You’ve built a strong business plan, scored a prime location, forged relationships with growers and producers and suppliers. But as you get ready to open a dispensary, you’ll recognize that where the rubber truly meets the road is your staff. They’re the first human point of contact between your customers and your business, and that makes them incredibly crucial players in your success.
At the very least, you need four kinds of hires to make your dispensary work like the well-oiled machine it’s designed to be: a manager, budtenders, security, and a digital marketing agency.
Four Essential Hires to Open a Dispensary
It’s not unheard of for owners to manage their dispensary. It’s also not unheard of for dispensary owner-managers to lose their minds under the intense workload.
The fact is, you need a manager apart from yourself who understands the business, brings a broad skillset to the table, and is worthy of your complete and total trust. At the very minimum, a dispensary manager needs to provide:
- Customer service: At its heart, retail is about making sure every customer has an excellent experience every time they walk in the door (or every time they interact with your digital presence, more on this later).
- Leadership: This is a crucial skill, and you can’t just learn about it by reading books. Managers motivate their employees by example, fostering strong bonds and a team mentality. If your dispensary isn’t a great place for people to work, you’re going to have a hard time attracting and retaining great people to work for you.
- Organization and Communication: These are key attributes in any hire, but most critically in a manager. There are a lot of moving parts involved in making sure a dispensary is running smoothly and maximizing its potential, and you can’t afford to let the details slip. And all that careful organization isn’t much use if a manager can’t communicate clear direction to your staff. Don’t overlook these two crucial attributes when you’re hiring a dispensary manager!
If your dispensary manager is your sergeant, your budtenders are your foot soldiers. They may not be the first point of contact, but they’re arguably the most important single interface between you and your client.
So, what does that mean for you? It means you should look for people with great personal skills. Selling isn’t about waiting around for customers to drop their hard-earned money on the counter; it’s about building relationships. Prior experience in the cannabis industry is always great—and if not, it’s time for you to get your cannabis education program in place!—but it’s not essential. Find people who are excited to be in the industry, who want to grow, and who have a knack for sales. It’s not always an easy combination to find, but your top budtenders are gold.
Depending on where your dispensary is located, you may be required to hire security personnel. Even if you aren’t, it’s a wise move.
Security personnel are there for your protection. Cannabis is still predominantly a cash-only business, and the cannabis itself is a very hot commodity. But just as importantly, your security team sends a quiet signal to your customers: This dispensary is legitimate and safe, it’s run by people who pay attention to the details, and it’s a place in which I feel comfortable shopping.
To that end, make sure your security staff has good people skills. Because they’re often the first physical point of contact with customers, it’s critical that they balance real muscle with real heart.
Digital Marketing Agency
We saved this crucial hire for the end, because we want it to sink in: Do not open the doors of your dispensary without having a digital marketing partner like Foottraffik in place.
We’re no longer living in an age in which the novelty of cannabis is enough to make people visit your business. Without proper marketing, a dispensary is just a room full of cannabis slowly going stale.
And for all the attention you pay all the other crucial hires we mentioned, here’s something to keep in mind: While your manager, budtenders, and security staff are crucial points of contact with customers, far more of them will have their first interaction with your dispensary online. Make sure you’re sending the right message with a digital marketing team intent on making you number one in search results.
Ready to get started? Give us a call and let’s chat about what you need to do to successfully launch your dispensary.