical legalization in states like 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- - it's 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. While innovation, initiative, and ambition are what are recognized but there also comes a balance between respecting the efforts of the early advocates and builders of the foundation for cannabis. 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 continues to sophisticate.

Related: The Challenges of Growing a Cannabis Business

4. You love to collaborate, not compete.

So many people focus so hard on outdoing their competitor that they lose focus on their client and their mission. Cannabis is a highly competitive space where licensing, shelf space, and the privilege of working in cannabis is at a premium. 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, recognizing opportunities to collaborate, join resources, and earn a greater share of the target market.

5. You're dedicated to quality.

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, and thus, 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 that will do things better than you. Complacency is not an option for the emergent cannabis entrepreneur.

Related: Building a Solid Foundation for Your Cannabis Brand Is Step One to Success