When thinking of seasonality of businesses, people usually think retail: lawn chairs and grills are popular in the spring and summer, coats and warm clothes are popular during winter, etc. Something not commonly thought of? Seasonality of the cannabis industry. While the industry as a whole is still relatively new, some trends in the peak sales months and dates are already being seen, particularly in states like Colorado that have been legalized for several years. These trends in many ways mimic that of the restaurant industry, peaking before and during holidays, and in the spring and summer (McVey, Eli). As with any seasonal industry, businesses need to prepare year-round. Below is a list of simple things you can do to accurately prepare your cannabis business for the reality of a seasonality.
Study the trends
Research the industry, particularly the trends in states that have been established the longest, to better understand how you need to prepare. If sales increased by 20% for 5 months, do the calculations for your state. See if you as an individual are seeing trends and make smart decisions based off them. In the less busy months, take the time to implement innovations so you’re ready to gear up and get going the next busy season. This smart planning also ensures your budget and expenses will be covered for the entire year.
Prepare stock fluctuation and options accurately
Once you study the trends, the biggest key to success is planning your inventory, stock or production to fit those trends. You don’t want to run out of product during the peak seasons or find yourself unable to move it during non-peak months. Maybe you offer some new enticing product during your busy months, to test how it goes and whether to include it year-round, stock up on the most popular items, etc. As a producer, gear up to have more product available to dispensaries during the peak months, but also ensure that you have a steady supply ready for the off-peak months as well.
Just as you need to plan your products and production accordingly, you also need to plan your staffing requirements, and staff trainings. Perhaps you hire a few new people seasonally, or offer incentives to your employees for working busier, longer hours. They are your front line and have to be a priority. As you think of new products, trends, and information, plan training for the less busy season, so your team is appropriately armed with the best knowledge to expertly assist your customers.
Whatever your specific seasonality may be, the key is to plan far ahead, think strategically, and make smart decisions. By doing so, you can help to create a sustainable business model, steady and increased revenue, and help you and your employees be successful.
McVey, Eli. “Chart: Colorado Recreational Marijuana Sales Boom in Month of March.”Marijuana Business Daily, Marijuana Business Daily, 18 May 2018, mjbizdaily.com