Five Steps to Building a Winning Cannabis Retail Operation
From compliance and training to building a company culture, use these best-practices to make sure your dispensary stays a step ahead.
The cannabis industry is under heavy scrutiny. Although we often celebrate the small victories in the battle for legalization, the announcement of the Trump administration’s Marijuana Policy Coordination Committee makes us brutally aware the war is not yet won. On the cusp of such a pivotal moment in cannabis history, dispensary owners and managers need to remain diligent.
As the frontline representatives of the cannabis industry, dispensary owners and managers have an increasingly difficult job. With constant regulatory changes, employee turnover and training, brands knocking at your door, and daily fires to extinguish, there’s a lot going on. We’ve put together our top five tips on how leaders in cannabis retail can survive the day while pushing the industry forward.
1. Treat Compliance like Gospel
At a time when lawmakers and politicians are holding a microscope up to current industry practices, it is vitally important to make compliance the number one priority in your dispensary. Regulations, standards, and laws are what separate the cannabis industry from the black market. Infractions in compliance are a blemish on industry integrity. Train your staff, not only to follow every letter of the law but why it is essential in the first place. Building a culture wherein compliance and accountability are celebrated, rather than bemoaned, is one of the best investments you can make
2. Train Your Budtenders on More than Compliance
Industry statistics indicate the demographics of the cannabis industry are expanding rapidly. While the majority of cannabis users are still in their twenties, a growing number of baby boomers and seniors are turning to cannabis. Many are looking for health and wellness purposes, and they aren’t interested solely in which strain boasts the highest THC potency with the “headiest vibe”.
Additionally, these customers likely have countless questions about cannabis, cannabinoids, and cannabis-based products. Budtenders should be well-trained and educated enough to be able to answer their questions intelligently and accurately. Supplying your frontline employees with adequate product knowledge and brand resources will boost your customer satisfaction and retention while bringing up your average ticket prices.
3. Hire for Professionalism
Budtenders aren’t just the sales force in your business; they are the face of the entire cannabis industry. As new patients,lawmakers, business professionals, and even grandparents enter your establishment for the first time, what image does your staff portray? While “stoner culture” was infamous throughout the reign of the black market, many legal consumers are put off by the negative connotation associated with this stereotype. Your budtenders should always have a professional appearance and demeanor. Make sure you set expectations early on and maintain a clear line of communication so you can easily send reminders and constantly improve.
4. Remind Your Budtenders of their Importance
Let’s face it – to outsiders, budtenders are the rock stars of the cannabis industry. However, shortly after getting hired, they often realize it’s still a retail job, and one with a tremendous amount of rules to follow, at that. Unfortunately, this is usually when mistakes are made, too. While the glamour tends to fade quickly, the success of your business rests on keeping those budtenders excited to show up for work every single day. Celebrating successes, honoring accomplishments, and organizing team events will keep your staff engaged and aware of the role they play within the bigger picture of the cannabis industry.
5. Encourage Industry Participation and Self-Growth
Understanding the impact and reach of the cannabis industry increases motivation, stokes passion, and teaches the full scope of the legal cannabis movement. Encouraging your employees to stay in-tune with cannabis headlines, read new cannabis research and attend industry events helps keep staff engaged.
Reward them for using their personal time to advance their industry knowledge and empower them with the tools and resources they need to seek out this growth on their own.
Making Sense of it All
As the cannabis industry continues to mature and move into the mainstream, industry leaders must learn how to adjust their approach, and it starts with the position at the forefront of cannabis, the budtenders. Moving forward, discerning cannabis consumers are demanding more from their budtenders than a pretty face and an estimated strain potency. Best in Grow is a powerful dispensary management tool that makes life a little easier. From scheduling and training to team engagement and culture building, Best in Grow integrates with your existing software solutions to streamline and optimize how your day-to-day responsibilities, freeing you up to focus on the things that matter.
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