It’s been a rough news week for the cannabis industry. Two separate Canadian producers (The Flowr Corp. and Flower One) filed for creditor protection from the courts, and a cannabis information and education website cut more than one-fifth of its staff.
On top of that, long-beleaguered company CannTrust said it was making a proposal to creditors that could result in the company fully dissolving by the end of November.
But it’s also a cautionary tale for other companies who have been chasing growth at all costs, expecting the revenue to eventually cover all the costs. You have a business to run, so make sure you’re running it like a business.
Here are some expert tips on things you can do today to improve the health of your company tomorrow:
- Make sure you’re keeping accurate and complete records of all aspects of your business operations. “If you can’t prove something in writing, it might as well not exist,” cannabis accountant Zach Gordon recently told KayaPush. It might sound tedious, but it’s up to you to keep track of where all the dollars and cents are going in your company to make sure you can continue to meet your obligations. This is particularly important for publicly traded companies.
- Don’t overextend your business too much. Raising capital via debt transactions has become more popular as more institutions have become more willing to provide loans to cannabis companies. According to Viridian Capital Advisors, debt accounted for 93% of all capital raised in cannabis through Oct. 14. But that money has risks that equity raises don’t – in particular, a repayment schedule. If you’re not careful, that monthly obligation can be steep. For example, High Times found itself owing $100,000 every month; this week, the cannabis brand this week announced it had entered into a settlement agreement with the lender after it defaulted on the obligation.
- Don’t wait until it’s too late to change. It’s tempting to try and hold out for the better days you “know” are coming, but if you wait until the tough times to adjust your operations, you might find yourself in a position where you have to cut so deep it can be near impossible to recover. Flowr cut roughly 40% of its staff earlier this year (alongside divesting noncore operations), but the savings didn’t amount to enough to help it avoid bankruptcy. You can be hopeful, but always look at the finances with a cautious lens and position your company so that it can be nimble when things aren’t rosy.
These tips aren’t magic bullets; they won’t solve all the challenges of operating a cannabis company. But they offer a great place to start to make sure your financial house is in order.