In the US, summertime means much more than a business increase for cannabis entrepreneurs. This time of the year is a time of changes and the introduction of new business practices. Aside from these changes, summertime signifies the beginning of an important period – cannabis trade shows.
As cannabis culture flourishes, we are going to see these events have even more importance than ever before. Such a complex evolutionary process is even more evident now, especially as the season is heating up. But, how can you, as a dispensary owner and cannabis businessman make the most of these conferences?
What cannabis entrepreneurs love the most about these events is a chance for networking – learning from others and teaching them as well. When you enter the facility, you will see an incredible array of experts from all fields of the cannabis industry.
Being able to learn from them and impress them can lead to the breakthrough success you’ve been working so hard for. As it is with everything, there are also downsides to cannabis conferences. Their facets might hinder your business, aside from the visible echoing improvements. Let’s take a look at how to navigate the marijuana conference season.
Contemplation – is the trip worth my time and finances?
With more shows than ever, a cannabis entrepreneur will feel an urge to visit all of them and to be seen everywhere. However, this is not always possible. Aside from the fact that too many trips can distract you from your business, there are others things to be on the lookout for.
This isn’t just a chance to flash your custom cannabis packaging or to get your hands on some wholesale cannabis containers. There are significant costs involved – flights, transport, merchandise, booth lease and much more. Chances are, you’re still in the development phase of your business, and you don’t have unlimited funds.
In that case, think about your goals and realize that there are different types of conferences around. If your brand is more about technology and innovation, opt for the CES (Consumer Electronics Show) exhibition.
For brands that are more edible-oriented, there is always the Sweets and Snacks exhibition in IL, a legal state. Cultivate is there for more botanical endeavors and products. Whereas INTERPHEX is for brands who specialize in cannabis-based health products or biotech research.
Also, here are the leading marijuana-oriented conferences (unlike the specialized ones we’ve mentioned earlier):
- NCIA Cannabis Business Summit and Expo – July 25-27, San Jose, CA
- MJBizConINT’L – August 14-16, Toronto
- New West Summit – October 11-13
- Cannabis Sustainability Symposium – October 26
- MjBizConVegas – November 14-16
Choose one or two conferences and focus on a good presentation. Also, bring enough merchandise to be able to make the trip worthwhile.
Take care of the sponsorship and merchandise
Before venturing over to the conferences, think about renting a good small booth, where you can have a physical location through which people can contact you. This all comes with having a sign and merchandise, the crucial parts of having a brand that your customers and fans can connect to your product. There is no better way to capitalize on having a brand than during cannabis conferences. So, come prepared for the event.
Interact with your customers
Have branded pop top bottles and custom cannabis packaging, things that can be seen and tried out immediately. Alongside mainly marijuana products, use some clothing and accessories to spread the word. These include pens, lighters, notebooks and even flyers, along with other educational material.
To make your cause even more popular, organize prizes, lotteries, giveaways and other games that will keep your visitors entertained. The key thing at every cannabis event is allowing people to remember you. A remembrance will lead to business extending far beyond the typical over-the-booth conversations.
Educate others and be educated
Once you’ve scheduled all your participation at different conferences and took care of all the merchandise problems, it’s time to think about contributions. The majority of cannabis conventions are centered around expo floors and mere item demonstrations and exchanges. However, there is much more to cannabis events than just samples and dispensary packaging. The educational part is more important than ever. Educational tracks and speaking sessions are a great way to both learn something and to introduce yourself to the community.
Keep in mind that you also have to plan ahead and book your place as a speaker. This means scheduling more than six months in advance. Some events require you to participate in a Skype interview, along with sending out abstracts over to the management. So, there is more to it than earning additional money, fans, and features in magazines and on websites. You can also go through an amazing few days of mental growth, soaking in the ins and outs of the cannabis industry. However, you’re still not done.
Think ahead and use the time
A big mistake that many cannabis entrepreneurs make is focusing on too small of a goal. They tend to worry about giving out as many MMJ containers over those three days and only focus on the time during the expo. Whereas, they should use the opportunity in another city and invest their time in some improvised networking. Do you know which conferences will you be attending this year? If so, you should send emails and call people from the industry to schedule meetings during the event.
You can arrive three days earlier and have meetings with T-shirt printing companies, wholesale cannabis packaging manufacturers, and other experts. You will be amazed at how willing journalists are, as well. By working hard these few days, you will see a return on your investment and a good business expansion.
Business cards are everything
Yeah, we know everyone has a smartphone or a tablet, so they can just write your number. However, there is something that business cards will never be beaten at, and that is – speed. It takes only a millisecond to hand someone your card, and they can go their way.
This efficiency will allow you to create many amazing business relationships – who knows who might be passing be and receiving your cards. Cannabis conferences are a gold mine for such occurrences. We at Green Rush Packaging are into this kind of promotion, and it helped us immensely. Seeing other entrepreneurs and businessmen implement this same tactic would be amazing.