Five Most Important Cannabis Business Software Purchases
Occasionally, American Business Insurance Services, Inc. hosts guest blogs from our partners who want to discuss the specifics of their services and the benefits they bring to customers. This blog features our partner Cue Cannabis, a Colorado based software company that allows cannabis businesses to purchase and manage various software and services to help run their company.
The legal marijuana industry is expanding, one state at a time, across the US. But while there are many business opportunities in this industry, it can still be challenging for a new business owner to make a profit. Cannabis business owners face the same stresses as normal business owners, like hiring, budgeting, and tracking merchandise, while also dealing with different challenges like staying compliant with state legislation.
Purchasing software and the technological infrastructure for your business may not initially seem like the most interesting pursuit, but having the right set up will enhance the day-to-day efficiency of your business. At CUE Cannabis, we speak to many customers who don’t know where to start when it comes to purchasing software or setting up cameras and phone lines. It is an area where all business owners, from dispensaries to cultivators, or extractors, might struggle to find something that is right for their business.
We’ve created a ‘hierarchy of software needs’ to help business owners prioritize their purchases. Further, each area of purchase comes with a few key questions that you can ask as a business owner in order to understand what might work best for your business. We’ll take you through the first three levels of this ‘hierarchy of software needs’ to help you with important business decisions.
1. Foundational software is critical for day-to-day operations
We designated a ‘foundational software’ category to include both software and infrastructure that is most important for day-to-day operations. In this category there is accounting, data security, compliance, and sales software like point-of-sale or seed-to-sale depending on your business. As the name suggests, laying the foundation for a successful operation will make the day-to-day of running your business more efficiently. When purchasing ‘foundational’ software, there are a few things to look for:
Accounting: Check with your accounting before deciding what to you because while many accountants can work with any software, some need you to have a program that is compatible with what they are already using. Also, if you don’t have an accountant, get one because it will make your life easier.
Point-of-Sale: The hardware part of this software e.g. tablets, scanners, etc. can be a costly investment, but one great way to create some flexibility in your budget is by using a point of sale system that offers a month-by-month plan, which can make it easier for newer businesses.
Data security: Cannabis is a highly regulated industry, meaning a lot of data is being collected. Understanding how your software is collecting and storing data should be one of the major questions you are asking. Consider what data practices you’ll have to store or transfer employee and customer information.
A word about Technology and Infrastructure
Depending on the state requirements for your business, your building design, or the type of business you are running, technology and infrastructure will be an important ‘foundational’ piece. Examples of this could include purchasing security cameras for the business, which depending on your state of operation may be a legal requirement or just a good idea. Another element of technology to consider is the wifi and phone systems that will run your point-of-sale or help your employees get online.
Important questions to ask center around understanding how employees will work in the building and accomplish their jobs; depending on the business the use cases can be varied and complicated. Our biggest recommendation when considering the technology or infrastructure for your business is to consider an experienced partner who has extensive experience understanding not just the technology but how people will engage with it on a day-to-day basis.
2. Other important software to make your business run efficiently
The aforementioned software is incredibly important for the operation of your business and the next category of software in the ‘hierarchy of needs’ will not only help you but also your employees. I’m talking specifically about HR, Payroll, and collaboration software like GSuite or Slack. The most important feature to consider across all this software is how ‘user-friendly’ is it, and how will it impact the employees that are using it (as well as yourself).
When considering HR and Payroll software, for example, ask yourself questions like: Does this software integrating with my accounting software in order to manage payroll? Is it easy for managers and employees to access information? Does this software offer benefits that are easy to manage?
With Collaboration software like Slack, GSuite, or other messaging tools, ask yourself about how your employees work and when they will engage with the software: are they mobile or office-based? What tasks do they need to do?
HR, Payroll, and Collaboration software are crucial for the day-to-day running of your business. Ensuring that you hire the right people, pay them for their work and provide the tools to work effectively will contribute directly to the growth potential of the company.
3. Improve your business with Data Analytics
After you have the right software, the next step is to make that software work for you. What I mean by this is understanding what information your software is collecting and how to use that to improve your business outcome. For example, consider your point-of-sale or seed-to-sale data to look at what products are doing well, and or what is not. Most business owners don’t realize how much data their business generates and what the possibilities are with this information. There are some amazing tools specifically designed for cannabis business owners that can help you analyze and visualize business data.
We hope this discussion of foundational cannabis business software will give you a better understanding of how to make a purchase, but also what questions to ask when conducting research. If you want this checklist
Now that you have a better understanding of how to prioritize your software and technology purchases, as well as what questions you can ask as you research. If you want to know more about the next levels of the ‘software hierarchy of needs,’ you can download your own guide here.
About the Author:
Fiona Foster is Marketing Manager for CUE Cannabis. She is also part of the CUE Expert team that advises business owners on how to find the best software and services for their company.