Preparing to submit a cannabis license is not easy work. It can be very daunting to enter an emerging industry with no licensing guidance. See below for expert advice to help you come out on top!
1. Application and Business Strategy:
Cannabis is the fastest-growing industry in the world today. Planning for your cannabis business is extremely important in winning a license. For that reason, start now and “stress-test” your business plan by asking friends, family, and colleagues to give your clients critical feedback. Think through each business component — from marketing to financials to HR, and be honest about strengths and weaknesses so there is sufficient time to make improvements.
2. Financial Strategy and Capitalization
Many new cannabis operators are naive about the significant expenses of opening a new facility. First, carefully review the financial models of the license of interest. Then, ensure you and your team have a full understanding of each cost and its significance. Reviewers need to have confidence that operators have the capital necessary to launch this business.
3. Suitable Real Estate
Finding the right location for your cannabis business is another aspect to consider. The real estate process takes time, so don’t wait to get this process underway and risk having to settle for a property that is less than ideal. Realtors are very new to this space; begin the process by developing a list of “must-haves” and then a secondary list of “preferences.” Lastly, remember that each region is subject to different tax laws. It’s important to understand the financial implications of real estate selection as well as the site’s access to talent and customer base.
4. Professional Team with Cannabis Experience
Additionally, winning teams are composed of individuals with practical, relevant experience in a highly regulated industry. Reviewers want to know that your clients understand the business they are getting into, and have complementary experience derived from other industries. Start the team-building process early by creating a “dream organizational chart,” and thinking about the people on hand and the must-hires.
5. Community and Political Engagement
Even today, the East Coast still has some conservative beliefs about cannabis. Part of our job as industry operators is to educate communities. For example, if there is a region where your client wants to operate which may not be fully supportive of cannabis, they should consider making a presentation to the community to share the vision and address questions about the plant and industry at large. Remember not to be defensive; most of the time the concerns expressed are stemming from a place of misunderstanding and fear. Education is hugely important in shifting mindsets, which can result in the business accepted into a community with open arms.
6. Complete, Compelling Cannabis License Application
Once the business application becomes available, it’s time to build responses. Winning after submitting your cannabis license application is no easy feat. Groups that succeed at this point have already assembled the information, people, and design elements needed within the application. The application process is an exercise in answering questions you will likely already know the answer to. Remember, reviewers, are human beings asked to read hundreds of very similar submissions. Don’t be afraid to tell a compelling story and to find ways to stand out. Last but not least, you want your clients’ vision to be relatable while still evoking a sense of confidence in the reviewer.
It is one thing to be a master of your cannabis business model, but creating your licensing submission can be an overwhelming task. Additionally, to no surprise, navigating the ins and outs of the application process is no light work. Check out our website for more information on how Point7 can lead your application to success.