Cannabis consulting has exploded across the Nation in the past few years, giving entrepreneurs in need of business and operational help more options than ever.
It also makes it more confusing than ever. So many people out there with so many skills, how does a person choose?
With the passing of Amendment 2 in Florida, new businesses are opening across the state in anticipation of the regulations being developed by the Florida legislature in 2017.
Many of these are consultants - which is a good thing. There's plenty of work in the state for all. Not one agency can possibly responsibly represent all of the Cannabis Businesses in Florida.
More than ever, consulting firms claiming to specialize in the cannabis businesses have been on the rise as legalization across the U.S. continues. While some firms provide invaluable insight and expertise for the growing industry, others appear to be no more than Green Rush enterpreneurs attempting to strike it rich without actually touching the plant, on your dime.
It’s troubling to see startups and individuals pay tens of thousands of dollars for nothing more than false promises and pre-packaged advice.
In order to help cannabis businesses navigate the potentially destructive minefield of bad consulting firms, below are some warning signs to look for when selecting a firm:
Opportunities That Sound Too Good To Be True
If it sounds too good to be true, it usually is. This adage is cliché for a reason. The most common and injurious to be found is the promise of the lucrative local or state license to operate your business. NO company can guarantee you licensing because of the specific nature of the approval process. Any company that makes this unqualified statement is either stupid or lying. Proceed with caution if any consulting firm attempts to get your business by claiming such.
Undisclosed Conflicts Of Interest
In regards to licensing, many local authorities will only issue a limited number. One question a business owner should ask is whether the consultant has any other clients that are seeking licenses in your city or county. If so, you and the other client may be fighting for the same license. A follow-up question to then ask is whether the consultant has a resolution for this potential conflict. It’s a glaring warning sign if the consultant is not prepared to answer these questions. They must have a solution for this before taking on multiple clients in one area.
A Big Price Tag For An Unknown Outcome
If the consulting firm is quoting you five figures or more in exchange for unspecified consulting and advisory services, you should demand to know the details of what they will provide. The consultant should draft a proposal for you that includes a price quote, the strategy, steps for implementation and the services that will be provided at an additional cost. Make clear that you must first give written consent before the consultant performs additional services or spends money on your behalf. Also, outline deliverables with due dates and reports if applicable to your business. This information doesn’t need to be included in the contract; rather an email exchange between you and the consultant should suffice.
Turn-key Solutions For Your Business
The political atmosphere, the physical location of your business, your competition and the phase of the business cycle should all be accounted for when developing solutions for a cannabis company. Any consultant that claims to have a turn-key solution for your business is wrong. A good consultant knows that what worked for one client may not for you. If the consultant is not willing to go the extra mile to provide tailored solutions for your business, then you should find one that will. Don't be afraid to shop around.
You Never Hear The Bad News
No one wants to hear bad news and being the one to divulge it can be even worse. However, a consultant’s advice must be based in reality, which includes addressing all the pitfalls and dangers of operating in the cannabis industry. If you are only hearing positive news about your company, then it’s time to find a consultant who will tell you the whole truth- both good and bad.
Poor Communication Skills
The client-consultant relationship can have a direct impact on the success of your business. A smart consultant understands this and knows how to foster this relationship. In the initial meeting, the consultant should freely share his background, qualifications and skills and those of his staff. Additionally, there should be an open line of communication to ensure your concerns are addressed and goals are met. In addition, beware of consultants who "bad-mouth" other entities or consultants. Birthing a new industry takes collaboration and communication. If the consultant or business entity you are working with constantly runs down other businesses, they more than likely are not collaborating or communicating with their peers. They won't get to either, as their behavior alienates them from the true professionals.
We need positivity and support to launch this industry in Florida. From all entities involved. If you find yourself surrounded by something else, the best advice we can give is: change it up.
We hope you have enjoyed this piece and you share it with your current consultant if you have one. We want to collaborate with as many consultants in state and speak to them as well so we can give appropriate referrals when we have clients call us from out of our area.
Please feel free to contact us at My Medicine Consulting and see if we are the right fit for your business dreams in Florida. We will only be accepting a very limited number of clients so we can provide them the best services available without charging some of the enourmous fees we have heard of.
Good luck out there.
Feel free to call us!
Irvin ~ 954-536-9011
Hiedi ~ 202-760-1924
This blog will be authored exclusively by Irvin Rosenfeld & Hiedi Handford of My Medicine Consulting.