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5 Key Elements of a Successful Cannabis Retail Business Plan

Cannabis Retail Business PlanSo, you’ve decided to open a cannabis retail business. Congratulations! You’re preparing to enter one of the most exciting and fastest-growing industries in the world.

In many respects, launching a cannabis retail operation is no different from starting any other business. You’ll have to find real estate that’s properly zoned, ensure you obtain the required licenses as per your local and state laws, and put together a winning cannabis retail team.

But before you do any of that, you’ll need to write a comprehensive cannabis business plan.

Your cannabis retail business plan is a critical document that will guide your company’s long-term strategy as well as its day-to-day operations. Your business plan will also play a crucial role in raising capital to fund your cannabis business venture. 

To help get you started, we’ve put together a list of five core elements you’ll want to ensure you include in what many business gurus argue is the single most important document an entrepreneur can create.

1. Opportunity

Every business — regardless of the particular industry — should have an identified opportunity to provide a competitive advantage that will separate it from the competition. You’ll want to do in-depth research of the competitive landscape in the area in which you’ll be operating; what problems exist that your business can solve?

The opportunity element of your business plan will be one of the most heavily scrutinized by potential investors. They’re going to be looking for a strong competitive advantage — one that will give them the best chance at a high return on their investment. Your opportunity section should also include research into your target markets and demographics.

2. Execution

As the name implies, your execution element will contain all information related to the carrying out of your company’s operations. This component of your retail business plan should contain three distinct sub-sections:

  • One covering your marketing and sales plan as well as community outreach efforts
  • One covering operations, locations, and facilities as well as the technology and the dispensary POS software you’ll implement
  • One that covers the metrics and milestones you’ll use to measure your operation’s performance

3. Company

Naturally, your business plan will include a section dedicated to the structure of your company as well as the individual members of your leadership team. This includes a list of all the people who will be considered owners as well as their specific stakes in the organization. You’ll also want to describe the legal structure you intend to do business under and your reasoning for doing so.

With regard to members of management, be sure to include relevant experience and skillsets of your leadership team, as well as explanations of how they’ll contribute to the success of your operation.

4. Financial Plan

Of course, potential investors are going to be very interested in the financial outlook section of your business plan. This component should include three key items: forecasts, financing, and future projections.

For the forecast, describe exactly how you arrived at estimated values and projections, whether through market research or past results. With regard to financing, you’ll want to clearly state where you’ll obtain capital and exactly how you’ll use it. Finally, ensure your future projections are based on accurate data and vetted through your accountant or financial planner.

5. Compliance

The preceding four elements are common to any business plan, regardless of industry. But because compliance with local and state laws is absolutely critical to cannabis business success, your business plan should include a dedicated section on exactly how your cannabis retail business will comply with all relevant laws and regulations.

In this section, make a list of every compliance requirement or stricture that you’ll be subject to, as well as your specific plan to stay compliant with these.

Learn More in this Free Resource

If you’re in the early stages of planning your cannabis retail venture, download our comprehensive guide to writing a retail cannabis business plan — it includes more in-depth information on the five elements discussed here as well as additional components you’ll want to include.

Get your free guide today!


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