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What Nearly Losing My Business 15 Times In 9 Years Taught Me About Persevering

What Nearly Losing My Business 15 Times In 9 Years Taught Me About Persevering

After almost a decade as a cannabis entrepreneur, nearly losing my business has become part of the job. Prior to 2015, it happened about once a year -- like a bad birthday. Even as my operations have grown in scale in the past three years, I’ve continued to face some close calls. As the founder of Green Man Cannabis and ONE Cannabis, I’ve learned that the continuity of success comes with constant hurdles that need to be addressed.

I’ve seen failure come in many forms, from choosing the wrong business partners and making the wrong hires, to being kicked out by the landlord and losing a good chunk of product.

But each time I nearly lost it all, I gained something important -- knowledge. It’s better than a spotless record and takes you further in business .

Here are four of the biggest lessons I’ve learned.

Lesson 1: Pretend like you’ve never failed and keep working on the problem

Every business has problems, and how you tackle them matters.

No issue is big enough to stop you dead, so keep moving and find the solution. Recently, one of our retail operations faced certain doom; shortly after renewing our lease on the property, the landlord kicked us out. It turns out, marijuana smells.

He gave us until the end of the year. It being October, that meant we had about 90 days to move our license. So, we figured it out and bought a building. In this case, figuring it out meant having to overpay by $300,000 for our new building in order to entice the reluctant owner to sell.  In the end, it became the best eviction ever -- moving to a more desirable site allowed us to triple our annual revenue for that location.

Simply believing that we could overcome this hurdle, carried us into a new chapter and gave us additional confidence in ourselves that as a team, we will persevere.

Phil Knight, founder of Nike, made similar points in his book “Shoe Dog.” He notes that many didn’t expect him to make it, which is a common enough story for entrepreneurs. Hindsight is a luxury, and one we should all take advantage of. If you believe you will succeed, it will be easy for people to look back years from now and say, “of course they were going to.

Lesson 2: Keep emotions out of business, and don’t hold grudges

Carrying grudges is counterproductive to business. Partners and employees don’t always do things you agree with. If something happened that didn’t feel okay, then you need to figure out how to get past it.

Early on in my career, I had a falling out with one of my partners that resulted in a lawsuit. It’s hard not to get emotional in those situations, but moments like those are opportunities. Although I was losing someone who had been a valuable asset to my team, the situation led me to meet Corey Buffkin. As they say, when one door closes, another door opens. Meeting Corey during this tough time ended up being advantageous-- he turned out to be exactly who I needed in my inner circle. Today, he’s the Director of Cultivation at ONE Cannabis Group, Inc. and has helped bring home several Cannabis Cup wins.

The moral here is that problems can’t always be solved the way you want them to -- you have to move forward and try to turn a negative situation into a positive one. Tough decisions can be the unexpected catalyst that leads to something else. If you do lose a key partner or employee, you can and will survive. Rarely does an entire business go away if someone leaves. Don’t panic. Instead, listen to what the real problem is objectively and do your best to solve it. With the lawsuit, I set emotions aside and did what I could. Because of that, I managed to gain Corey’s expertise for several other ventures.

This experience taught me to read situations for what they are, not what I want them to be. Consistently exercising this practice is just as important as the results. I haven't always done this, but it’s made a substantial impact on my productivity since introducing it to my agenda.

Lesson 3: Always look to the future to fix problems that don’t exist yet

If you expect your company to be in a certain position in a year, plan accordingly. Start figuring out how to manage obstacles before they’re even in your path.

ONE Cannabis is currently expanding into new states, all of which are unique legal landscapes that require different approaches. We’re preparing for that by establishing best management practices and investing in scalable processes for growth, which will give us a higher chance of avoiding speed bumps that would have otherwise slowed us down.

Lesson 4: It’s okay to treat entrepreneurship as a form of creativity and work unscripted

Knowing when to deviate from your strategy is just as vital as the planning itself. Have a plan and know when to change it. I didn’t anticipate the lawsuit or our landlord tossing us out, therefore I had to adjust my approach. Personal judgement and experience are heavy factors in this particular equation, and creativity in response is extremely beneficial.

Success is the culmination of many things, reacting to trouble being one of them. People solve problems differently, and solutions come in many forms. Realizing that you don’t always have to figure things out on your own can truly be a lifesaver. Relying on the experience and expertise of others can save you from facing needless hurdles and put you on the path to success. That is the cornerstone of the ONE Cannabis franchise opportunity.

Christian Hageseth is the CEO & co-founder of ONE Cannabis Group, Inc., one of the first concepts to bring the franchise model to the cannabis industry. Hageseth entered the marijuana industry in 2009 with the launch of Green Man Cannabis, which he grew to multiple grow and dispensary locations in Denver. He can be reached at

The preceding article is from one of our external contributors. It does not represent the opinion of Benzinga and has not been edited.

Posted-In: contributorCannabis Entrepreneurship Movers & Shakers Startups Small Business Markets General


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