Transforming your cannabis business from an industry “rookie” to an all-star brand takes time – but the “secret sauce” to positioning yourself as an industry leader isn’t a secret at all, in fact, it’s just a matter of devotion and knowing what moves to make, and when.

I work with cannabis brands every day, and more often than not, our conversations boil down to the same two key points: entrepreneurs want their business to be the next household name of cannabis, but they don’t have any idea of where to start when it comes to streamlining and scaling. 

If that sounds like you, you aren’t alone in that battle; that’s where experts like me come in. I specialize not just in helping provide the right resources to business owners, but in helping them know where to look to ensure they’re looking to solve the right problems, at the right time. When cannabis business owners come to me with problems in their operation, it’s not unusual to discover that the problems came from areas they hadn’t even considered. 

What separates the greatest cannabis brands in the world from brands that aren’t as successful? The knowledge of knowing where to look and what to prioritize. If you’re looking to streamline, standardize, and scale your cannabis business, these are the areas you’ll want to pay special attention to: 

Standardizing with SOPs

Standard Operating Procedures, or SOPs, are the foundation of your company. Think of your SOPs as your team’s playbook – it essentially functions as a single document that governs your business and how it works while ensuring you stay compliant. These procedures provide a thorough explanation of the rules and procedures that keep your business running efficiently day after day – regardless of industry changes. Your SOPs work in combination with your projected business plan to keep you on track and accountable for hitting KPIs. Without SOPs, many organizations find it difficult to nail down areas that may be simplified or improved, which results in costly errors and the loss of potential to increase revenue. 

Looking to get the most out of your SOPs? Take it a step further by considering how your SOP will include your daily, monthly, and yearly systems – in every area from internal audits of company data and record retention management. This is where Internal Compliance Auditors and Compliance Officers can be a great asset to work alongside your SOPs. For example, a common mistake I see is business owners assuming their data is clean, but in reality, the data is not – due to no accountability and oversight of the operation. 

These individuals work together as the “safety net” for your business by analyzing and overseeing all data, record retention, and documentation within the operation – covering everything from inventory control, and tax collection, to identifying non-compliant behavior while training the team on the right procedures with documentation.

Employee Education is a Must

The turnover rate in the cannabis industry is extreme when compared to other industries. Recent data supports that the turnover rate for the cannabis industry at large is extremely high, coming in at a whopping 40%-60% within the first 2 months. What’s the best way to combat high turnover? Education. Companies that succeed in employee education succeed in business. Why? Because educated and empowered employees are more likely to feel confident and satisfied in their roles – a powerful sentiment that carries over into how they interact with your customers as well. 

Ensuring success, in the long run, starts with well-defined job roles and team structures from the jump, and then performing routine checks with employees at every level to ensure those dynamics are still serving your team and your business. Your SOPs, when done well, support your work in this area by providing a resource for your team to work from that can be easily updated and distributed over time. Give your team time as you make changes to operating procedures, on average, it takes a person 7 – 12 times to complete a workflow to truly learn it. In addition, an online curriculum can support employee education by reinforcing key information over time and allowing employees to absorb the information in a multitude of ways. 

Selecting the Right Software

If you’re looking to run an efficient and profitable cannabis business, software management systems are a great resource to streamline and automate operations – but if your business is changing software systems multiple times within the span of a few years, you might be overlooking the real root cause of your operational issues.

Suppose your cannabis business has been through multiple seed-to-sale software systems in the last few years. In that case, it’s likely that the problem doesn’t lie with your software, but rather with how you’re implementing and integrating those systems into your day-to-day operations. This is an extensive process that a business should not take lightly. It’s not enough to just take the salesperson’s word on functionality – you need to SEE for yourself if the software truly behaves as expected inside of your business. 

When software systems are not adequately integrated into your business model, problems like poor communication, reduced efficiency, and high employee turnover are likely. A common misconception is that software will solve all your problems – but those systems need time and dedicated effort to function as a seamless extension of your business’s day-to-day operations. 

So, how do you know if your current software is truly a good fit for your business? 

  • Don’t Be Afraid to Call in the Experts – While the payoff is tremendous in the long run, selecting software that’s a good fit for your business is an expensive and time-intensive investment. While you may be intimidated by making an additional investment to call in the experts, they can save you time and money down the line by preventing a bad fit and difficulties in implementation.

    Experts, like the team at MJStack, have experience working with cannabis brands specifically and helping them match with the best software solutions possible – so you can spend less time evaluating software options and more time putting them to work for your business. 

  • Consider Your Unique Needs– When it comes to choosing software for your business, it should fit the unique needs of your business. For example, for multi-state operators, the best software approach may be to use cannabis-specific software for plant-touching activities and then centralize the data across states in an ERP.

    Take the proper time to consider how the software serves your business at every step, from your specific compliance needs, to how it affects the customer experience through online menus and payment systems, to how the software provides efficiency and user-friendliness for internal and external use. Make note of areas that are a good fit, and areas that leave something to be desired. 

  • Put It To The Test  Invest the time upfront when the software is still fresh to your business, and understand that it will be a process. On average, it can take anywhere from four to 12 months for your business to fully learn and implement new software. This is where the work you put in on standardizing operations and implementing SOPs comes in – when you have well-defined SOPs, it makes it easier to approach the challenge of learning new software.

Standardizing, scaling, and streamlining operations with the regulatory requirements is a three-prong approach consisting of compliance, operations, and documentation to set your business up for success. Looking for personalized guidance as you propel your business to success? At RMCC, we’re committed to helping operators and service providers such as yourself survive and thrive in this over-regulated environment so you’re poised to reap the rewards of your labor in the eventuality of federal cannabis reforms. Contact us today to learn more!