Cannabis Operators, the New World of Cannabis Work, and the Fractional-Forward Services Approach

November 9, 2022 Cannabis Business

The cannabis world, and how talent works within it, is changing rapidly, as is our entire environmental and economic ecosystem. When we talk about talent and the evolving world of cannabis work, “talent” is essentially everyone who works in the industry, and how we continue to evolve is a mindset that applies to us all. To be successful, cannabis operators must have a vision for their future which must include the talent that will help meet those goals. 

I recently attended an event in Denver and was able to connect with a variety of business operators; some who newly started their businesses and some with 10+ years of experience. In all my discussions, the same topics were repeatedly touched upon. These topics ranged from finding the right employees, the aversion to outsourcing services, payment terms, independent contractor compliance, and other basic networking topics like connecting with other cannabis operators. I found it interesting that so many cannabis operators had similar thoughts on the environment they are trying to thrive in.

Do you know how cannabis operators ensure they have the right talent engaged to help run their businesses? It was clear at this event that every business operator wants to be successful, but more than that, they want to be successful on their own terms and remain flexible, while also being an organization that is conscious of the ever-changing needs of the evolving world of cannabis. The desired employees that cannabis operators want to work for them seemed to be ones that they could easily identify, had good professional skills, and didn’t make hiring and engagement difficult. I quickly gained an understanding that most of these cannabis operators are landing new employees through networking and their professional circles. All the cannabis operators I spoke with were aware of the different cannabis hiring platforms, but still only used those as one avenue for landing their ideal employees. Few were able to obtain niche hard-to-fill roles directly and needed to go through recruiters and staffing providers which can be time heavy, and costly which, unfortunately, is the norm.

Some of the cannabis operators described finding niche finance professionals that were a good fit for their business as cumbersome and didn’t exactly know what to look for in a good CPA, let alone an entire finance team. This is a typical scenario for cannabis operators, and there is often a lack of experience/education about the specific cannabis regulatory practices on both the operator’s and CPA’s side. Whether a business manages the hiring process internally or they have a dedicated recruiter in place, I still see how difficult it is to find the right candidates.

When working in an industry that heavily scrutinizes the financials of the business, it’s understandable – even expected — to have confusion about how to hire and retain the different types of “talent” I keep speaking of. 

The two biggest hurdles I’ve experienced with hiring this type of talent are the need to decrease the time to fill the role and to increase cost savings. Couple this with the need to fill hard-to-find roles within these parameters, and you can see there is a need for new solutions.

A “fractional forward” service provider is one new solution that can quickly identify and staff a dedicated and fully trained team, whether to fill a specific niche role or to provide the complete back office finance function. It is a solution where your Fractional CFO service provider can identify your new team, engage, and onboard quickly at a fair price, regardless of the size of your operation. The process is a win-win for all parties involved since the operator’s needs are satisfied – without the worry about where to find employees or how that employee is being paid – business is getting done. 

Cannabis operators should see themselves as the lifeblood of progression and continued evolution in this new world of cannabis. These relationships are more than transactional, they enable the continued success of projects and profitability. Being able to take away any hurdles or roadblocks to having a streamlined and efficient finance function operating that is beneficial to all parties is a recipe for success. Cannabis operators want to be able to have quality work completed without having to take on the additional burden of training, and daily management. The operators I know want to be able to quickly complete tasks, save money, and ensure their financials are accurate, audit-proof, and compliant.

Whether a specific role or an entire back office finance function, Northstar’s strategic focus is to create, manage and support your accounting needs. Whether by virtue of their specialization in an amazing industry, these cannabis operators are high-profile with very specific needs. In addition, Northstar supports some of these critical cannabis operators and is structured to ensure compliance, cost efficiencies, and unparalleled service.

Having Northstar’s fractional-forward approach, coupled with a technology-enabled service delivery allows for a unique way to save time, money, and headache.