Entering the cannabis industry is an exciting prospect for many new and experienced entrepreneurs. At the moment, this is especially the case in states like Oregon and California where changes to regulation and legal frameworks have paved the way for entirely new industries with many gaps to fill. Whether you are launching a new business or expanding an existing enterprise, you’ll want to craft a strong business plan that can help you succeed in this industry.
For those readers looking for extra help in developing a coherent vision for the future of their business, Signal Bay Inc. (OTC:SGBY), a provider of cannabis consulting, research, data, operations and laboratory services, is available to assist. Lori Glauser, president and chief operating officer of Signal Bay, will be co-presenting a session with Carter Laren, founder of Pitch.Coach and director at the Founder Institute, on “Preparing a Killer Business Plan” at the upcoming Marijuana Investor & Entrepreneur Forum taking place at the Portland Expo Center on Feb. 2nd, 2016.
Of course, a business plan is in many ways useful for its ability to act as, well, a plan. It is a roadmap that will help lead you on the path to profitability. A good business plan prepares the entrepreneur for the obligatory roadblocks and pitfalls that are an inherent aspect of unfolding into new territories of growth. The second crucial function of the modern day business plan is to assist you when pitching to potential investors. A concise summary of the plan, be it an investor presentation or executive summary, serves as the primary instrument to instill confidence in those you intend to reach out to for financial support.
No matter what the entry point is into this industry—cultivation, retail, security, etc.—there are some key points you should keep in mind.
Strength, Concision, Agility
The concept of a business plan in the traditional sense is eroding. Where at once it might have been a 30-page document, there is now a focus on concision; a 10-page plan will suffice. It is critical to have a strong executive summary and pitch structure that will help you present the plan clearly and concisely to investors.
Every business plan should start with an executive summary that identifies what makes the business unique. What does the business add to a larger network of businesses working together? In the current mode of business, both technology and cannabis, things change quickly. The impact of this is that the plan needs to be clear and also agile. Investors need to see that your plan has the potential to adapt to changes in regulatory structures.
When developing a business plan and starting a new business in the cannabis industry, it is crucial to build into the plan with a sensitivity to local and state regulations, including their potential to change. We’ve seen some of these changes have a major impact on the ways that companies conduct their business. In states that have undergone a shift in regulation, such as Colorado’s more stringent regulations on packaging or Oregon’s introduction of legal delivery, some of the most successful companies have had plans in place that have allowed them to adapt to change.
Another key factor for entrepreneurs to keep in mind is the degree to which being an active participant in local and state politics can serve their interests. Developing relationships with local regulators built on trust and mutual respect can mean that those with influence will turn to the industry for guidance when needed.
“In this industry in particular, regulators in the states look to experts in the industry for guidance and to help write in those regulations. We have a much bigger voice than we think,” Glauser said. “When we approach them in a professional manner with a logical argument as to why we want certain things done, I think they are very receptive to that.”
Developing strong relationships with local officials should go hand in hand with staying abreast of upcoming regulatory changes, improving your ability to adapt.
There are many facets to this burgeoning industry as it continues to develop alongside a wave of legalization in an increasing number of states; however, the upcoming Marijuana Investor & Entrepreneur Forum in Portland will quickly bring you up to speed on this rapidly growing frontier market. The one-day, dual-track educational seminar precedes the Cannabis Collaborative Conference to be held Feb. 3-4, also taking place at the Portland Expo Center.