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With an exceedingly more favorable legal and regulatory landscape than in yesteryears, the cannabis industry is experiencing expansion like never before. Despite this, however, the business of breaking into the industry cannot be dismissed as a simple one; in fact, nothing could be farther from the truth.

The laws and regulations that govern the industry are complicated and can be difficult to maneuver. The cannabis industry’s uniqueness makes it operate in a manner that does not necessarily follow conventional business logic. And there are just so many variables that need to be gotten right to have a successful business. Against this backdrop, there is a need for experts who can make the process considerably easier – these experts are cannabis consultants.

A cannabis consultant is an individual who helps in the making of tough decisions in your business and provides insight into specific areas you are not likely to be familiar with. These professionals are essential to businesses or prospective businesses in the cannabis industry, which is probably why cannabis consulting has steadily experienced oversaturation.

This situation makes it more difficult for business owners to navigate the entire process of hiring the right consultant for them. If you are in such a position, do not fret, we will be taking you through some crucial steps you can follow to ensure that you hire the right consultant(s).

UNDERSTAND WHAT YOUR BUSINESS NEEDS

Cannabis consultation involves many services and their respective professionals, such as Corporate & Tax law, Project Managing, Cannabis Marketing, Business Planning, Licensing, Lobbying, Real Estate, and so on. Clearly, you might not need all these services in the immediate stage of your business or due to other factors, which is why you have to identify the exact needs that are paramount to your business at the moment so that you can hire based on that. While some consultants may claim to be proficient in all these services, there is no “one-stop-shop” for every service you need. So you might want to opt for specific professionals in various services to benefit your business better. In doing this, to ensure coordination and fluidity, you must be very deliberate about the foundational consultant(s) who will act as the cornerstone of your team.

HAVE A WELL-THOUGHT OUT HIRING STRATEGY

It is not really a good idea, as much as it could seem like one, to decide to hire the biggest names in the consulting business. You have to make sure you fashion out an appropriate process to adequately evaluate any consultant you are considering to ensure that they are the right fit for you in terms of both competence and compatibility with your business.

This evaluation process should involve questions designed to gauge the knowledge of the said consultant accurately. It is not uncommon to see people who do not adequately understand the cannabis industry’s language, parading themselves as experts in the business of cannabis consulting.

Also, be sure to consider the prospective consultant’s performance with his/her previous clients to ascertain the kind of expectations you could have if you end up hiring. Ensure that you require appropriate references to carry out your assessment expertly. In addition to considering past clients, you should also look at the consultant’s current clients to safeguard yourself against possible conflict of interest, especially in cases where such a consultant probably works for your competitors.

OBSERVE HOW COMMITTED THE CONSULTANT IS TO YOUR BUSINESS

You have to ensure that you are aware of exactly how much commitment the consultant is willing to invest in your business. You want to make sure the consultant is on the same page with you in terms of the vision you have for your business. You can usually detect if a prospective consultant intends to be devoted to your business by taking cognizance of little gestures. Does he take time to sit with you to talk? Does he answer your questions clearly without evading? And check if he ensures you get all the information you require regarding the issues and operations.
Besides, you must spell out in clear terms the responsibilities, roles, targets, and expectations you have for your consultants. By doing this, you make it clear that there is a yardstick by which you would measure the performance of the consultant. For instance, a consultant in cannabis marketing should know your sales target and how his role as a consultant must facilitate reaching that goal.

THINGS TO WATCH OUT FOR

In selecting a consultant to hire, there are some conduct that you should automatically regard as deal-breakers if manifested by a prospective consultant. First, you should be wary of consultants who would rather get their payments through equity. It is better when consultants are restricted to a traditional payment for services arrangement. If a consultant would only agree to payment by becoming a shareholder, you should consider it an indication that such a consultant might not be best for your business. A prospective consultant consistently replying to your questions with vague and ambiguous answers is a clear red flag. It shows that the consultant might not be as knowledgeable as you require or does not consider your business substantial enough to give well-thought-out answers to your enquires. The same applies to consultants who are hesitant to provide necessary referrals for you to carry out your evaluation.

Finally, it would help if you remembered that hiring a consultant to help with your business in the cannabis industry should not be viewed as an avenue to shift responsibility from yourself. That would be a recipe for disaster. Understand the limited nature of a consultant’s role; a consultant should not define your goals. They might help provide some insight into forming those goals. They might help refine the objectives, and eventually facilitate accomplishing them. However, it would be best if you maximize your involvement in these processes.