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BIG Talk: A Conversation with CUE Cannabis Marketplace on Selecting the Best Software for Your Cannabis Business

Best in Grow sat down with Sean Glynn, President and CEO of CUE Cannabis Marketplace, to discuss tech, trends, and how businesses can navigate the increasingly crowded world of cannabis software.

You're reading: BIG Talk: A Conversation with CUE Cannabis Marketplace on Selecting the Best Software for Your Cannabis Business

As a leading provider of workforce management solutions for the cannabis industry, our team spends a lot of time chatting with retail operators, CPG manufacturers, cultivators, and industry analysts.

We love connecting with and learning from these leaders; while many have been working in the legal cannabis industry for much of their professional careers, we’re increasingly seeing new entrants from other spaces. Drawn to the cannabis industry by the tremendous growth and the need for experienced leadership, many have first-hand experience with the countless therapeutic and medicinal applications of the plant.

From coast to coast, a recurring trend we’ve heard is frustration with the overwhelming number of options for business software and the daunting prospect of finding the right fit. As a nascent industry brimming with unique challenges, opportunities, and peccadilloes, there’s been a proliferation of software solutions designed specifically to serve the full cannabis value chain. Those unfamiliar with the intricacies of cannabis may wonder why this industry is deserving of such bespoke platforms.

We had the opportunity to sit down with Sean Glynn, President and CEO of CUE Cannabis Marketplace. Offering software reviews and a consolidated SaaS dashboard tool, Cue Marketplace boasts 20+ categories of software for users to discover innovative solutions, compare pricing and capabilities, and build the perfect technology stack for their business. Check out our interview with Sean below, where we discuss tech, tips, and trends from the frontlines of cannabis SaaS.For those reasons, a quick Google query for ‘cannabis software’ returns nearly 70 million results. Nearly every business software tool you can imagine has a cannabis-centric equivalent, each assuring would-be customers that their industry expertise and domain focus will provide a competitive advantage and insulation from regulatory backlash. From payroll and accounting to point-of-sale and customer loyalty, it’s no wonder that business operators in the emerging cannabis industry are feeling overwhelmed by the abundance of software to choose from.


Best in Grow (BIG): What is CUE and what is your role?

Sean: CUE is an online and hands-on technology consulting resource designed to aid small business owners and operators in finding and implementing the right software tools and tech quickly and easily. I joined CUE in January of 2018 as the President and CEO.

BIG: What industry problems/ challenges were you excited to solve with CUE? What aspects of the cannabis industry are unique from other SMB technology challenges.

Sean: Our marketplace is unique in that we are 100% focused on giving small businesses the confidence to utilize software tools in all aspects of their operations. What excites me about CUE and our approach is that no other business software marketplace is dedicated to helping small businesses find what they need amidst the daunting amount of potential options. We typically spend about 80 hours researching the capabilities and reputation of each of the SaaS providers featured on our marketplace. We only want to partner with the best. This approach is unique in our space where most business software research and review sites are set up to cater to the software publishing industry, with little regard for the end-user/small business owner. To me, that is both exciting and incredibly rewarding.

Cannabis has several unique characteristics from a technology perspective:

  • Legislation and compliance requirements are highly variable from state to state.
  • Many of the software and tech companies in this space are relatively new. Careful attention to the finer points of how each operates is crucial to ensuring you have the right solution.
  • Everyday things are shifting and changing in this space. Stay informed! There is a ton of potential for growth in all aspects of this industry.

BIG: How did you get the idea for CUE? What is the CUE mission?

Sean: Our founder, Kevin O’Hara came up with the idea for CUE while he was Chairman and CEO at Integra Telecom. They had 90,000 small business customers, providing basic internet access and telephony, but those same customers were consistently in need of additional tech for their businesses. Our mission is to connect entrepreneurs with the right technology quickly, easily and economically. We are 100% customer-driven.

BIG: What is the biggest challenge you see dispensary owners struggle with most often? How does CUE help and also what advice would you give them?

Sean: Smaller canna biz operations struggle with many of the same challenges as any other small business

  • Finding and retaining good employees.
  • Effective marketing to attract and retain loyal customers.
  • Efficient operating models
"Add to those the challenges that come with being in a highly regulated industry without the benefits of standard business expense federal tax write-offs and fierce competition, these businesses can’t afford to not leverage every possible tool available to help them run efficiently and remain in compliance with state regulations." Sean Glynn, President, CUE Cannabis

The most striking hurdle that all flower touching businesses face is the difficulty in landing a good banking partner. Until federal legislation enables the larger financial institutions to do business with a flower touching operation, this will continue to be an issue.

BIG: What some outcomes have your customers seen as a result of utilizing CUE?

Sean:

  • Confidence in their tech and software purchases.
  • Integration and ease of management of multiple platforms and subscriptions with the CUE Management Dashboard.
  • Time to focus on building their business, interacting with customers, creating vibrant cultures and scaling for growth.
  • Not having to research software!

BIG: What are some of the top missteps you see operators making when selecting their technology architecture?

Sean: A common misstep we see all the time in the cannabis industry is operators trying to cobble together their own accounting/seed-to-sale/point-of-sale solutions. This creates all kinds of inefficient work practices and creates the outright risk of being shut down if they can’t stay compliant.

BIG: What sort of questions should cannabis companies be asking themselves and providers when navigating the myriad options?

Sean:

  • Is the system easy to use?
  • Does the technology adapt to support your operations? At scale?
  • How does the system help your staff deliver a better customer experience?
  • Does the system meet regulatory compliance requirements?
  • Do you have the ability to integrate with other platforms and create robust reporting?
  • Is the system secure?
  • How good is the provider’s customer service?
  • Is the implementation process easy and is training available (both initially and ongoing?)
  • What is the provider's reputation?

BIG: What are some of the most exciting technologies you’ve found in the cannabis space? What is really unique that isn’t being done in other industries?

Sean: For both of the above questions, I’m excited by the creative problem solving I see in this industry. Because the industry is moving from illicit to legal across the country, everybody is able to create new solutions that tackle the challenges that come with that. We see this with so many of the partners on the CUE Cannabis Marketplace, they are focusing on improving the customer experience, changing the way businesses use data, and optimizing the technology available to business owners. Also, there is so much potential to use the data that we are collecting about our businesses, and I think that this is very exciting.

What I think is most unique about this industry is the way businesses cooperate and share ideas. From what I’ve found, that excitement that we all feel about being in this industry encourages a willingness to collaborate and or put our heads together to solve problems.

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