How to Build a Sellable Dispensary Business in Canada

All of us are insanely passionate about something. For some, it’s sports. Others are in love with cooking. But all your life, you’ve been extolling the benefits of cannabis.

So, you’re thinking of opening a cannabis store. But before you do, wait – too many entrepreneurs start businesses that they can never sell. These shops are marginally profitable, are indistinguishable from competitors, or depend too much on the owner. Sadly, these proprietors aren’t actually entrepreneurs – instead, they’ve built themselves a job.

You deserve better than that. So, in this guide, we’ll show you how to establish a cannabis dispensary that’s not just successful, but sellable.


Let’s get started.

Pick a Profitable Location

You know the real estate cliche: location, location, location. But as annoying as it may be, it’s true – if you select a poor location for your dispensary, you’ll struggle to turn a profit. And if you can’t turn a profit, what makes you think someone else will?

A few factors go into picking a prime location for a dispensary. First is foot traffic – the more people that walk/drive past your store, the more likely they’ll wander inside.

The second is demographics – you want the right people walking by your shop. Hint: Adults aged 18-24 are Canada’s top consuming demographic. So, securing a location near a university/college or in an entertainment district should be your top priority.

A cannabis store in Canada
A cannabis shop in Canada

Establish Solid Partnerships

Your cannabis shop is only as good as your supply. If you experience disruptions, empty shelves will send loyal customers into your competitor’ arms. If chronic supply chain issues can take down corporations as big as Target, what makes you think you’ll fare any better?

So, get your business relationships right from the jump. Start by doing research on potential suppliers. If they’ve amassed multiple unresolved complaints on platforms like the Better Business Bureau, think twice about using them.

Once you find reliable suppliers, evaluate them for quality and cost. At this point, your choices will revolve around your store’s identity (more on this later). But whichever direction you go, ensure that your stock accurately reflects your brand.

Ensure Compliance with All Federal and Provincial Laws

Cannabis may be legal now, but selling the stuff is enormously complex. Laws governing its sale vary dramatically from province to province. So, before beginning your cannabis selling journey, enlist the help of an attorney.

They’ll walk you through the rules and regulations, as well as the penalties for non-compliance. In the real world, businesses get away with transgressions of the law every day, knowingly or unknowingly. But when the time comes to sell, the other party’s lawyers will run a fine-toothed comb through your company. If they find red flags, your suitor will call off the purchase.

So, ensure your company complies with federal and provincial laws. Otherwise, a sure sale may end in an embarrassing and time-wasting fashion.

Hire Smart, Awesome Staff

Retail is a cutthroat industry. Not much separates competitors from each other, as everybody copies their competition’s brilliant ideas. The cannabis sector is no different – you’re up against dozens of retail brands that largely stock the same products.

So, what separates the best dispensaries from the pack? In a term – customer service. Staff that know your products inside out, are excellent educators, and that treat your customers fairly will give your business the advantage.

Think about it – have you ever shopped at a store where employees seemed like they were there just to collect a paycheque? In these places, you get minimal information about products, and you’re often treated as an annoyance.

The second a customer finds a competitor that offers superior customer service, they’re gone forever. That’s why it’s important to hire staff that are passionate about cannabis and that love engaging the general public.

If you were looking to buy a cannabis shop, wouldn’t you want elite teammates? So, when you’re drafting talent for your store, always make the best hire possible.

Work with the Community

There’s more to life than raking in huge profits. As you’re probably aware, the world we live in is beset with countless problems. Now, some of the bigger issues, like world peace, are largely beyond our control. But your community has problems, too – and many of these DO have viable solutions.

That’s where you come in. As a business owner, you have resources and clout that can move the needle on these problems. So, don’t be shy – join community organizers in taking action on hunger, homelessness, or any other issue that needs attention.

Not only will you make your community a better place, but you’ll also foster goodwill toward your store. More revenues equal higher profits. And the higher your profits, the easier it’ll be to sell your business.

Get Feedback From Your Customers

You’ll find loads of wannabe business gurus online. Forget them – do you know who the real gurus are? Your customers! After having a positive or negative experience, some will leave reviews on platforms like Google.

Don’t fear negative reviews. Mistakes are the greatest learning opportunities you could ever ask for. Meanwhile, positive reviews offer insight on your company’s strong points – take these and double down on them!

Also, consider approaching an online dispensary guide for a review. These sites go in-depth and offer praise/criticism with greater nuance than the average person. And in addition to getting feedback on your business, you’ll get exposure to the online market.

Separate Yourself From Your Competition

Ever been to a night market before? Sometimes, you’ll run across vendors selling roughly the same thing. There’s enough demand to sustain them all – but rarely do they truly thrive.

But in any niche, there are always a few players that make most of the profits. Why is that? Apart from controlling economies of scale, these companies succeeded at differentiating themselves from their competitors.

So, don’t just run a cannabis store – run an urban-themed cannabis store. Or you could open a cannabis shop that deals almost exclusively in high-end edibles. There are countless angles you can take – find one that’s not being served by the market and dominate.

Establish Business Systems

Want to build a sellable cannabis enterprise? If so, systems are 100% compulsory – you CANNOT skip this step. Remember: if every decision needs to cross your desk, you don’t have a business – you have a JOB disguised as a business.

Setups like this make companies impossible to sell. The reason is simple – the second the central linchpin (you) leaves, everything collapses like a house of cards. So, if you want to sell your business someday, you’ll need to build systems to replace your labour.

From detailed hiring checklists to software that automates product re-orders, these processes don’t just make your life easier – they’ll transform your company into a turnkey operation.

A Sellable Dispensary is a Business That Can Run Without You

Once you can go on holiday without worrying your business will fall apart, you have a sellable asset. By following the advice in this article, we’re confident you’ll avoid falling into the "job" trap that ensnares many would-be entrepreneurs.

Published by ExitAdviser


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