In our latest episode, Pete interviewed Rick Martinez of Green Seed Alliance, a cannabis accelerator program for business owners and entrepreneurs who want to start an ethical, responsible cannabis business.
Rick and Pete discussed launching a cannabis start-up, finding your niche, and the importance of understanding the cannabis laws where you live.
Helping cannabis startups grow through Green Seed Alliance
Green Seed works exclusively with early-stage cannabis startups. Once Rick’s team has partnered with a brand, they help the brand develop a roadmap that takes the business from idea to product or service creation, then on to testing, going to market, selling, and scaling.
“Some of the things we look for in new cannabis brands include whether they have a big vision and if they want to help the greater good,” Rick says.
Before Rick entered the cannabis industry, he worked as an Army nurse, and then as a startup accelerator outside the cannabis space. He’s experienced in scaling businesses to eight figures through a formula he learned in The Art of the Start by Guy Kawasaki.
“I merge my practical, real experience of having built something with the tactical–how you built it, step by step,” he says.
Profitable niche marketing for cannabis startups
When it comes to marketing, the Green Seed team helps cannabis brands identify–and market to–their ideal client. It’s a general principle across all industries; no matter what business you’re in, you must think about who you’re selling to.
He says startup cannabis brands should ask themselves who they want as their consumer, down to specific details. For one brand, that might be an athlete in Texas who deals with chronic pain. For another, it could be a mid-30s single mother in Tennessee who owns her own business.
“Before you start marketing, find to who your ideal client is because if you market to everybody, you market to nobody,” Rick says. “We want brands to find who, exactly, needs the products they sell.”
The importance of staying up-to-date on local and state cannabis laws
Rick says it’s important for cannabis brands–and entrepreneurs who are interested in breaking into the industry–to keep their ears to the ground when it comes to cannabis laws in their local area. Because laws are evolving so quickly from one state to another, staying up-to-date on the laws in your state is paramount to staying compliant–and keeping your doors open.
“Stay in tune with what’s going on on a day-to-day basis with CBD, hemp, marijuana, and medical marijuana in your state,” he says.
To get an idea of your state’s future in terms of cannabis legalization, Rick says it’s important to the states that have pioneered legalization before.
“Look to states like Nevada and California that have already been to the place where your state is headed,” he says.
Cannabis entrepreneurs and startup founders should empower themselves
Rick says startup founders and entrepreneurs should do the necessary research and become familiar with the cannabis market before entering it.
“Before you start your cannabis business, do your due diligence and empower yourself,” he says. “This industry is so new; we don’t yet know what we don’t know.”
Books, seminars, conferences, research, and conversations with other knowledgeable professionals in the space will go a long way toward helping you establish your brand.