Taking companies from good to great usually happens once companies have been operating for decades, gotten a bit arrogant and stagnant and know they need to step up their game in order to not get left in the dust by their competition. The time frame on this process is a bit warped in the cannabis industry given that it’s only been a regulated industry for a relatively short time. However, the need to improve still stands and the potential to take a company from good to great exists just the same. Since most cannabis business are startups there are some simple business strengthening techniques which many aren’t utilizing. Remember, there is ALWAYS room for improvement, even when you’re at the very top, so using simple steps to get from where your business is at to better doesn’t mean you are not doing well already. No matter what kind of cannabis business you’re in, or looking to start, these 3 easy steps will work for you.
1. Be Proactive Rather Than Reactive
Sit down with your team and list out issues you have faced before (something like your POS or inventory tracking system crashing, or an enraged customer on a 1-star review rampage), and issues that your company may face in the future (say, resulting from the political climate). Once you have a list of likely and potential adversities, develop strategies for your company to implement should any of these issues arise. Do this when you and your team are calm, thoughtful and not under direct threat. It’s crisis management planning 101. The goal here is for you and the leaders in your company to have a “oh, we have a plan in place for this!” response rather than a panicked “ohhhhh sh:*. What should we do? Any ideas?” kind of response. How does this make a difference between a good company and a great one? If your company can stay calm while facing turbulence, it’s much more likely to gain and strengthen the trust and loyalty of your team, customers and industry partners.
2. Customer Relationship Management (CRM)
If the only way your sales and marketing team is keeping track of communications with clients and potential buyers, or that your purchasing manager is keeping track of vendor communications is through email history, you’re crippling your business’s efficiency and communication proficiency for no reason. Much of business is relationships. Putting real effort into mindfully connecting with your customers, clients, vendors and industry partners can really boost your bottom line and your relationship capital. The good news is that there are low to no cost CRM platforms, like this one, so you can get started today regardless of whether you’ve budgeted for relationship management or not.
3. Hire with Intention
As Jim Collins, author of Good to Great, says, you’ve got to get the right people on the bus and get those people in the right seats. If your current hiring strategy is to write a job post that’s basically a job description and list of duties, look through 100+ resumes, choose who to interview based on those resumes and then have in person interviews from which you will choose employees as long as they are “good enough”, then RETHINK your hiring strategy. You’re holding yourself back by not being more specific and direct in your hiring.
There isn’t the space to go into a full strategy here, but to get you started we’ll suggest adding a few components to your job posting. Instead of just a job description and a list of duties, add: a description of the company culture, the type of person who has performed well in the position you are hiring for in the past, and a description of your ideal candidate (not just a list of skills, but rather something like “Our company culture is what makes us a huge success in the cannabis industry. The ideal person for this position would be proficient in the job itself, add to our high energy environment, do well with multitasking and stressful situations without getting flustered and be exceptionally good at handling confrontation in such a way that it doesn’t become negative conflict).”
Implement 1 or all 3 of these actions as a starting step to go from a good cannabis business to a great cannabis business. To have a great industry over all, we need a whole lot of great companies.