Building a CBD Business: Time to Get Personal


Your CBD business is launched. Congratulations! Now, how do you keep the momentum and build your customer base?

Most businesses in the product sales business run into two basic types of problems when the product includes some elements of manufacturing. What comes up fits into either product supply problems or customer/sales problems. Either you can’t get the product you need at the cost you need it, or you have plenty of supply but can’t find enough people to buy the products. Either your shelves are too empty or too full!

Because the last article suggested you find the right vendor, let’s focus for now on finding enough of the right customers.

Unlike most product sales-based businesses, CBD businesses are still limited somewhat in where they can advertise. What does that mean? If you search CBD on Amazon as of this writing, what you will get is hemp products and books on CBD. No CBD products. Paid ads on social media and search engines are problematic, frequently resulting in ads being removed or even accounts being banned. While unlikely to be a long-term issue, you are starting your business now! Could it be a blessing in disguise?

Let’s say yes. Why?

Despite how cool the results from advertising can be, it can be an impersonal approach to building a business. In a genuine sense, money can build relationships with customers on a mass scale, which is great. However, when you get honest about the amount of money it takes, it will be way over your budget. You deserve a coke today, right? You can have that kind of ‘relationship,’ too. And it’ll only cost you 3.8 billion dollars a year…

If you don’t have that lying around, you’re going to have to find customers the old-fashioned way and “earn it.”

So how do you do that?

Real People, Real Conversations

Most new business owners fail because they don’t talk to real people about their product(s). Where there is a struggle, what’s usually missing is conversations with real people. These can be online or in real life, but they must be with real people. Think about it, if you don’t know what people are looking for and you haven’t discovered how to sell them on it, you’re going to end up frustrated with a lot of marketing gobbledygook out in the world. What to do instead?

Ask Questions

Start with people you know. Ask things like:
• “Have you heard about CBD products?”
• “I’m starting a business, what health issues are you having? What if I could solve that?”
• “What would make you trust a small business that was selling CBD products?”
• “What would stop you from buying a CBD product?”

Share Your Story

Talk to them about things like where you finish the sentence below:
• “Why I started my CBD business is…”
• “How this has helped me (and other people) is…”
• “My mission is to…”

Building Your Business Muscle

Several amazing things happen when you have real conversations with real people:

  1. You will refine your message about your products and the benefits they provide, so they speak to what people will buy (and not just what they say they want).
  2. You will get comfortable with speaking to customers and adjusting your message based on listening to what people say.
  3. The people you talk to will be engaged in your business, whether they buy or not, you’ve brought them in, and they will likely refer other people to you.
  4. Companies die when nobody knows about them or thinks of them. By making sure you have as few as two conversations per day, you’ll build your business and be keeping it alive for you, which is the most challenging aspect of the business early on. Not to mention, by the end of a year, you’ll have talked directly to over 740 people!! Let’s say ten percent become customers, that’s 74 customers.

Where Are These Real People You Speak Of?

It’s obvious. And it must be said: real people are everywhere. Everybody goes to the grocery store. That can be a good place to strike up conversations, and it may be too general for you in the long run. Narrowing it down is helpful—everywhere can be a little daunting. Start with looking at what are the benefits of the product you’re making. Where do people who need that benefit gather?

Does your product soothe and heal people’s muscles? Great! How about talking to people at your gym? If you join a chain, you can go to different locations. Do you travel? Travelers are in hotels and airports. Travelers need to soothe and heal muscles. Even the local park or yoga or martial arts studios could be good places to find real people.

Does your product help with anxiety and depression? Lots of people need that. How about college campuses, PTA meetings, and online support groups.

When you start to get creative, you’ll find lots of possible places to find real people that want what your product provides. It becomes a matter of trying places out to see what works best.

Don’t Stop

The one thing ALL successful business owners have in CBD and every other field is they didn’t stop. Things may get rough. They usually do. That’s okay. Don’t stop. Keep talking to real people about your product, your vision, and your story. It won’t be easy, but it will be beautiful.

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