The cannabis industry has opened doors for many first-time small business owners. As an emergent industry seemingly predominant in more socially progressive areas than the states where it remains illegal, the cannabis industry also provides more opportunities for minority and female business owners to stake their claims.
These minority and women-owned cannabis businesses help improve entrepreneurial equity across the U.S. While it is important for customers to support minority-owned businesses, it is even more critical for these businesses to support themselves.
For every cannabis operator, that means securing the right tools and resources to successfully navigate a complex industry that rapidly evolves to keep pace with growing customer demands, expanding governmental regulations, and the powerful effects of the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic.
The solution? Modern technology. Specifically Cannabis Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP). Cannabis ERP solutions provide the business management applications critical for maintaining successful operations and achieving growth.
But not all cannabis ERP solutions are created equal – operators need to think strategically and conduct the necessary research in order to find the ERP solution that will meet their needs, support growth, and help drive their cannabis business forward.
Here are five things you, the cannabis business owner should look for when committing to a cannabis ERP software solution:
Phased Onboarding – When a business integrates new software into its operations, it can take time to train team members (and management) to use the software solution effectively. Phased onboarding gives a business the time to educate staff, test knowledge, and work out any hiccups that might occur during deployment. The last thing that any cannabis entrepreneur needs is their ERP system going live without staff understanding what it’s for, how to use it, or what to do when issues arise during regular operation.
Source-to-Pay Analytics – The most valuable asset that any business has is its data. A cannabis ERP solution should go beyond seed-to-sale tracking to integrate procurement activities and account payables. By integrating supply chain management, accounting processes, and seed-to-sale tracking, cannabis businesses can generate powerful datasets that provide incredible insights into operations. However, just as important as the accumulation of this data is, likewise cannabis businesses need the ability to easily access and use this data to solve problems, strategize, and plan for the future. Effective cannabis ERP solutions should provide intuitive User Dashboards that allow for customization, easy navigation, and immediate insights into key metrics.
Multilingual Access – As the cannabis industry continues to expand into more areas, it is important to support multilingual access to cannabis ERP solutions. The demographics that comprise the U.S. cannabis consumer group are incredibly diverse – as are the best business managers in the industry. Providing multilingual access to ERP systems means that the best cannabis industry staff members can work more effectively without sacrificing time and energy on translation tasks. In addition, cannabis businesses can work with multilingual partners, like valuable investors, to secure critical financial support or expand into diverse consumer target areas.
Specialized Expertise – The value of expertise is sadly underestimated these days. It is foolish to think that one person’s knowledge (or even one team’s collective knowledge) is comparable to the expertise provided by years of specialized training, academic instruction, and years of real-world experience that comes with industry-specific expert consultation. The best ERP solutions for cannabis businesses will provide clients with the specialized expertise they need – like certified accountants, cybersecurity experts, and IT support – so that cannabis operators can focus on what they know best: cannabis.
Customization – While customizations are often unnecessary, you should have the option to customize your cannabis ERP package to optimize the investment. However, you should pay for only the ERP applications and services you will actually use, but expect your ERP solution to accommodate growth. The best ERP companies will help you customize your solutions to meet the needs while simultaneously providing the critical infrastructure necessary to support business expansion.
Investing in the right ERP solution for your cannabis business can seem overwhelming, and business owners should feel supported by any prospective software retailers. If a potential ERP solution makes you feel rushed or confused – that should be a giant red flag that the solution may not suit your business.
Take the time you need to talk with product experts, utilize demos, and consult industry specialists before committing to a cannabis ERP partner for your business.