Kaelan Castetter is one of the leading voices in NYS cannabis policy. We sat down with Amman Weaver, from Kaelan’s advisory firm, the Castetter Cannabis group, to learn more about their new corporate advisory services.
Q: How can cannabis companies avoid the pitfalls of other cannabis companies?
A: Entering the emerging cannabis industry can be immensely profitable because of its rapid growth and future prospects. However, this upside does come with considerable risk, as we’ve seen with many cannabis companies, small and large, going out of business or running out of cash in the past year.
If you aren’t positioned correctly, the difficulty of predicting market swings and margin compression in the cannabis industry can quickly turn your business insolvent. This is where planning to fail can get you in trouble. Mapping out different scenarios for your business based on various market conditions can help to avoid insolvency.
Q: Are business plans necessary if the company is not raising capital?
A: Beyond conveying your vision to prospective investors, business plans serve as a GPS to steer your business in the right direction. The process of writing out your ideas can bring unstated assumptions to the foreground for pressure testing amongst your team and outside experts.
For example, we had a client come to us recently who did not go through a robust enough planning process. They built their operation and budgets around expected wholesale prices that ended up being too high and as a result, they almost went out of business. Their near insolvency could have been avoided by taking the time before getting started with operations to understand the regulatory and market risks that existed fully – and plan for those.
Q: How should start-ups with limited resources go about managing the financial risks?
A: Often, early-stage organizations understate the importance of a financial executive. Poor cash management is one of the leading causes of failure for businesses, and having someone who is experienced in fundraising logistics, overseeing cash flow, and developing contingency plans is vital.
Fractional CFOs are experienced financial professionals that can fill this gap for businesses in a part-time, retainer, or contractual capacity. For cost-conscious entrepreneurs and start-ups, fractional CFOs are a great option as they offer the benefits of having financial executive on staff without absorbing the costs of hiring a CFO. This type of consulting relationship can be immensely helpful for companies at all stages of growth.