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Thoughts on Starting a Cannabis Business

Posted by Micah Tapman on Mar 25, 2016 6:36:44 PM
Micah Tapman
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Startups are 90% execution and 10% idea. You just read that but you don't believe it. No one does. They delude themselves into thinking it's all about the idea. Work is work, everyone does it so the real differentiation is the idea. Bullshit. Was Google some amazing idea? Not really, they copied from people before them, tweaked an algorithm, and built the fastest search engine on the Net. Why did they win? They executed on the one thing users really wanted, speed. (And they still lag behind on algorithms: Google versus Wolfram Alpha.)

What's this have to do with cannabis? The green rush is a lot like the .com rush, lots of ideas but not a lot of execution. Leaders who can build great teams and execute on an idea will end up winning. Everyone else will be an also-ran with little more than stories to tell friends in later years. So take that great idea and put it aside while you build a real business, starting with market validation.

Next steps for you:

  • Talk with 100 people to see if they would pay anything for what you are trying to build/invent/create.
  • Talk with 5 business owners in the cannabis industry to see if they mention the problem you are trying to solve.
  • Talk with 10 potential co-founders and see if anyone else would join your crazy train (crazy or stupid...those are the only explanations for entrepreneurship).
  • Offer all of your friends an family members a chance to make a lot of money by giving you $10,000 to get started.

Now take the results from those simple tests and spend time really thinking about what they mean. Were people excited to pay for your product/service/solution? Did business owners mention the need for your solution without prompting? Did anyone really want to join your team? Did anyone get excited about giving you seed funding?

If the answer to all of those was "no" take some time to assess options. You might be a genius and everyone else an idiot but as the saying goes, if everyone else seems crazy maybe it's actually you. Go back to the drawing board, talk with more experienced entrepreneurs, and make damn sure you're on the right track. Also consider whether a pivot is in order. Not too many companies start down the right path. It's much more common to see a good idea lead to several pivots as the team begins to understand the market and the real opportunity.

On the other hand, people getting excited, wanting to join the team, wanting to give you money, want to buy your product...those are great signs. From there it's time to dig deeper into the numbers. Check financial logic and see if this might be a real business. And that's where Canopy comes in. We provide the resources and relationships to help take companies from the good idea to execution. From wondering what to do next to executing on a proven model for building great companies.

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Topics: Entrepreneurship