How to Write a Dispensary Business Plan

How to write a dispensary business plan

If you’re opening a cannabis dispensary, you need a business plan.

A dispensary business plan is the blueprint for your cannabis retail company. It’s a comprehensive document of your shop’s vision, company details, market, ideal customer, competitors, customers, and other important considerations.

No matter where you’re at in your dispensary ownership journey, your business plan will be a guiding light.

That’s why this moment is important. You’re researching and developing your plan—so let’s make sure it’s done right.

The importance of a dispensary business plan

There are three key reasons every dispensary entrepreneur needs a cannabis business plan.

1. Secure a dispensary license

Most legal cannabis dispensaries are required to submit a copy of their business plan to the state regulatory body before being considered for a license. The business plan is then referenced by the state throughout the dispensary application process.

Keep your audience in mind while creating your cannabis retail business plan. Your state may require specific information or details to be included in the license application, so consult your state cannabis website to get the complete picture.

2. Acquire funding

Dispensary business plans are crucial for attracting outside investment and starting capital. If you’re asking banks, venture capitalists, silent partners, state funding programs, or even friends and family for money, you need to show you have concrete plans in place.

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Free Dispensary Business Plan template

3. Stay organized

Nobody said it’s easy to open a dispensary. There are operational and regulatory hurdles like licensing, permits, construction, staffing and other obstacles in the path of every prospective cannabis business owner.

Thankfully, your business plan will have clearly defined objectives and a detailed roadmap to keep you on track. As you cross key milestones during your journey, your cannabis dispensary business plan will direct you forward.

Remember, the more you put into your dispensary business plan, the more you’ll get out of it later.

Dispensary business plan

What’s included in a dispensary business plan?

Your business plan is the central document for your dispensary. It covers virtually every important detail, business goal, and operational consideration to show a clear roadmap to success.

Here’s what you’ll include in your dispensary business plan:

Branded Cover Page

Put your brand’s stamp on your business plan by adding your logo, brand font, and contact info to the first page.

Executive Summary

The executive summary is an introduction to who you are and the value proposition of your business or idea.

As the name suggests, this is meant to be a summary of what’s included in the rest of your business plan. Don’t dive too deep, but be sure to cover key things like your dispensary’s mission statement, proposed concept, and plan for execution.

Company Overview

The company overview section describes the high-level view of your business, its business type, ownership structure, location, design, partnerships, target customers, and management team.

Here’s where you’ll tell your founding story, explain your store layout model, provide information about your dispensary location, and highlight your team.

Industry Analysis / Market Analysis

The industry or target market analysis section describes the overall cannabis market or cannabis industry. You can outline some broad national industry information, but your state and local market trends and market research details will be most relevant.

Highlight things like overall industry growth metrics, recent trends in your state, sales trends (if available), key suppliers in the market, demographics, recreational cannabis growth, medical marijuana prominence, and marketing strategies.

Marketing Plan

The marketing plan section outlines your strategies for promoting and selling your cannabis products.

Go into detail about the marketing channels you’re already using or plan to use once your store opens. Popular dispensary marketing tactics include:

Operations Plan

The operations plan section outlines the specific ways you will run your marijuana dispensary day to day.

Include details like your staffing plan and dispensary organizational structure, standard operating procedures, customer service policies, marijuana product sourcing/labeling, technology plan, compliance plan, and operational goals.

Security Plan

The security plan outlines how you’ll ensure your dispensary business is safe and secure. Most businesses can include this in their design or layout section, but since dispensaries have strict security requirements, it should be a dedicated section of your business plan.

Learn more!

The Complete Guide to Dispensary Security

Financial Plan

Your financial analysis section outlines your complete financial picture, including your current and future sales forecasts. This provides an understanding of your expected financial performance and growth trajectory.

This section should be highly detailed and include first-year financial projections for your dispensary. You will detail your balance sheet, startup costs, cash flow statements, operational costs, sales plan, revenue projections (including product pricing), break even analysis, profit margins, and funding plan.

Tips to help your dispensary business plan stand out

  • Be specific: Generalizations won't win over potential investors or lenders. Provide specific details about your market analysis, marijuana business model, and financials.

  • Tailor to state requirements: Ensure your business plan reflects any and all state requirements. You don’t want to leave any required details out.

  • Focus on your team: Highlight the expertise and experience of your team members to build confidence in your business’s capacity to succeed.

  • Emphasize compliance: Demonstrate a thorough understanding of state and local regulatory requirements and cannabis laws and how your dispensary plans to comply with them.

  • Showcase your unique selling proposition (USP): Clearly articulate what makes your dispensary different and why customers will choose you over competitors.

Dispensary business plan template

Download the Dispensary Business Plan template

Writing and presenting a dispensary business plan takes work, but it will serve as a competitive advantage and pay off as you move forward with your project.

To get started on the right foot, download this free, customizable dispensary business plan template. Download here.

Nick Headshot

Nick Rudy

Nick is a content writer, creator and editor in the cannabis industry. He helps cannabis retailers start, grow and expand their dispensary businesses. On the weekends, Nick enjoys 1906 Chill drops and long walks on the beach with his Dalmatian, Lady. Connect with Nick on Linkedin.

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