It’s very reasonable to want assistance on tips that can change your business, guide you down the path and steer you clear from potential pitfalls. For those getting into the cannabis industry, cannabis consultation services are vital to development.
The Importance of Cannabis Consultation Services
No matter what type of assistance they need, there is a broad spectrum of consultants and consulting firms out there. Many of which are niche specific. For example, some firms are specific to license procurement, some for supply chain management, and others for a variety of a la carte consultation such as cultivation and harvesting, structure buildout and implementation, to growth and optimization. Businesses always find the consultants that meet their needs. These consultants and management companies have a wide range of services that can help. They can assist in license application assistance, staffing plans, facility designs, system implementations, security setup, etc. Marijuana is legal in many states across the globe now. But growing it did not start yesterday. Meaning those who were growing it did so underground. Then, there were no authorities or any regulatory bodies to regulate operations. As long as you could get away with it, it was ok. After legalization, now regulation is necessary. There must be a way to ensure that everything is flowing accordingly. For this reason, each state has their own set of rules that guide cannabis growing and distribution. A cannabis business is just like running a business that is commodity-based, for example, corn.
Hiring a consulting company is, therefore, in many respects, a necessity for compliance purposes. Such a company can help prevent you from getting into trouble with authorities due to simple mistakes. They also help increase profitability, effectiveness, and quality as well as lessen environmental impact.
People retain cannabis consulting agencies seeking answers for a few things, but they end up finding more from them. That is just how helpful consultants are. New cannabis businesses end up opening the doors to new opportunities but also find new challenges that need to be navigated. Finding the right consultant can, however, be tricky, not just in the cannabis industry but any other type of venture. And even after you find one, keeping the relationship can be something different. In other words, keeping things unbiased, professional and not taking it personally when they open your eyes to new challenges.
In the tips discussed here, you will find helpful insights on finding the right consultant or agency. Know your need and the limits you are willing to go to:
- Cultivators need to start by identifying the kind of problem they have. You cannot begin to seek a solution without first identifying why you need the specific solution. The goal is to find a consultant that has expertise in that particular area. The consultant(s) also needs to be able to find new problems, whether you like it or not. For example; do you need assistance in licensing, facility design or pest management? With that information, you will know the type of consulting firm to hire. At the same time, it will help you understand how much you are willing to spend.
- Check reviews from previous clients… This is simple but crucial. Other customers are an excellent source for information on any service. You should try to find out what they are saying about the consulting company you are considering. Look at the website of the company to get this information. Consider both negative and positive reviews because they all have something of value.
- Do some homework – seriously… Every consulting company is in business just like you are and no company says their services are inadequate. They will always want to present the best side of their business. Ensure your due diligence, ask them directly how they are different and how they set themselves apart from the competition.
- Ask they are retained by your competitors… This is a big one. It’s understandable if they are retained by others, this is how they eat… But more importantly, discuss with them how they remain objective and treat other clients equally.
- Beware of predators… This tip requires a separate article altogether. Many consulting firms that are working with a new client that doesn’t have a lot to spend are taking on equity in the business… In our professional opinion, this is unorthodox and skirts ethics of remaining objective and unbiased with their other clients (and thus your competition). This is a newer trend but is being seen more and more. Think of it this way, if your competitor is partially owned by the consulting company that is paid directly by you and not through equity… Wouldn’t you consider that a conflict of interest?.?.
- Their knowledge about the business, consider the kind of experience they have in the industry. Were they owners before or in leadership positions of a successful operation in the past? Any consulting company should show that they have what it takes to help you. A good consultant has a focal point. Establish communication and identify how they are talking about the business. From there, you will know whether or not they have the expertise you are looking for.
- They should have a vision about your business in the industry. When you are entering the cannabis space, you should be ready to use the advice from your consultants. But that will only work if they show they have a vision for your business and strongly advocate for the industry as a whole. Do not just go in without considering the future of your company. You are paying for their service, and you should ensure your future is secured. The consulting firm (without asking for equity) should be one of your greatest advocates and highly invested (with great energy) in your success.
- They should be aware of the best practices you should use to set your business in motion. Compliance, compliance…. And one more time, COMPLIANCE. If they are going to be with you long term, you need to know exactly the procedural aspects as to “how” they are going to aid you into success. Let them explain to you the ‘whys’ of what they are doing. This way, you can follow up and ensure your business is on the right track.
Take your time to choose the right service provider. Get multiple quotes and figure out exactly what each offering is providing you for the best value. Ask them, after it’s all said and done, how will the hand-holding consultation work out over time? What is their plan (for you) to pivot and maneuver as the market changes and prices drop…? Or increase. The economy is as delicate (if not more delicate) than your business, the cannabis consulting firm you choose, needs to be able to navigate the rough waters alongside you and shine a light ahead to aid in guiding you.