When it comes to the personnel you’ll need to open and run a successful cannabis retail store, they can be broken down into two groups: professional services, and your day-to-day staff.
First let’s take a look at the most important professional services you’ll need to retain:
Probably the single most important relationship a cannabis entrepreneur has is with their attorney. There are two specific areas of legal expertise you’ll want covered. First, you need to have access to someone familiar with the licensing, application, and compliance processes of your province. Next, you’ll want to make sure you’ve got world-class representation, just in case something ever goes horribly wrong.
Few would argue that the relationship with your accountant is only slightly less important than that with your lawyer; remember, Al Capone eventually went down for tax fraud, not trafficking!
As mentioned earlier, every province has created its own system of regulation and compliance that you’ll have to deal with. A full-time compliance officer should definitely be one of the very first hires you contemplate. They will help you manage and document all aspects of your business, as well as handle any administrative reporting mandated by the province. Most retailers will train their office manager into this role over time, though during startup you may require additional assistance from someone with more experience.
Most provinces require you to detail your adherence to their security and surveillance guidelines as part of the licensing and application process, so you’ll want to begin working with someone to help you design your security system as soon as possible. You’re going to need a 24/7/365 security presence including live personnel, transport planning, alarms, cameras, and recording equipment at the bare minimum.
Now let’s take a look at the basic categories of employees you’ll need to hire as day-to-day staff:
While not legally mandated in every state/province, it is still a very good idea to consider hiring well-trained security personnel to protect your operation from theft and other issues. Cannabis retailers are attractive targets for both employee theft as well as outside criminal activity, and you need to protect yourself against both.
Your budtenders are the front-line troops of your retail store; their performance can literally make or break you. Mistakes like selling to an underage customer can quickly result in the loss of your license, so make sure to train them extensively. They should also be trained to function as real ambassadors for your brand; empower them with information to help customers select the best strains of flower for their needs, and educate them as much as possible. Think of them like waiters in a restaurant — no matter how good your product is, their performance is going to define your customer experience to most visitors.
With so much riding on the accuracy of your inventory, it’s critical to hire a dedicated inventory manager whose sole job is to conduct daily inventory audits and reconciliations and handle any inventory reports or inspections by governing or regulating agencies. With so much riding on the accuracy of your inventory, it’s critical to hire a dedicated inventory manager whose sole job is to conduct daily inventory audits and reconciliations and handle any inventory reports or inspections by governing or regulating agencies. Your inventory manager should monitor stock level and ensure popular products are on the shelf and ready to sell. Beyond organizational skills and attention to detail, your inventory manager should also possess good communication skills, since they’ll also manage the relationship with your suppliers.
Perhaps most importantly of all, you’ll need to retain an experienced retail store manager (with verifiable references!). This person can assist you during the initial set-up of the store, advise on best practices, help evaluate suppliers, recommend potential employees, and provide a great deal of general assistance in running your storefront – they can even be empowered as a secondary point of contact for regulatory and law enforcement agencies. An Inventory Manager is also usually a smart idea; in smaller operations, this function is usually filled by the Store Manager, but larger stores often employ a separate person specifically for this purpose.