What is needed to start a cannabis business? Where do I even begin? We’re here to provide helpful tips and hard truths. Entering the cannabis business can be tough but the following article provides some insight from those who have been there from the beginning.
The Cannabis Entrepreneur Foundation
Starting a cannabis business can be a bit of a headache. Starting any new business is hard, but creating a cannabis business involves a few more steps and hurdles. One of the most important aspects is compliance. As you are getting everything set up in the beginning, your business license is the very first thing that you need to be thinking about. Starting with your business license, which you file with the Secretary of State (SOS), to your sales tax license or wholesale license (depending on if you are wholesale or retail). Beginning with obtaining a business license is the key first step to being a successful entrepreneur.
Also, it’s important to not forget your FEIN (Federal Employer Identification Number) once you have filed with the SOS. My biggest suggestion is to hire a compliance expert to help you in the beginning. If you don’t have the capital to hire someone then it is important to utilize your network. Ask questions to your fellow colleagues. Networking events are huge for making connections that could help you in your business.
Once you have your business set up, you will need to make sure you have your business plan, insurance, web addresses, emails, logo, graphics, and BRANDING! I want to talk about one of the most important parts of the business, which is its soul. The branding. Your brand is who you are, and it will be the reason you stand out. Ask yourself the following questions to formulate a solid brand for your business.
What gives your company purpose?
What are your colors?
What does your name mean?
What does your logo mean?
What do you stand for?
What is your unique identifier?
What sets you apart from the rest?
I personally love when a company gives back to the community in some way. I appreciate it when there is a story behind the branding because I think it helps your customer to relate. You always need to think about your product and what you are creating. If you are creating a CPG (Consumer Product Good) are you wanting to custom formulate or are you looking for an already created product?
There are a lot of companies that have products already created for you, so you can have finished products without the formulation cost. If you are a raw ingredient maker, you should figure out what your niche is and do your research when it comes to your machinery and how you want your lab set up.
Lastly is your distribution channels. One of the biggest struggles I see in cannabis is distribution. Once you have a solid product whether that is a raw ingredient or a finished good you need to find distribution channels. Having a solid sales team with a marketing and advertising plan is important. You will need to find experts in the cannabis marketing space or you’ll have to do a lot of research yourself in order to figure out what you can and can’t say. Believe it or not, it is really, really hard to advertise and market CBD and even harder for THC (almost impossible).
It can be so rewarding if you are able to put all the pieces together. My last bit of advice is don’t let the hard times get you down. If there is a will, there is a way. You should always be in a solution-oriented mindset, otherwise, it could be really tempting to give up
Shannon Kaygi, CEO & Co-Founder of Eossi Beauty
Shannon Kaygi’s background in hemp wholesale, cannabis technology services, supply-chain management, and entrepreneurship—along with her eye for identifying market opportunities for consumer goods and services—merged seamlessly together in the creation of Eossi Beauty. Ms. Kaygi plays a central role in product development and marketing initiatives sets the company’s long-term growth strategy and benchmark goals and oversees the rollout and expansion of Eossi Beauty’s line of affordable natural skincare and cosmetic products featuring hemp-derived compounds and other botanical ingredients. She also is the founder of SYK Holdings, a hemp wholesale network of vetted companies that manufacture compliant ingredients such as crude oil, CBD isolate, full-spectrum distillate, non-detect broad-spectrum distillate, smokable hemp flower, and biomass. Ms. Kaygi grew SYK Holdings into a million-dollar business within one year of its establishment.Her experience in cannabis and hemp industry compliance includes a management role in business development for Simplifya, a software firm that provides audit support to protect company licenses and investments. She also has deep expertise in retail customer relations, having served as a manager for the national grocery chain Whole Foods early in her professional career, where she gained an appreciation for its strong company culture—something she has applied to her own businesses. A lifelong Coloradan, Ms. Kaygi graduated from the University of Colorado, Boulder, with a degree in International Affairs and Business. She enjoys travel and cooking, particularly Turkish cuisine that’s a part of her heritage, and spending time with her family.