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8 Tips For New Cannabis Entrepreneurs

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8 Tips For New Cannabis Entrepreneurs

Eight is my lucky number. 

For the past eight years, I have been lucky to advise and consult with companies across the cannabis industry. Last year, I joined Weekend Unlimited as Chief Executive Officer. The position is the culmination of a career in the packaged goods industry, building and launching beverage and food brands. That experience has served me well. As a new CEO in a new, emerging and very exciting industry, I wanted to offer up these eight tips for cannabis industry leaders.

Define Your Vision

As a leader, you know the importance of a strong shared vision for your team, your investors, your partners, and your market. A compelling vision allows you to paint a picture of an exciting future. That's a future you get to build. When you are able to communicate that vision to your team, it serves as a rallying cry that inspires everyone to accomplish great things.

Crafting that vision takes time. But when you have it, you’ll feel energized and you’ll be able to tell people where you’re headed. From there, your employees will be inspired by your big dream and your team will understand you’re working with purpose. Plus, your ability to set goals will get easier.

Being a leader is a challenge, but setting that vision is the most important thing you can do. Because when you do set a vision, magic happens.

Ask Who, Not How

Your team is your most important asset. That’s why we are focused on building a best-in-class team. The most important question to answer isn't how you will do the job, but who has the talent to do the job. This means hiring the right people and is the reason why I’m always on the hunt for talent.

Listen and Learn

Listen to your people because their wisdom makes you smarter. There is no monopoly on good ideas and the best ones may come from unexpected places. Being able to apply creativity to your challenges will move you further faster. It will separate you from the competition. Also, keep your eye on the market. I have found it more necessary in this industry than in others.

Past Experience May Not Apply

Because the cannabis market is so new and evolving so quickly, what worked in other industries may not work in this one. That said, experience is important. It will become even more so as the market matures. Take what you’ve learned in the past and apply it how you can. But remember, it might not work here. For that reason…

Stay Flexible

The cannabis market is evolving so quickly, you need to stay focused on your vision while at the same time being adaptable to change. That means understanding tastes change, suppliers may delay, and your ability to operate in certain markets will remain uncertain for the foreseeable future. By staying flexible, anticipating challenges as best you can, and staying focused on your vision, you will weather the storm.

Move Fast, But Don't Break Things

The heart of startup philosophy was all about “moving fast and breaking things.” Facebook Inc. (NASDAQ: FB) famously decorated its office with posters celebrating this hacker mindset. I agree with moving fast, but would argue against breaking things. 

This market is moving so fast – in terms of product development, marketing, and regulatory – that it’s up to us to listen to the market while also defining where the market should go. That isn’t easy and it might not make sense. For that reason, you might NOT want to break things. Especially if they’re working. Remember Tip 5. Compliance and regulatory are examples. It’s up to us as cannabis entrepreneurs to stay educated on regulatory changes. It’s also up to us to educate regulators and the marketplace.

Weekends Matter

As entrepreneurs, we have to work every day that ends in 'y.' But if you overdo it, you will pay for it in the end. Only you can define how you take a moment to take care of yourself. Only you can define what a weekend means for you. For me, that means starting every day by meditating, going to the gym, and finding time to connect with my family. Working all the time is easy. Finding balance is a challenge. But doing so will assure you finish this marathon.

Be Yourself

You are remembered by your authenticity, not your perfection. Just be you, that’s enough.

Posted-In: cannabis industry entrepreneursCannabis News Entrepreneurship Startups Markets General Best of Benzinga

 

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