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How To Avoid Failure In Your Cannabusiness

By Alexa Divett

According to Bloomberg, “8 out of 10 entrepreneurs who start businesses fail within the first 18 months.”

That’s an 80 percent failure rate!

Unfortunately, the Cannabis Industry is no different. For example, Oregon medical marijuana dispensaries are closing down as quickly as they open up.

Just last week, The Weedblog wrote an article stating that Oregon will become the most saturated cannabis market in the nation. 

For Oregonians, this is a wakeup call that it’s time to get serious and treat their cannabusinesses like any other real-world business.

The common misconception that many dispensary owners and cultivators adhere to is the notion that, “it’s weed; it will sell itself.” Sadly, this is not true.

In order to be successful, you need to be prepared to ride the waves of economic expansion and contraction. This means that as a cannabusiness owner you need to have a long-term vision and plan in place to grow your business. And, you need to know how to set yourself apart from the competition.

Here are four(4) ways to ensure that your cannabusiness does not become another failed statistic:

1. Discover your Unique Selling Proposition (aka, Unique Awesomeness)

Your Unique Selling Proposition (USP) is the cornerstone of your business and serves as the foundation for your brand.

The word “selling” is a turn off to many people, so I like to refer to your Unique Selling Proposition as your Unique Awesomeness. As a cannabusiness owner, you will be well ahead of the game if you figure out what makes you unique and awesome early on.

Your Unique Selling Proposition, aka Awesomeness, is literally that which you propose to sell to your customer that is different from your competition.

In states such as Oregon, Washington, California, and Colorado, there is a ton of competition so you will be more likely to succeed if you figure out what makes you unique and special right out of the gate. Once you have established your Unique Awesomeness, you must then turn it into your brand identity so you can show your potential customers, in seven seconds or less, why they should do business with you.

2. Thoughtful branding

If you look like everyone else out there you will lose your impact, plain and simple. Thoughtful design concepts that reflect your unique awesomeness and appeal to your target audience are the key to standing out in the crowd.

Although it’s tempting to cut this corner and find someone who will create your brand identity for less than the going rate, I highly recommend you hire a professional freelancer or design firm to ensure that your branding reflects who you are and who you plan on targeting.

Remember, using a giant pot leaf or green cross as your sole mark will ensure that you get lost in the crowd.

3. Marketing strategy and budget to implement

Like any real-world business, your cannabusiness will only thrive if you have a long-term marketing strategy and a budget to implement that strategy.

Many cannabusiness owners are in full startup mode, and finding money for marketing can be quite difficult. Most business advisers agree that setting aside between 10-25 percent of your gross sales for your marketing is the way to go.

There are ways to market your budget on a shoestring, but you need to understand that the only way to avoid becoming a failed statistic is by creating a clear marketing vision, and, by being willing to set aside money for implementation.

Trust me, Willie Nelson and Bob Marley have strategies and budgets!

4. Community service as a public relations tool

Doing well by doing good is a powerful business concept, and as a leader in the cannabis industry you have an opportunity (and maybe even an obligation) to provide leadership and education to your community.

Additionally, community service is a great way for your business to get noticed by the community and the media. Unfortunately, traditional PR practices such as sending samples of your amazing products to the press to review are not allowed in the Cannabis Industry. And in places like Oregon, a new dispensary opening is no longer news.

In order to create a newsworthy story you need to get creative, and a community service angle could be exactly what your local media is looking for.

Although economic expansion and contraction is totally normal in any industry, I predict that the “boom and bust” of cannabusinesses will be greater than other industries. As more and more people look to the Cannabis Industry with a get-rich-quick mentality, there will be increased competition.

In order to ensure that your business can survive the ebbs and flows you must be willing to put a solid foundation in place so you can grow your business and continue to provide your customers with what they are looking for.

Alexa Divett

Alexa Divett

Alexa Divett is the founder of Alexa Divett LLC, a business coaching and consulting company helping cannabis business owners achieve success through the implementation of sound business practices and time-tested marketing techniques.

As a successful entrepreneur, longtime marijuana advocate and medical grower, Alexa Divett understands the unique needs of the cannabis industry.

Alexa Divett is also the co-founder of Maya Media Collective, a Portland Oregon based creative firm that specializes in the cannabis industry.

Recently Alexa published Marijuana Millions: The Foundation For Success, which The Weedblog called the best marijuana branding book to date.

Alexa’s products and presentations on marketing and branding cannabis businesses have made her an in-demand and innovative expert in the cannabis business world.

Alexa’s goal is to help entrepreneurs achieve marijuana millions while uplifting the cannabis industry. To learn more about her visit

This Post Has One Comment
  1. I would also think the tax impact and not knowing the financial strategies to work around the higher payments would lead to failure as well no?

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