Tackling your first cannabis industry conference

Dan Brown

Dan Brown

Vice President, Rhine Laboratories

So, you are thinking about setting up a cannabis testing laboratory. Maybe you’ve assembled a team. Maybe you’ve sourced some investors. Maybe you’re starting from scratch. In any event, you’ve made the decision to attend a cannabis-focused conference and want to make the most of this trip. Here are our top tips to make the most out of a conference as an attendee:

Brainstorm a brand name

In the weeks leading up to the conference, spend some time thinking about your message and branding. Since you are still early stage, a little bit of preparation can go a long way. Having a brand name for your company with an associated email to match will provide legitimacy to your operation and interest in starting a laboratory. A company name gives your connections something to associate your name with, and will increase the care that sales reps give to your needs and questions. Don’t worry, you can always change it in the future!

For a quick and free email, just use a Gmail account to get started.

Create an elevator pitch

Spend some time observing the market. What are the key pain points for your customers? Data quality they can trust, or sample turnaround time are a few possibilities.

Use this to craft a compelling pitch which quickly introduces your company, your experience, your goals, and most importantly, the key differentiators which will lead to your company and your customer’s success.

This pitch should be short (about 30 seconds) and informal enough to be casually shared during networking events in the evening. A powerful elevator pitch will allow you to source customers and investors – plus, it can start to open many doors for you. Remember to focus on who your customers are, what their pain points are, and how your strategy will naturally address their needs.

Have a game plan in mind

Now it’s time to think about your current needs. What are your biggest roadblocks? Think in advance about where you are in the process of setting up your lab and what you need to continue forward. These conferences can drastically speed up your timeline – provided that you approach with a substantial and executable goal in mind.

Generally, the process for the lab is as follows:

  1. Gather your team
  2. Budget for success (instrumentation, ancillary, consumables, and real estate costs)
  3. Source investment
  4. Network with potential customers (what are their pain points, and how does your business strategy align with their goals)

After the above are completed, you will be ready to begin the fun part: building your lab, ordering instruments, developing your methods and beginning your operations!

Think about who you need to meet

This step is an extension of your game plan. Where are you in the startup process? Remember to focus on your elevator pitch and tell it to as many people as you possibly can. You never know who can help you out next, until you meet them and pitch the idea. Who will be your biggest customer? Who will be your significant investor? Not all of your pitches will be winners, but I guarantee the more readily and easily that you give the pitch, the more successful you will be.

As a recommendation, you should especially focus on meeting the following individuals:

Investment Companies

You can never have enough money. Ask them about their focus. Are they have interested in labs and testing? Focus your pitch on your scientific know-how and your team. Discuss the bottleneck with labs, the lack of research into the medicinal benefits, the potential for spreading a network into new states as they come online. Remember, always sell the dream.

Instrumentation Manufacturers

This will be the most significant investment on your side in setting up the lab. Do your due diligence and choose wisely. Ask other labs and individuals about their preferences. Take everything with a grain of salt. Always think about who the person you are talking to is, and what their incentives and motivation may be. Compare the options, and make sure to discuss financing and potential terms.

Consultants

Whether you have a history in the lab business, or this is your first foray, finding the right consultant can save you time, money, and a significant number of headaches as you proceed through the lab setup process. Getting any company up-and-running is a lengthy and complicated process, and a cannabis laboratory is no different. Work at finding someone who has gone through the process before and has a concrete roadmap for success.

Customers

Finally, it’s never too early to begin meeting and pitching your future customers. Discuss their pain points, discuss their frustrations with current labs, and (most importantly) discuss their plans for the future. Use this information to continue to develop your pitch and business strategy to better address the needs of the market. Just remember, as always, you’ll need to take everything with a grain of salt.

Show your enthusiasm!

At the end of the day, be excited for the new journey that you are embarking on. There is a lot of work to be done. Remember what got you started on this path and how far you’ve come already. It is your passion and confidence which will bring you the success that you are looking for. Lastly, have fun with it. It is a cannabis conference after all!

So, there you go. Our tips for ensuring that your first cannabis conference is a success. By focusing on the above, you can ensure that you will leave the conference ready to take on the task at hand: building your empire.

If the above is interesting to you, please reach out to learn more about Rhine Laboratories and how we can help with ALL of the above!

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