Legal cannabis sales are expected to reach $30 billion by 2023.
With these projections, there’s clearly no better time to start a cannabis dispensary. Perhaps you’ve flirted with the idea but you’re not sure how to bring your dream into a reality.
Sounds like you? Don’t worry, we’re here to help. Here are 10 things you must know about running a cannabis dispensary.
1. Create a Business Plan
To run a successful cannabis dispensary, you must have clear goals whether it’s selling medical marijuana or recreational drugs. You must also stand out from the competition as more states are planning to legalize cannabis in the future.
In your business plan, consider where you’ll be sourcing cannabis, how safe it is, and figure out an inventory system. You should also outline your budget, so you know how much to spend on your rent, licenses and insurance, and high-quality cannabis or CBD products.
2. Plan Your Financing
Like other industries, you’ll need financing for your hemp business. Note that it’s difficult to get funding from the bank because they’re closely tied to the government.
Because of this, you must get financing from groups that help cannabis businesses, crowdfunding, and business accelerators.
3. Consider the Type of Cannabis Business
Figure out whether to start the dispensary alone, with a partner, or turn it into an LLC. When weighing the options, you should consider the amount of capital requires, liabilities, and taxation.
It’s important to note that sole proprietorship and partnerships are cheaper to operate but you’ll be personally liable should a problem arise. Many business owners choose to open an LLC because it protects their assets if someone tries to sue them.
4. Get Cannabis-Related Licenses
Dispensary owners must adhere to their state and federal laws to ensure they have the right permits and licenses. You’ll need a cannabis-specific seller license that you must apply and pay for annually.
You must also get general and product insurance to protect your dispensary against potential risks.
5. Choose a Name for Your Dispensary
Take time choosing a name for your cannabis dispensary. You want one that’s memorable and represents your business or values. Make sure that the name you’ve chosen doesn’t infringe on any other trademarks otherwise you’ll end up in legal trouble.
6. Find the Perfect Location
There are certain rules to follow when opening a cannabis dispensary. Before you find your dream location, know that dispensaries can’t be located within 1,000 feet from a school, church, or community center. Plus, they must be in their building and not part of a mall.
Make sure you find a spot that has high-foot traffic and is near parking so it’s convenient for customers. Then, decide whether you want to lease or own a building. If you’re renting, be upfront about how you plan to use the property, so it doesn’t put the landlord in an uncomfortable position.
7. Get Products
Whether you’re sourcing your cannabis or buying from a vendor, be mindful of what you’re selling. Before you start the venture, have a list of reliable suppliers so you’re guaranteed a steady stream of product. Then you can decide if you want to focus solely on edibles or offer a wide range of cannabis products.
8. Hire a Great Team
A dispensary is only as good as their team so be vigilant in the hiring process. Know that all dispensaries must hire security guards and have a certain number of employees at one time.
Post a job listing on your website alongside other job-hunting sites so you reach a large audience. Dispensary employees should have extensive knowledge about cannabis, fantastic customer service skills, and organizational skills so they know which products to upsell.
If you’re feeling overwhelmed, consider cannabis staffing with Hempstaff as they know how to find the best employees for your dispensary.
9. Build a Great Website
You may lose up to 80% of potential customers if you don’t have a website.
Having an SEO-friendly website is the key to reaching more customers and standing out from the competition. Make sure it’s easy to use, looks professional, and is responsive so customers can browse on their mobile devices.
You must also set up social media pages for your businesses so you can share updates about your dispensary and engage with your audience. Plus, hire a graphic designer as they can create a strong brand identity for your business, and ensure it’s cohesive across all marketing materials.
10. Market Your Dispensary
The best way to market your dispensary is via social media. You can invest in PPC ads, targeted ads, and run contests or giveaways to further your reach.
It’s also important to build trust around your dispensary by answering customer questions and explaining more about how your business works. You must be completely transparent about how your business operates and where you source your products to ease any of their concerns.
And on your site or social media page(s), explain the legal requirements that your cannabis business has met so prove you’re credible.
That’s How to Run a Cannabis Dispensary
Hopefully, after reading this article, you now know everything about running a cannabis dispensary.
Start with a robust business plan, secure financing, and find the perfect location for your dispensary. You must also get the right permits, licenses, and insurance to protect your business and staff. Good luck with your venture!
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