Having a trusted consultant is essential to your cannabis business. Finding the right consultant can be difficult. So, knowing what to look for and what questions to ask can ensure you are getting the right consultant for you.
Check References and Referrals
Just like a “blind” date in the 21st century, you want to do some research on the consultant you are considering. Take a tip from your preteen daughter with her FBI research skills and do some digging. Through social media, Google reviews, LinkedIn, and what other companies have used your prospective consultant. Do they seem legit or is it a friend helping out a friend that obviously has never actually received any consulting services. Asking questions that might illustrate conflicts of interest with other cannabis companies can also be quite illuminating. While growing at a rapid pace, the cannabis industry is still a small world and reputation is incredibly important. Who you use for your consulting needs and putting relationships in jeopardy can cost you dearly in the long run.
Certifications and Credentials of a Trusted Cannabis Consultant
A reputation is one thing, but tangible credentials and certifications can also influence how you choose a consultant. Finding a consultant for your specific needs whether a consumer-facing or ancillary business can influence your hiring decisions. Certifications like Certified Professional of Food Safety (CP-FS) or Certified Quality Auditors (CQA) for FDA, ISO 9001/22000, OSHA, GACP, or cGMP Certification consultants can be more beneficial to a company looking to provide safe cannabis flower, oil, and consumables.
Consultants should have a specific cannabis background in regards to certifications and proper SOP’s written specifically for the cannabis industry helps ensure finding a consultant that is used to the industry and all of the different nuances that exist in the industry. You probably don’t want a consultant that has never been in a cannabis facility before, but some of the more experienced consultants come with a higher price tag. Many times, spending a bit more now can save you more in the future. Depending on your company’s budget and needs you can decide what kind of consultant would be the best fit for you based on the certifications they have and what certifications they can help your company receive.
Bang for Your Buck
Discuss the end product. What exactly are you expecting from your consultant? What do you need to provide and how long will the project take? Discussing the scope of what is needed will not only establish a solid line of communication going forward but will help both parties understand exactly what the results will be. While the cost of consulting services can give many sticker shock, the long-term benefits will 100% outweigh the initial cost.
Instead of playing catch up or getting hit with hefty fines by the FDA and FTC utilize consulting services upfront. Which can greatly aid your business in the long run. If you’ve hired a knowledgeable, well-established, and trusted cannabis consultant the benefits of your upfront time and money will be felt years after. Establishing a solid reputation and a reputable business as well as being prepared for a random audit is immeasurable. Compare prices, referrals, and specialties to find the consultant that works best for you and your business.
What to Avoid
Keep an eye out for any red flags or comments that put you on edge. You know your business better than anyone. A consultant might show the pitfalls of where your business can improve and ensure a quality facility or product. They should be working with you not against you. Consultants that simply point out where you are failing and disappear into the night aren’t quality consultants. Giving incredibly vague answers with a lack of references and no interest in your business are telltale signs of a bad egg. A consultant is your coach and cheerleader leading you to success. Even giving harsh critiques at times yet still wanting to see your business succeed. If you get the impression, they want to take your money and run after pointing out one or two things they consider not on par. It’s time to leave the consultant behind.
With the continuation of federal legalization still a looming possibility. It is essential to utilize well-established consultants to set your business up for success in the future. The reality is that once a lack of regulation benefitted many cannabis businesses. Companies would fly under the radar with little to no consequences. However, the playing field is changing. Prepare and create a business that aids the cannabis industry for the success of future growth.
Teagan is the Marketing & Communications Manager for 710Spirits® and Rocky Mountain Reagents. While continually learning about the cannabis industry and all the possibilities it has to offer she creates content for The Canna Consortium both for blog posts and social media. Make sure to check out @thecannaconsortium2.0 for all industry updates and news.