(Ed. note – The following article is a first-hand account of the progress of the development of Garden First, a cannabis startup beginning their operations with a 6,000 square foot indoor production facility in central Oregon. Every quarter an article will be published focusing on a specific topic, ranging from banking issues to cultivation tips and everything in between. The goal of these segments is to create a window view into the inner workings of a cannabusiness as it develops, highlighting common challenges faced in the industry and be a resource for new and existing businesses to learn from. See the next published article here.)
When starting a new business, it is important to establish who you want to be in whatever industry you are a part of. These values and goals lay the framework for your company’s branding, growth, and sales strategy. The cannabis industry is quickly becoming more competitive as larger companies are creating economies of scale and multi-state branding becomes a reality. So the bottom line is, what makes you different? Where do you fit? How do you create value in your company culture that will thrive for years to come in such a rapidly evolving industry?
For us at Garden First, our mission and vision came well before the creation of our business. The idea was simple: create a company run by growers where garden health and employee work ethic were held in the highest regard. The decision to go off on our came came after years seeing the business we worked for have issues due to high rates of turnover and “cost saving” practices on grow equipment. In our minds, the garden is the foundation of every vertically integrated cannabis entity, hence our name.
Whether you agree with this perspective or not is irrelevant. As a grower-owned company we put a lot of value on the garden, so much so that we feel this emphasis is the basis of our branding strategy as well as our operations manual. What is important is that as a business owner you feel equally as concrete and confident about your place in the market. Doing a “ten commandments” exercise early on can help define what your core values are.
1. Put the garden first.
It is as simple as it sounds – put the garden first. When making every decision big and small, prioritize the needs of the garden that gives us everything.
2. One leaf at a time.
It’s easy to get caught up and overwhelmed due to a variety of external stimuli. Remember to take a step back, take a breath, and take on one task at a time.
3. Be passionate- love what you do.
Remember always you are here doing what you love.
4. Be honest, be transparent, and you will be successful.
Honesty is the only way to create long lasting success. Open communication is welcome and encouraged.
5. Respect every voice, even your own.
Listen to others but don’t be afraid to express yourself. More importantly, know the difference between listening and waiting for your turn to talk.
6. Always represent the brand positively.
Work doesn’t end when you leave the garden. Always represent the company well.
7. Act like an owner, become an owner.
Those who act like owners and elevate the culture and the brand will be acknowledged, recognized, and rewarded.
8. Be a paycheck maker, not a paycheck taker.
There are those who come to work for a paycheck, and those who come to work to contribute to something bigger. Aspire to be your best everyday.
9. Sustainability breeds scalability.
Scaling of an operation will only be successful if the current methods are sustainable. This can be applied on both a micro and macro level.
10. Never stop learning.
Don’t ever let ego get in the way of evolution. This industry is brand new and constantly changing. Always stay on the forefront.