So you’ve decided that you want to take the plunge and dive into cannabis accounting. Great!
While these are new and exciting times, it is completely understandable if you have concerns about promoting your business within your personal and professional networks.
People have their opinions about the cannabis industry; some good, some bad. But don’t let that get in the way of promoting your business and becoming an expert.
The truth of the matter is that in order to be seen as an expert, you have to put yourself out there and dive in completely in order to maximize your efforts in this industry. So if you’re hiding out for fear of judgment, we’re here to help.
1. Have an updated LinkedIn profile.
When you’re first getting started with marketing your cannabis accounting business, you don’t have to have it all figured out. You don’t need to build a fancy website or order business cards right away. Over the past few years, LinkedIn has become an essential personal branding tool. Update your LinkedIn profile to make it look like a sales page, then start connecting with business owners.
When you connect with a business owner on LinkedIn, they will often visit your profile. This is your chance to engage with them and clearly communicate who you are, the services that you provide, and what businesses/niche you serve. If your profile has the solution to their pain points, they are more likely to connect with you, and may even as for help if they have a need.
Becoming an expert in the cannabis industry requires that you are aware of what’s going on within the industry. It is highly recommended that you check for the latest breaking news or keep abreast of happenings by subscribing to niche trade publications such as on Ganjapreneur, Marijuana Business Magazine, or Norml. Keeping up with legislation and regulations as the industry continues to evolve will provide immense value to your clients, and will position yourself ahead of others who haven’t put in the effort to keep current.
Look for cannabis networking events near you, and consider hosting your own event if necessary.
You can provide information, share news, review court cases, and provide education to the cannabis business owners and license applicants in your area. Bringing education and expertise to your local community will help build your reputation as the local go-to expert in cannabis accounting. This is confusing stuff, so helping CEOs understand their role in cannabis accounting will help give them the basics of what they need in order to be compliant, without having to do all the digging to figure it out themselves.
This is a massive one! By getting into your local governance and talking to your legislators, you have an opportunity to help shape laws by providing real insight and support as these rules are being made, and can hopefully provide enough influence that supports your client’s businesses, and the industry overall. Besides, who is more knowledgeable than the ones who were there to help form the laws in the first place?
You want to be able to understand cannabis business owners’ pain points. The quickest and most authentic way to do this is to get proper training and be a part of a community of other professionals in the cannabis industry who are also facing challenges and struggles. You can learn from their mistakes and experiences. The more you understand the challenges and complexity of the value that accounting professionals provide, the easier it will be to not only empathize with cannabis business owners, but to also give them hope in the form of solutions that you or others within your community are using to overcome those challenges within their businesses.
Just because you have your logo, a fancy website, and business cards does not mean that clients will search for you, or fall into your lap. They have no idea that you exist.
Start talking to people and connecting with cannabis CEOs via LinkedIn, and have authentic conversations with them about their business.
Be proactive. As accounting professionals, we prioritize our work. When building a practice, it’s important to spend at least an hour a day on marketing, including prospecting, sharing knowledge, becoming an expert, networking with other professionals, etc. Don’t just wait for the universe to do it’s work; help it out a little and take some action.
Don’t spin your wheels trying to figure out the perfect name for your business, or spend a bunch of time and money designing a logo and website. If you create your website before you know exactly what value you offer your target niche, or what pain you’re solving for cannabis CEOs, chances are you’ll have to replace all of your content anyway. Wait until you’ve acquired a few new clients before you start building a new brand.
As you find CEOs who are interested in working with you, you want to maintain the alpha role. I have heard prospects ask accounting professionals to send testimonials and offer to review their tax returns, and then they will hire.
That’s free work, which you should not be doing.
When you get an opportunity to learn about a cannabis business, you should be doing just that. Ask about the financial structure of the company and how the accounting is currently being managed. You really need to be figuring out if this company is worth servicing, and if the CEO is someone that you want to work with, versus the other way around.
Now, I know we can get really excited about cannabis, and there are new products and services that are constantly flooding the market. Be careful not to completely spam your audience with all of these things that are not related to the business side of cannabis. Keep it educational and industry-related at all costs.
As entrepreneurs, it can get a little bit lonely taking on all of this on our own. Whatever your situation is (you might work from your home or actually have an office), if you’re just starting up, you may not have a full staff of people that you can talk to and bounce ideas off.
You’re a one-stop shop and doing everything on your own, so it’s good to join a community of other professionals who are in the cannabis industry. Asking industry questions, and providing input for others who are looking for information, will help establish your expertise in your niche. This can even lead to referrals from others who trust your knowledge of the cannabis space, and know the value that you offer CEOs.
If you’re looking to join a community exclusively for accounting professionals serving the cannabis/hemp/cbd industry, join our Facebook group.
DOPE CFO Founder Andrew Hunzicker goes LIVE every week to share topics and tips related to the cannabis industry. We also share some accounting advice on our podcast and Youtube channel. Pick your poison and subscribe so that you can get the latest updates.