Make a Dent in the Cannabis Industry: How to Open a Dispensary That is Successful

What if your cannabis industry hopes went up in smoke as soon as you got started?

It is true that the cannabis industry is growing and thriving right now. We now have cannabis drive-through services! However, with all the competition, it can be difficult for a new dispensary to succeed.

That is why we put together a comprehensive guide on how to open a dispensary successfully. Keep reading to learn the secrets!

Adjust Expectations

When it comes to opening a dispensary, many entrepreneurs start seeing green. Not the green of cannabis, but dollar bills!

Because the industry is growing right now, many see a dispensary as a “get rich quick” opportunity. If this describes you, then the first step is to adjust your expectations.

It takes any new business years to start reliably turning a profit. And your own big dispensary payday may be slowed down by everything from competing vendors to changing laws and regulations.

It does not mean you will not make a profit. However, you must realize this profit is at the end of a lengthy timeline.

The Hiring Order

Obviously, you will need to hire staff for your dispensary. However, the real trick is to hire the right people first.

Simply put, you will want to hire your upper management members first. Only after extensively training this team should you hire more staff members.

Doing it this way allows you to thoroughly train and prepare managers to handle a very unique job. You will also be able to get their input on any new hires that you make.

This ultimately creates a more cohesive team. They will be more effective and efficient, and this translates to better productivity and profitability.

Do Your Legal Homework

A lot of research should go into your dispensary planning. And the most important part of this research is the legal research.

Cannabis laws vary from state to state and even city to city. And looming above it all are the federal laws that are still completely different from everyone else’s laws. Plus, rare events like government shutdowns may affect your business.

It is important to know the laws concerning what you can sell, how you can package it, how you can deliver it, and so on. If your dispensary is not fully compliant, then your business may be shut down before you have truly started.

Location, Location, Location

In many ways, opening a dispensary is very different from opening other businesses. They share something in common, though: the need for a good location.

You will want a rental property that is highly visible and highly accessible. However, the biggest difficulty is dealing with various compliance regulations in your area.

For example, many cities have restrictions about how far your dispensary must be from schools, churches, and residential areas. There may also be regulations controlling how far you must be from another dispensary.

All of these compliance restrictions can make it difficult to find a good property. Be sure to take your time and get the best possible location!

The Soft Opening

Before your grand opening, it is important to have a soft opening. This is an event where you can invite your friends and family to experience your new business before you open a dispensary to the public.

First, the disappointing news: you may not be able to sell actual cannabis yet, depending on local regulations. Instead, this is an opportunity to get their opinions on everything else.

Get feedback on things like product selection, store layout, and the entire process of registration and checkout. Use this feedback to create a more positive experience for the big day!

Market Assessment

Before you open a dispensary, you must understand your customers. And that means doing your market research of the area.

For example, some dispensaries sell only at their store and some sell only via delivery. And other dispensaries do both.

Your dispensary should reflect the needs and desires of your area. If the local population is older, then chances are high that they will prefer delivery services.

If the local population skews younger, they may prefer the experience of physically visiting a dispensary and interacting with the workers and other customers.

Budget Planning

It is important to create things like a dispensary business plan. To do this, you must first have a very honest assessment of what your budget looks like.

Remember, each month will have costs ranging from licensing and renting to salaries and security. All of this effectively eats into how much money goes into your pocket.

Knowing the budget helps you enter into this business with eyes wide open. Furthermore, it helps you to develop your short and long-term goals for the business.

Enter the Audit

The word “audit” has a scary connotation for many people. However, for someone opening a dispensary, auditors are destined to become your best friends.

Like we said before, compliance issues are the most dangerous things for your company to worry about. And there are compliance issues to worry about at the city, state, and federal level.

By hiring auditors before you open the business and for periodic inspection, you ensure that your business remains compliant at all times. That means one less thing for you to worry about while running your business.

Scope Out the Competition

For your business to succeed, you must understand what the competition looks like. In turn, this means understanding both your legal competition and your illegal competition.

Obviously, other licensed vendors are a threat to your bottom line. However, you must also consider illegal dispensaries that might be undercutting the licensed vendors at every turn.

Understanding the competition will help you develop products and services that make your own dispensary unique. It also may give you a chance to appeal to a demographic that is being overlooked by everyone else.

How to Open a Dispensary Successfully: The Bottom Line

Now you know more about how to open a dispensary successfully, do you know how to grow your customers?

Here at American Cannabis Company, we specialize in helping dispensaries grow and thrive in a competitive economy. Check out our branding and marketing services today to see what we can do for you!



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