Written by Casey Potter, Founder and CEO, Potters Cannabis
Since California first legalized recreational Cannabis in 2018, the industry has been in a constant state of change. As new technology and research emerge and legislation catches up with the times, new quality standards continue to evolve. The amount of change that can occur in the cannabis sector in one day is equivalent to what other industries experience in a month. New entrepreneurs must learn from the start to be continuously vigilant and think big picture if they want to create a lasting impression in the industry.
There is a fine line between learning to understand scarcity and living in a scarcity mindset. Especially when you first start and capital is low, it is imperative to spend wisely. Learning to make efficient choices and not spread too thin is necessary for any industry, but in the cannabis space, you must always be preparing for your next stage of growth at the same time. If you allow your start-up mindset to drive your decision-making for too long, you will end up in a cycle, tripping over dollars to pick up pennies. When I was just launching Potters, I read the book, “Obstacles is the Way” by Ryan Holiday and found one of the main messages life-changing. Whenever I hit an obstacle, I no longer view it as a burden, but as an opportunity. Challenges, obstacles, anything we think is preventing us from our goals is actually an opportunity to grow, change, and level up so that we can be the person we need to be to achieve them.
In a fast-paced industry, you of course need to make fast decisions too, but learning to do so critically is what will set you apart from your competition. No matter how great a company that wants to partner with you seems, or how financially lucrative the offer is, if their company culture and the values of their C-level executives are not a perfect match, then you need to pass and find someone else. This is one of the most costly mistakes I made when launching Potters, valuing short-term financial sense over long-term goals and choosing to partner with the wrong distributors and manufacturers whose own in-house problems ended up pulling our brand down too.
This mindset applies to smaller decisions too. You always want to choose quality over moving quickly. I will never forget the time our team at Potters was trying to rush the launch of a new product. We were hyperfocused on the formulation, ensuring there were no mistakes, but we did not apply the same scrutiny to the packaging. Our order of over 50,000 packages had grammatical errors on them. We ended up ordering stickers to cover the mistake, which took extra time both in shipping and manual labor and did not represent our brand as well as it could have if I had thought more critically about every step of the process.
Pick a Lane
When I first started Potters, I wanted to see growth any way I could. I’ve since learned that in the cannabis industry, it’s better to focus on your core strategy, even if it means smaller margins of profit initially. After our distributor went bankrupt and it greatly impacted our own operations, I saw greater value in keeping everything in-house, but soon running our own distribution became over 80% of what we did. It took away from us being able to fully capitalize and support our brand growth, which was not only where our heart was as a company, but its where our chance of long-term growth was as well. Our strength has always been our formulations, if we had stuck to that, we would have had smaller margins of growth over the past year, but would have met goals for our brand that we weren’t able to. I decided to expand our operations from a place of fear when I should have trusted in the solidity of our reputation as a trusted, quality, authentic cannabis brand that produces a live resin oil consumers swear by.
I’ve seen other brands make the same mistake, pushing new products that don’t match the standards of what they already had on the market. They lose consumer interest, becoming lost in the thousands of start-ups that pop up and disappear each year.
Casey Potter, Founder and CEO, Potters
Casey Potter is deeply rooted in care and wellness. Before there was POTTERS., Casey oversaw the nursing home, Synergy Homecare of San Diego. During his time there he witnessed the struggle for holistic pain management. He had friends in the cannabis industry, and it seemed medical marijuana created a tremendous opportunity for all-natural relief.
At the time, cannabis vapes were just budding. However, the approach seemed just to be more of the same: dosages that were either too heavy or too light and concentrated that lacked full spectrum characteristics. Most importantly, the products lacked transparency. He longed for a better alternative and partnered with NFL player Jacob Bell to create one. Each lent their expertise, Jacob being the lens for athlete’s needs, especially in collision sports, and Casey bringing his knowledge in pain management and senior care.
Together, Jacob Bell and Casey Potter developed Potters. a brand that provides premium cannabis-derived products with heart. Potters Cannabis Co. launched in January 2017 and has served the cannabis community and beyond since.
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