As more states move to legalize cannabis, there are more opportunities than ever before to enter the market from beauty lines to baked goods. But the downside to increased opportunity is also increased competition. Distributing and marketing a White Market label is no different from any other industry, demanding quality, professionalism, and consistency.
So how do creatives who want to start their own cannabis line get going?
Having an idea is great, but refining the idea and putting that into practice is what will garner results in the long term. Starting with a business plan is often the first step to launching any startup, whether large or small. The old adage of “just write it down” comes into focus as drafting the business plan clarifies the idea for both the person entering into business, as well as for potential investors and partners. What opportunities are there for us in this market? Who are we selling to? Who are our competitors? And what are our goals? While a business plan will change over time, it gives you a realistic outlook on potentials and pitfalls.
Even before you dive into a Business Plan, it is important to figure out your budget. Having a realistic attitude towards the timeline within your budget will help minimize unwelcome surprises. Perhaps your team is working 24/7, but the agencies with whom you work have a completely different schedule. Maybe something goes wrong with your contractors. Or perhaps an item needed to open is backordered. Many things can go wrong when starting your own venture, so accounting for these variables ahead of time, as best as you can, will help you push forward.
Finding Your Niche
Though the cannabis market is not as crowded as other markets, it is quickly becoming so with more states each year legalizing its use. Setting yourself apart from competitors is an important factor in determining the quality and longevity of your consumer relationship. The more specific you are, the more likely you will resonate with your audience.
There are many variables that will impact your product from environmental to timing to facilities. But accounting for those fluctuations while understanding the potency of your product and managing a consistent formula is key. Consumers like products that they can count on and brands that are dependable do best.
Not unlike other industries, branding is just as important for entrepreneurs entering into the cannabis market. Much of the branding process relates to the business planning phase of a startup of not just refining how your brand “looks,” but really having a deep understanding of where you fit into the overall marketplace. Gone are the days of backdoor deliveries and haphazardly drawn logos. Today’s consumers are demand quality. And competition is fierce.
One solution is to consider hiring a branding and marketing team that can bring knowledge on the needs and opportunities within the industry. Not only can a third-party collaborator add objectivity to your brand, these teams can also help navigate the many advertising compliance issues you will face in the marketplace.
Going back to understanding consumer needs, the top brands in the cannabis industry are often those that have a deep and meaningful relationship with their customers. With a thorough set of decision-making data points, successful brands must meet the consumer where they are at through thoughtful content and engagement strategies.
In closing, specificity and niche marketing will help you stand from the crowd. These subtopics are just a few thoughts to get you going as you venture into the cannabis marketplace.