By Roger Bloss, CEO of MJ Holdings (OTC: MJNE)
As a result of the Green Rush, much like the Gold Rush of the 19th century, many newcomers are trying to get rich and get big in the industry. Many cultivators have been very successful in underground trading for years. However, because cannabis is legal and government regulated, these growers often lack the knowledge to adequately comply with federal and state laws.
This is a major reason today’s cultivators fail.
You can have an abundance of capital and investors, a great location with excellent growth facility, and a phenomenal workforce, but if compliance and regulation are not a cornerstone of your business plan, you will struggle to be successful.
Now is a phenomenal time to get involved in the cannabis industry. We are literally building a brand new, legal industry from the ground up. Success and profits have the potential to be huge, but since we are such a new and emerging industry, we will all make mistakes along the way. The only real mistake, however, is the one we learn nothing from.
At MJ Holdings, despite an abundance of funds, we have had setbacks and missteps. However, we knew that if we were to be successful, we would need new leadership; In September 2020 I was appointed CEO to reorganize and restructure the organization.
My business experience as the founder and CEO of a top 10 hotel company in the world fits perfectly with the vast knowledge of the founder of MJ Holdings, Paris Balaouras. Each of us has our strengths, and in no time we’ve worked together to bring the organization to its healthiest, richest state yet.
The best thing about the cannabis industry is that you learn something new every day. I’ve been incredibly lucky to learn from the best. However, when someone asks me what it takes to be a successful publicly traded cannabis company, I tell them to focus on the four lessons I’ve learned.
Takeaway # 1: Make sure you comply with state, local, and state regulations.
No question about it: you have to take the regulations very seriously. The state cannabis regulatory agency has tremendous power over whether your business opens its doors at all.
Many farmers go into the industry undercapitalized and do not know how many regulations to follow. In addition, compliance is an ongoing process. While it is best to start with assessing and reviewing compliance at the beginning, this is an ongoing monitoring practice as regulations change frequently.
There are cannabis compliance advisors and even unique software services out there to help you comply with country-specific regulations. If you are planning on starting a cannabis business, it is best to be proactive about regulatory compliance right away. If you’re already running a cannabis business, it’s not too late to get your ducks in a row. However, waiting for compliance can cost you your entire business. In addition to the fines, regulators have the power to temporarily or shut down your operations.
Takeaway # 2: Focus on the ground operations, not the value of your stocks.
It’s easy to get overwhelmed when you think about how your company is perceived and rated. Often times we have found that focusing on the outcome can affect the journey. If we are growing cannabis outdoors like we do, we need to make sure that our ground operations are at the center of every minute of the day.
As a publicly traded company with a private background, we have learned to stop worrying about the share price of our organization. Instead, we focus on the company’s core value because we know that as we continue to succeed, share prices and investor funding will rise. As I always say, “Happiness comes when you do the right thing.”
Demonstrating leadership skills to your direct team will have the greatest impact on your product and service development, which is likely to be the best and highest return on your investment.
Takeaway # 3: Know your personal values and act accordingly in your professional life.
Cannabis users look for brands that are in line with their own philosophy. You are looking for brands with appealing and attractive values.
Therefore it is important to get in touch with your personal values and to let them flow into your organization. Organizational values often make a company unique and can set you apart from your competition.
Your product must also follow your personal values. If you and your company value quality rather than quantity, your products must also reflect this and be of the highest quality.
Cannabis users will be the first to know whether your product truly lives up to your corporate values, and they will publicly share their positive and negative opinions with others.
Takeaway # 4: Know what the market needs and evaluate future needs.
It’s important to stay in the market and know what customers will need in the future. This is a crucial business tactic no matter what industry you are in. Keep up with the latest industry news and trends, network with fellow cannabis executives, and ask for their insights.
In relation to our industry, we actively strive to study and analyze the market, especially in our region. For example, by constantly researching the cannabis market in Nevada, we recognized the growing need for medical facilities and adapted our business model to meet this demand.
While these four lessons are not all the lessons I have learned, they are fundamental to any budding cannabis business. Get compliant, keep your feet on the ground, follow your values and study the market. When your business struggles, don’t see it as a setback, but as an opportunity to prepare for a better future.
Roger Bloss joined the company’s board of directors in late 2019, taking on the role of interim CEO and president of the Alternative Hospitality Division. As acting CEO of MJ Holdings, Roger brings over 40 years of hospitality experience including founding the Vantage Hospitality Group in 1996 and holding several senior positions at major hotel franchises.
His expertise in hospitality, entertainment, and health and wellness is an asset to MJ Holding’s goals of growing the cannabis entertainment industry across the country.