Launching a commercial cultivation business for any agricultural crop is daunting. And doing so in the cannabis cultivation space is no different. However, the excitement and potential for big profits can lead to lapses in judgment that can prove devastating for many startups.
“Unfortunately, I see the same costly mistakes repeated over and over again—regardless of country, culture, or language,” says Ryan Douglas, former master grower of Canopy Growth Corp's CGC Tweed Inc., and author of the book "FROM SEED TO SUCCESS: How to Launch a Great Cannabis Cultivation Business in Record Time."
“Most cultivation problems are caused by decisions made well before any seeds are planted,” he says.
Talking From Experience
A commercial horticulturalist for more than two decades, Douglas has seen a lot. He started as a commercial greenhouse grower of ornamental and edible crops, then moved on to become the master grower for Tweed , and ended up starting his own cannabis consulting services firm specializing in all areas of cultivation for cannabis startups: Ryan Douglas Cultivation. The new book is just an extension of his trajectory.
“It’s common for new cannabis companies to raise millions of dollars, only to squander it away on poor hires, confusing management structures, and outlandish cultivation strategies,” says Douglas. “An entrepreneur doesn’t need to be an expert grower to launch a thriving cultivation business, and most problems can be avoided through the application of basic business principles and good management practices.”
Not just for growers, in "FROM SEED TO SUCCESS," Douglas aims to de-mystify the process of establishing a productive, profitable, and rewarding cultivation operation by combining industry insight with common business sense.
He covers basic business concepts involved in starting a cultivation operation, such as business planning, capital requirements, and yield forecasts; the core components that form the foundation of any cultivation entity, like land selection, facility design, and cultivation strategy; and putting it all together to launch, execution, and expansion.
Douglas also details risks and challenges every entrepreneur should consider before entering the cannabis cultivation industry as well as strategies for:
- Acquiring cannabis cultivation licenses
- Understanding capital expenditures and calculating ongoing operational costs
- Determining the best way to grow: indoor vs. outdoor vs. greenhouse and selecting cultivation methods
- Creating standard operating procedures in an industry that lacks regulations
- Incorporating RFID tracking, tissue culture, or drones for your grow
- Identifying and recruiting a head grower—the most important decision for any cannabis cultivation startup
- Breeding proprietary genetics
- Knowing when to expand and where (domestic and international challenges and opportunities)
- Future proofing your business when laws and regulations change daily
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