A mentor within the cannabis industry is difficult to find. I am fortunate to be surrounded by women from across the country, at various stages of business development. Each conversation and interaction is an opportunity to learn about the challenges entrepreneurs face and how they are overcoming them. I always ask entrepreneurs what they think would help them achieve their business goals. The most common answers are a mentor or money, or both.
There are volumes of articles defining mentoring, the value of having a mentor, 3 types of mentoring, 4 forms of mentoring, qualities of a mentor, ethics in mentoring, and mentoring etiquette. After 800 or more words we get to the last paragraph which covers how to find a mentor, which can be summarized as either luck or stalking a person who is successful in the career you are seeking.
Then there’s the issue of operating a startup company within the largest startup industry; the cannabis industry. Cannabis companies are continually pivoting and readapting. It’s not a 9-5 industry and being a mentor or finding a mentor may not be feasible.
The cannabis industry uprooted and revolutionized marketing. Covid forced us into online business meetings and social interaction. The way we conduct business has changed. Why are we defining mentorship in the same way we did in the 1950’s?
Cannabis as an industry has changed the concept of mentoring, but we are not recognizing or utilizing it.
Women naturally mentor one another. We are eager to share information, solutions and resources. Like good mentors we are there to encourage and give support. You are surrounded by mentors and you are also a mentor to each of them.
There are mentors at your fingertips. Online options like Zoom, Clubhouse and LinkedIn Meeting connect you with canna-centric companies discussing a variety of topics, from cultivation to packaging. You are able to learn about cannabis business and politics in other states. This can be invaluable if you are considering national expansion.
Continuing the conversation with the other participants on social media develops an atmosphere of mentorship.
Group mentoring is defined as “a process where peers and leaders are brought together to engage in discussion around common challenges, goals, and ideas.” This also describes how people come together in Facebook and LinkedIn Groups to share their expertise.
Ask the right questions.
Ask for the information you need.
Share your knowledge, you may have the answer someone else needs.
Utilize this approach for in person networking events. Everyone who attends a networking event is there with the same agenda, to promote their business and attract new clients and customers.
Move beyond the elevator pitch, ask the questions you need answered.
Of course, it would be easier to have one mentor who would advise, assist, and focus on you and your business progress. You wouldn’t have to participate in online meetings, you wouldn’t have to formulate targeted questions or talk to everyone at a networking event. You wouldn’t have to sort through all the information you’ve acquired to determine what is relevant to your business needs.
What you gain from mentoring through asking the right questions is a wealth of knowledge, resources, real time insights into current market trends, political issues affecting the industry, and new products and innovations that will change the markets. You develop genuine business relationships. Each question, each conversation has the potential to change your perception and inspire you.
One woman can change the world. Together we will Rock the World!