Before opening a cannabis dispensary, here are 10 important things you should consider and know:
Research and Understand Local Laws:
Familiarize yourself with the cannabis laws and regulations specific to your region, including licensing requirements, zoning restrictions, and operational guidelines. Regulation is strict and can differ from city to county. Don’t make the mistake of choosing a location in a county that you haven’t properly researched. This includes having an understanding of your county’s/city’s tolerance of cannabis businesses. Having your dispensary in a hostile location could lead to a downfall in your business. Additionally, a thorough understanding of the demographics in the county/city where you’re setting up your dispensary is critical. Research shows cannabis consumers prefer to shop locally, so the hyperlocal population is likely to be your primary customer.
Business Plan and Finances:
Develop a comprehensive business plan that outlines your goals, target market, marketing strategies, and financial projections. Assuming that if you build it they will come is a huge mistake. Secure adequate funding to cover startup costs, such as licenses, permits, inventory, rent, utilities, and staffing. Securing enough funding to provide a cushion is helpful as well because unexpected costs can ruin even the best laid plans.
Network with Other Owners/Operators:
Networking with those already in the cannabis industry in your area will open doors and connections to help make your business successful. You can join local meetup groups and contact distributors to ask for insight.
Build a Fantastic Team:
Assemble a skilled and knowledgeable team that understands the cannabis industry, including budtenders, managers, and compliance officers. Your budtenders will make or break customer sales. Treat them well and create a culture that helps them thrive. High-turnover is a huge problem that many dispensaries face. For more insight, refer to our article: How to Hire a High-Performing Budtender
Budtenders Need Sales Tools:
You should help your budtenders’ ability to be successful by setting them up with tools that aid in product selection and upselling. The majority of customers that walk into your dispensary will need guidance choosing a product. Leaving it up to each budtender to develop their own process for this is a recipe for inconsistency and customer frustration. Genetica offers Flora Match, a sales-tool designed to give your customers science-based product recommendations while helping your budtender easily upsell products.
Implement robust security measures to protect your dispensary, employees, and inventory. This may include surveillance systems, alarm systems, restricted access areas, and proper cash-handling procedures. There are regulations around security but take care to go above and beyond the bare minimum requirements to mitigate risks.
Marketing and Branding:
Develop a strong brand identity and marketing strategy to differentiate your dispensary from competitors. Your brand should stand out and not get caught in the wave of logos with a green leaf and medical sign. Utilize various marketing channels, such as social media, radio, and local partnerships, to drive growth. It can take a potential customer up to 15 times of seeing your logo for them to mentally register your brand as recognizable and even more touches to puh them to convert.
Software Choice Matters:
In order to maintain meticulous records of inventory, sales, taxes, and compliance measures, you will need to choose the right software for success. Many software systems in the cannabis industry offer partial services and don’t connect with the other software you will need to use: POS, inventory, compliance, etc. You can implement Flora OS to have a high-level view of your business operations and get the guidance you need to make business decisions.
Patient Education is Key:
Educate your customers about responsible cannabis use, potential side effects, and dosage guidelines. Train your staff to provide accurate information and guidance to customers, ensuring their safety and well-being. Encourage open communication and create a comfortable environment for customers to ask questions.
Foster positive relationships within the local community by participating in community events, supporting local initiatives, and addressing any concerns or misconceptions about your dispensary. Building trust and goodwill can help create a supportive environment for your business.
Remember that regulations and requirements may vary depending on your location, so it is essential to consult with local authorities and seek professional advice to ensure compliance with all relevant laws and regulations.