Recently ganjapreneur and all around amazing woman Jane West, spoke at the Women Grow Leadership Summit about the lessons that she’s learned about running a business. While Jane was speaking to her past self, it’s clear that her message is directed at people like you who would no doubt like to start your own dispensary, or other type of cannabusiness. So, what advice does Jane West have for aspiring ganjapreneurs?
“Keep Building Your Company”
“Everything you can do, anything you can leverage to keep building your company without capital, do it.” Building your own company from the ground up is going to be the most difficult task you’ve ever set out to do. You’re going to have to deal with a lot of stress and a lot of pushback, especially in this industry. You’re going to have to get your hands dirty. You’re going to get discouraged. The important thing is to never give up. As Jane puts it, “You cannot stall and you cannot lose momentum in the abyss of eye gouging investor calls.” Running your business is your job now. If you wanted it to be easy, then you would just go get another 9-5 job like everyone else.
“You Have To Know That It Gets Better”
Again, no one said that running a startup would be an easy task. Surely there are other things you’d much rather do than deal with the stress of owning a business. “There will be plenty of moments where you’re like ‘You know what okay, I don’t have the stamina for this. I just want to crawl into a tent in the backyard and hide.’ But you have to know that it gets better.” And it will get better, especially as you “move up the totem pole.” In order to move up the totem pole, you need to find people to invest in your company. Luckily for you…
“Anyone Can Call Themselves An Investor”
I know, when you think of investors, you’re probably thinking about guys in suits and ties with stern looks on their faces and fat checkbooks. This is not the case. “Anyone can be an investor,” she says. So how do you find the right investors? “You’re going to have to ask real questions and get real answers.” So what are real questions? Jane advises that you ask these questions the first time you sit down with a potential investor, “When was the last time you wrote a check to a pre-revenue company? Why did you invest in your first company and what did you learn? How many companies have you invested in? What’s your average investment and what is the largest and smallest amounts you’ve deployed?” There’s also the most important question, which is, “Are you prepared to cut a check in the next 30 days?” According to Jane this increases their confidence in you, and as such you can probably expect them to invest in you. This is not to say that the fish will bite every time. You have to be prepared to waste a lot of time “finding out what people’s true intentions are.”
“You Are In Control”
Are you nervous about speaking with potential investors? Of course you are, but it’s important to remember that you’re the one who is supposed to be in control. This is your company and “you are interviewing them.” This means that “you don’t have to change for them to like you. You got this far being you, so don’t mute yourself now when you’re following your dreams.” They’re supposed to be catering to you, remember? Of course, not everyone will like you, and not everyone will bite. The thing that everyone in sales knows is that you have to get through all the no’s before you start to hear yes’s. “There are thousands of people with checkbooks, but there is only one you,” she reminds her audience. “You are going to invest YOUR LIFE into the success of this company! You are interviewing them for the opportunity to work with you.”
“You Don’t Know Anything”
“You don’t know anything, but you’re going to figure it out!” Everyone has to start from somewhere, after all. “You are going to feel ignorant and out of your league,” she says. “That’s part of exploring brand new territory.” You’re going to have to ask a lot of questions that you might think are stupid, but how else are you going to learn? “Remember that you’re going to be wrong, a lot,” she jokes. “It’s how you learn to make the right decisions.” Lastly, she advises, “There is not a single listicle or blog post that you’re going to read this year, that’s going to suddenly tell you what you need to know to run your company.” This is an area where you will learn best by doing it yourself.
“Build Your Company With Successful People”
“Listen to the people who can tell you what they have built and what they have learned, not who they know and who they have worked with.” She quips, “You’re looking for people with a track record, not a contact list.” Find the people that can help you build your company the way you want it to be built. Otherwise, what’s the point?
“You will figure it out,” Jane reassures us.
You can watch Jane’s address in full below.
Image Source: Cannabis Now
I definitely learned a lot! What advice was most valuable to you? Share with us in the comments!