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It’s no secret that the popularity of weed keeps growing. As state laws continue to change across the country, more and more people see this as an opportunity to turn marijuana into a business. 

opening a dispensary

Getting into selling weed presents a major challenge to the average entrepreneur because this isn’t your typical product. Attitudes are slowly shifting, but there’s still plenty of resistance from much of the population.

If you’ve been dreaming of opening a dispensary, you’ve come to the right place for some great advice on how to proceed. Keep reading to discover insight that will make your road to being successful in the marijuana industry much less stressful.

Study the Market

Before you get ahead of yourself and start dreaming of getting rich selling marijuana, you need to take the time to understand the market. After all, this is a crucial step in understanding how to open a marijuana dispensary.

It’s important to have some grasp of consumer demand as well as your target customer, where they live, the cost of equipment, and other variables that you’ll face as you move forward.

Research Your Product

Next, you need to have a thorough knowledge of weed. Just because you enjoy smoking marijuana or consuming edibles doesn’t make you an expert on the subject. Ideally, you should study the science behind exactly what cannabis is, what it’s made of, and how the chemical make-up effects the human brain and body.

After all, marijuana is a serious topic, and you’re going to have to be able to answer a ton of questions, so the more well-versed you are on the subject the better equipped you’ll be to help your customers.

Create a Business Plan

As with any type of business, a good business plan is essential for having a chance for success. This is a document that outlines your entire strategy, from your forecast for profitability, the amount of capital you’ll need to get started, your budget for equipment, marketing, employee salaries, as well as your plans for managing future expansion.

Your business plan is crucial for demonstrating to potential investors why you need the amount of money that you’re seeking, and an estimation of when they should be able to expect a return on investment. 

Locate Commercial Space for Your Business

Location is everything. In fact, it’s hard to overemphasize the importance of where you choose to open your dispensary.

This is where your research into the target customer base will become beneficial. Your business will need plenty of foot traffic, and it needs to be the right kind of foot traffic. So keep in mind that not just any location will do.

You will need to lease a location that fits within your budget and that provides enough space to display your product and leaves you room to grow as your business flourishes.

It’s also extremely important to understand the laws and requirements in the city where your business will be located to make sure that everything you do is legal. This will help save you a ton of time, frustration, money, and possibly even legal problems.  

Find Investors

Finding investors can be challenging. This is true for any type of business but is especially true when it comes to attracting funding for a weed dispensary. 

Keep in mind that investors are looking for great business opportunities to invest in, so it’s your job to provide evidence that your business is too good of an opportunity to pass up.

This why creating a strong business plan is so important. It needs to contain realistic projections that will inspire investors to give you the money you need to get your business off the ground.

Here’s another tip to remember about investors: you might be in the business of selling marijuana, but you still need to act like a professional, because investors will not be interested in working with someone who they can trust with their money.

Research the Competition

Make no mistake, the weed industry is incredibly competitive, especially when it comes to owning a dispensary. You are definitely not the only person looking to take advantage of this new business opportunity.

The more you know about the industry and what your competitors doing right and doing wrong, the better you’ll be able to position yourself for success.

The key is to spot weaknesses in the competition that you can capitalize on, make improvements, and use these improvements to make your business and products more appealing to potential customers.

Get Licensed

When it comes to opening a dispensary, you need to be absolutely sure that you’re operating within the law. This includes getting all the necessary business licenses and permits.

Every state and city will have different requirements so be sure to understand all the laws in your area.

And it’s important to be aware that the average dispensary license cost is expensive. For example, the application fee in Colorado can cost as much as $15,000. So be prepared to fork over plenty of money to get started.

Stock Up On Product

You will quickly discover that stocking your shelves, and keeping them stocked, with cannabis products isn’t easy. The key is to research local growers and build relationships with quality growers so that you know that you can trust them to provide a consistent supply of products.

You will likely need a variety of sources for everything from fresh marijuana to edibles to oils. Thus you’ll have to invest time and resources in finding reliable suppliers who won’t suddenly flake on you or show signs of folding as soon as you open your doors for business.

Develop a Strong Marketing Strategy

Lastly, you need to develop a strategy for reaching potential customers. Keep in mind that traditional advertising methods can burn through your marketing budget incredibly fast. 

It’s no secret that social media is one of the most powerful marketing tools ever created, so you need to find ways to make it work for you. Be creative and think outside the box. Find the social media platforms that will reach your target audience more efficiently and experiment on where to invest your advertising dollars.

Important Tips for Opening a Dispensary

There’s nothing easy about opening a dispensary. Fortunately, the tips contained here can help get you started and put you on the path to becoming a successful entrepreneur. 

Starting a cannabis dispensary can be challenging, so reach out to one of our cannabis consultants to learn how we will make this process effortless on your end. 

Michael Mayes

About Michael Mayes

Michael Mayes is the founder and CEO of Quantum 9, Inc., a Chicago, IL-based cannabis consulting firm. We specialize in getting high net worth individuals and private equity cannabis business licenses to cultivate, manufacture and dispense marijuana. We have over 50 marijuana consultants that work for the company, and we have practiced in 12 countries. Our areas of expertise include permit acquisition, team building, employee training planning, and process planning. We help clients fully maximize the potential of any cannabis cultivation, processing, and dispensary business.

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