As time goes on, cannabis is becoming more widely accepted all over the country. Vaping has also proven to be significantly popular over the past few years.
But, as more and more states legalize cannabis, it becomes even more enticing to open a smoke shop of your own. In fact, cannabis entrepreneurs are projected to bring in over $5.2 billion in 2018.
But, it isn’t as simple as renting out a building and setting up your inventory. Just as much work goes into opening this kind of store as it would when setting up another business.
On top of that, there are also state rules and regulations that you need to abide by. But, having your own smoke shop could prove to be a very lucrative endeavor.
Before you begin planning, read on to learn 10 tips you need to keep in mind when opening up your own.
1. Choose the Right Sized Building
Before you open your smoke store, you’re going to need to figure out how large your building needs to be. This is a vital decision to make, as both business space that is too small or too large can be an issue.
Making the right decision when it comes to building space depends on what you’re able to start out with. If your budget is tight, a small building is always better.
But, if you have the inventory to fill up extra room, don’t be afraid to go a bit bigger.
2. Understand the Startup Costs
Starting a business often has plenty of costs that many entrepreneurs forget about. In particular, these include money spent on licensing, business permits, and even technology.
It’s important to consider every necessary expense you will encounter when starting your company. This will not only help you develop an accurate budget but also ensure that you never run into unexpected costs.
3. Look into Financing
Not everyone has the necessary capital available to start a smoke shop. In fact, it costs an average of $30,000 to build a business from the ground up. Financing is the perfect option for those who find their resources lacking.
Banks offer loans to entrepreneurs who wish to start their own business. But, if you find your local bank’s financing options to be unsatisfactory, you could consider putting your expenses on credit.
If your business plan is solid, you’ll be able to repay the debt with few issues.
4. Map out Your Inventory
Before you run off and lease a space to set up your business, you need to figure out exactly what it is that you’re selling.
Then, you need to actually stock your shelves with your chosen products. You should not even consider opening a smoke shop until you know exactly what you’re going to provide to your customers.
Otherwise, you’ll be paying the rent and utilities for your store without actually making any sales.
5. State Laws
Things get murky when trying to figure out what you can and can’t sell. For example, you’re allowed to sell bongs in some states, while in others you can’t.
Violating state laws can not only cause you financial trouble (such as through fines and other penalties), you could actually be forced to shut down operations entirely.
As you can expect, this is a figurative death sentence for any entrepreneur who wants to open a smoke shop.
6. Federal Laws
As if state laws weren’t intimidating enough, you also have to make sure your smoke shop doesn’t violate any federal laws. Federal laws also create somewhat of a legal gray area, too.
State laws and federal laws sometimes conflict, which can make it difficult to make a decision on what move to make next as a business owner.
For example, if your state allows the sale of cannabis-related products but federal law prohibits their sale, you can have a difficult time figuring out ways to optimize your company’s performance.
When dealing with products that smoke shops are known for stocking, you’re going to have to obtain the proper license. The majority of states require that you have a license in order to sell tobacco-based products or products related to tobacco.
Attempting to sell products you need to have a license for without having one can result in catastrophic consequences. Similar to breaking state or federal regulations, you could be fined or put out of business.
So, make sure you do your research before opening your doors up to customers.
8. Consider Online Selling
Online selling is something that every business owner needs to seriously consider. In many cases, you can immediately boost your smoke shop sales just by offering products online.
For example, Vape Street has a clean, accessible layout that allows customers to easily navigate through the site and find products they are looking for.
By offering your inventory online, you’ll be able to drastically expand your audience, too. Just make sure you know your state’s laws when it comes to online selling.
9. Develop Strong Branding
Branding is how you stand out in your customer’s mind. With hundreds of other smoke shops as your competition, you’ll need to have a strong branding strategy to be memorable.
You should take the time to figure out what your business is all about. Then, you’ll create a way to let your audience know who you are and why they should care.
But, it doesn’t have to be complicated. Nike is one of the most successful companies, and its logo and slogan are known for their simplicity.
However, it all starts with the name of your company.
Adaptability is one of the most important traits for an entrepreneur to have. For smoke shop owners especially, it is very important to be able to handle any unforeseen circumstances you may encounter.
Since laws (and trends) are always changing, you’ll need to stay on your toes to be as successful as possible.
Opening a Smoke Shop Can Be Difficult…
But it doesn’t have to be. With the proper planning, you can make sure that you’ll be able to sell safe, high-quality products to your customers. You’ll also avoid any potential legal issues.
The best place to look to for guidance is by seeing what your industry competitors are up to. You can look at successful ones and see what business practices are consistent among them.
Need to find other smoke shops in your area? Check out our search tool.