The world of medical marijuana is a new and developing world. As it is only relatively recently that marijuana for medical use has been legal in the United States, businesses such as medical marijuana dispensaries are still trying to find their feet, establish themselves, and figure out the best way to develop and take businesses forwards.
Whilst there are obvious correlations between a medical marijuana business and other businesses, which can be useful in teaching business owners important information, there are many obstacles which are more specific to the medical marijuana industry.
THE UNIQUE MEDICAL MARIJUANA WORLD
For those who have a medical marijuana dispensary or another business which operates in the world of medical marijuana, needs are pretty specific. Issues such as laws around strains of marijuana, licensing, and financial issues, can make the whole business confusing and leave business owner open to potential risks.
This means that conventional business advice isn’t necessarily right for medical marijuana businesses. For example, medical marijuana marketing has to follow a different set of rules than other business marketing. There are rules about advertising close to minors, as an example. And this is why it is good for businesses to be able to learn from other similar businesses.
There are, of course some parts of a business which can be studied from afar – such as branding and pricing, for example, but there are other aspects which would be more useful if you could have direct contact with a medical marijuana dispensary. There is also a lot of information which can be gleamed from the internet, but it there is a lot more information out there.
There are a number of ways to get more in-depth knowledge about working in the medical marijuana industry, such as:
- Sign up for newsletters, websites, mailing lists and blogs from businesses and websites. This will give you up to date knowledge about what is happening right now in the medical marijuana world – as well as giving you an understanding about how businesses communicate with their customers or potential customers.
- Look for books written by leading industry authors, as well as those which are recommended by cannabis universities or colleges.
- Try to attend a cannabis industry conference and use it to network – and gain any information that you think that you need.
The world of medical marijuana – although growing quickly, still has a friendly feel to it, and you might be able to find business owners who would be happy for you to pick their brains.
LEARN FROM THEIR MISTAKES
It is often difficult to see how a business is being successful – we can often learn a lot more from their (and our) mistakes than from things that go right or are successful. Try to imagine yourself as a customer or potential customer for another business and use this information to see what you think that they are doing well and what you think that they need to improve.
You can also find a lot of information online from people who own businesses in the medical marijuana world about how they set up their business, the mistakes that they made and what they would do differently.
According to many business owners in the medical marijuana industry, the three main areas where mistakes are made are:
- Legal knowledge about licensing, laws, rules and restrictions – this is state specific, so you must do your research properly according to where your business is located.
- Sales and marketing are different for many medical marijuana businesses. Marijuana marketing is bound by extra rules and regulations, and funding is also often affected as banks and other financial institutions are of reluctant to work with any business in the cannabis industry.
- Having good public relations is essential to the success of a business, especially in the world of medical marijuana. There is still a lot of stigma attached to the use of cannabis for both medicinal and recreational reasons. It might be easier to think of it as that you need to persuade the doubters, as opposed to those who already understand the benefits of medical marijuana.
Whilst we usually will learn more from mistakes that have been made, rather than things that have worked, if you notice that a business has had a really good idea, there is no harm in `borrowing` it – as long as you are also creative and keep the idea within your company`s specific branding.
Of course, there are copyright and plagiarism rules which must be adhered to, but generally speaking, there is no problem in using another business’s ideas as a stepping stone to creating your own.
If you are starting a medical marijuana business, it is important that you carry out your research properly. The internet and books have a lot of information to offer but getting information directly from a competitor is also extremely valuable. By getting the right information, you can ensure that your business runs smoothly and can lead the way in the world of medical marijuana.