A few weeks ago, we held our annual Jumpstart Conference where we brought together industry professionals from different verticals to talk about issues related to starting-up and operating in the space.
At the event, we were joined by Jeremy Bamford, CEO & Co-founder of PotGuide, Henry Finkelstein, CEO & Founder of Cannabis Big Data and Liz Stahura, President & Co-founder of BDS Analytics, who all served on our entrepreneur panel. The crew of cannabis industry founders talked about the challenges and successes of starting up in this industry and had some pretty good points. So we decided to pick out some of the highlights and share then with you.
[And, if you’d rather get the whole thing, check out our podcast episode with the full audio below]
Importance of your team
The importance of a strong, motivated, and synergetic team goes beyond the obvious “can’t do it alone” mentality. One of the central themes when asked about tips on entrepreneurial ventures was to use your teammates to help support the pains that come with entrepreneurial ventures. After working yourself to the bone, use your team’s energy to recharge. Take the time to talk to your team one on one, face to face, to find inspiration in their minds and ideas.
Decide who on your team supports your mission and contributes meaningfully to your entrepreneurial vision. Letting go of the weak links sooner than later eases the conscience and allows you and your team to move forward without the unnecessary weight.
Staying on top of industry news
In an industry as dynamic and evolutionary as the cannabis industry, it is important to stay on top of related happenings. Among the panelists, there was consensus on the two best ways to stay up to date: read and meet face to face.
Subscribing to 30+ newsletters and “power reading” as many as possible is the quickest way to know what’s going on. Be selective about those you subscribe to, making sure they are as relevant to your entrepreneurial goals as possible.
Any time you enter a new market, make it your first priority to meet face-to-face with professionals already involved in this market and ask the questions - even the seemingly obvious ones. This is the best way to learn the ins and outs of the market from someone who has already navigated its complexities.
Decision fatigue is real, and the only way to stay afloat is to prioritize. Know which decisions matter and establish a system for assigning weight to decisions of differing priorities. Perhaps consider establishing a list of core values which would allow you to design a systematic approach to your decision-making process. This will make it easier to get focused on the lean methodology of your business which will ultimately lead to stronger, faster, and overall better internal operations.
Advice to aspiring entrepreneurs
Take the time to meet industry professionals and extract out their pain points. Decide then how you can work to remedy these pains by researching the market - know your competitors, understand the trends, speak to consumers. Chances are you’re not the first one with your idea, so figure out how you will do it better and faster.
Don’t be afraid to take that first leap. It is important to stay even-keeled among both the highs and the lows and it will become your job to remind your team to keep their eyes on the prize. This ensures that your decisions aren’t influenced by either the high you get from a breakthrough, of the inevitable lows you may experience as part of your entrepreneurial journey.
Set reasonable business model assumptions. In fact, it is often times better to project your performance more pessimistically so as to remain both ambitious and reasonable. And finally, don’t forget to rely on your teammates and learn to trust in them and seek out the ways in which their minds and ideas can inspire you.
We're looking for entrepreneurs operating ancillary cannabis or a hemp/CBD companies to join our 2019 accelerator cohort and receive seed funding through our venture fund. Learn more about the offer at canopyboulder.com/apply