Protecting your CBD Business

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cannabis business
Tony Gallo
Tony Gallo – Sapphire Risk Advisory Group

Who isn’t excited about CBD? Everyone and their mother-in-law have heard about the new wonder-chemical. For a couple years, you could only purchase CBD products offline in health & wellness stores or head shops. Now Whole Foods, Walgreens, GNC, and CVS are getting in on the action.

Any entrepreneur interested in selling CBD has likely followed the passage of the Farm Bill along with recent news about Florida’s first Director of Cannabis. But most mistakes I see when I visit locations are not regulation violations – they are bread and butter business operations mistakes. Even if your retail location is reinventing a wheel, there are fundamental security steps that every storefront should implement.

CBD products do not have the black-market notoriety of medical marijuana products, but anything that sells for $40-$300 and fits inside a pocket will be a target for any retail thief. Many businesses keep their products behind display cases or out of reach for clients. But do your employees have unfettered access throughout your store? Do you count your shipment when it is delivered? Do you count your inventory at least monthly?

Additionally, credit card companies are still suspicious of CBD-focused businesses, meaning you may be handling a lot more cash than other retail businesses. Do you have a well-defined cash management program? Are you able to tell if your manager is manipulating the till? Is your cash insured and protected by a commercial safe? Are your employees prepared for an armed robbery?

Investing in proactive security measures will help you survive the early struggles of retail and will greatly benefit your long-term success. The most successful businesses I’ve worked with created a Culture of Honesty and Accountability. Your employees are your biggest investment of time and finances. The incentives you establish for your team greatly influence your risks of shrink and criminal activity.

The optimism of CBD entrepreneurs can be contagious. But despite these new innovative products on the market, learn from the mistakes of others. After a combined 100 years of retail security experience, we still see the same avoidable mistakes made over and over again. Assess your risks if you have opened for business. Plan ahead if you have not. Be safe and be profitable.

Tony Gallo has been the leading security authority in the cannabis industry since its infancy and has over 30 years’ experience providing security solutions to high-risk businesses across the US and Canada. As a well-respected expert in the field, he has been a speaker at numerous cannabis business conferences across the United States and is a published author on cannabis security. He has designed the security operations for over 50 cannabis businesses totaling more than 2,000,000 square feet in size. In 2018, his company Sapphire Risk Advisory Group was named one of the Top Cannabis Ancillary Businesses and one of only five security companies recognized on the list.