Playwright George Bernard Shaw once said, “Progress is impossible without change, and those who cannot change their minds cannot change anything.” Change can be arduous. Change tests us enormously. Nonetheless, openness to change is fundamental to the long-term success of any business. Those unwilling to adapt will cease to be relevant.
One of many examples of embracing change is Amazon. When Jeff Bezos started the company, it’s purpose was to compete as an online bookstore against contemporary giants like Barnes and Noble. Beginning in the late 1990s, though, Amazon underwent a serious change. Bezos began expanding Amazon’s offerings with toys, music, and videos. The results of this change have been nothing short of staggering. Today, Amazon is the largest internet company in the world (based on revenue), generating $232.887 billion annually.
This growth was only possible because of a willingness to change, a willingness to find, explore, and embrace new business opportunities. The willingness to innovate allowed the company to improve and grow while gaining more market share in the process. However, Amazon didn’t have to be perfect to get to the top. Several products, such as Amazon Spark, Amazon Tap, and Amazon Storyteller, never caught on and were finally abandoned. Failure is part of the process.
The same mentality applies to companies in the CBD industry. Regardless of whether a company has a veteran presence or is just getting started, there are always ways to improve. Here are five powerful ways companies can generate CBD business opportunities.
The adage is “the customer is always right.” Since a CBD company offers its products to improve the lives of customers, they should make an effort to incorporate their customers’ feedback into their business practices. While they should not treat every recommendation as gospel, it can illuminate ways to find new CBD business opportunities.
There are numerous ways to get feedback. But it always requires putting the customer in a comfortable position. For instance, asking for on-the-spot feedback during checkout will likely not produce the constructive or well-thought-out insights that owners want. However, if customers can fill out a survey at their leisure—without any perceived pressure—they are much more likely to be thoughtful and helpful.
Live chats are a business’s first line of public relations. When someone visits the company website and has a question, a customer support representative should be there to tackle the issue immediately. This medium is easy to use and very straightforward.
The live chat is particularly useful over a long period. After a few months, or several weeks, customer support representatives can notice patterns in the most frequently asked questions or problems. As a result, the business may post an FAQ section to address common concerns. They can also use this feedback as an opportunity to note complaints about their products, services, customer service, or the website.
Companies need to invest time and resources into social media if they want to survive in the modern business era. While Facebook, Twitter, Tiktok, LinkedIn, Instagram, and YouTube are among the most important sites, they are not the only resources. Forum-based sites, such as Quora and Reddit, can bring together groups of fans or customers who can provide useful dialogue and insights.
Companies can find business opportunities on review sites, such as Yelp, the Better Business Bureau, Glassdoor, and Angie’s List. Each service gathers reviews of the pros and cons of a company. (This allows people to make informed decisions about whether or not to avail themselves of this company’s services.) Never underestimate the power of a review. According to research, an online review influences 93 percent of consumer’s purchasing decisions, and 82 percent read a product review before purchasing an item online.
Another social media platform is Google My Business (GMB). GMB serves as an online directory that features basic info about a company, such as hours of operation, location, products, and contact information. There is also a section for questions and answers where a business that claims their profile can address issues and see feedback.
Most businesses include contact information in a footer at the bottom of each website page. When customers want to get in touch, they can fill out a form or send an email. Either way, website forms serve the same purpose as a live chat, without the need for an instantaneous response.
Resources, such as SurveyAnyPlace and Survey Monkey, make it simple for CBD companies to find new business opportunities. These polls, surveys, and questionnaires are easy to create and can provide some of the highest quality feedback. Additionally, a business can share links to its surveys on multiple platforms, including its website, emails, and social media, to maximize the total amount of input.
Surveys are useful because customers feel no pressure to hold anything back in their praise or criticism. Furthermore, there is no rush, so people can respond when they have the time. According to SurveyGizmo, customers reply to external surveys 10 to 15 percent of the time, while internal ones have a 30 to 40 percent reply rate.
One way to boost these figures is with incentives. For example, a CBD company can enter every respondent into a raffle and award an individual with a $100 Amazon gift card. Even better, they can provide the winner with CBD products or offer respondents a discount on in-store purchases.
Getting feedback can be a daunting process. Businesses may be hesitant to pull the trigger at the risk of receiving a tidal wave of negative feedback. Even so, Bill Gates once said that “unhappy customers are your greatest source of learning.” Remember to keep the process in perspective as a learning opportunity and not to take criticism personally.
The best way to figure out where someone is going is to take a look at where they’ve been. Data from sales, social media, surveys, and more can provide a blueprint for the current status of a company. It can also be the roadmap that shows them where they need to go in the future.
One of the essential tools to find CBD business opportunities is through search engine optimization (SEO). It is a proven method for increasing traffic to a website via organic or unpaid content. The primary goal is to increase the visibility and presence of a company online to improve sales.
SEO takes many forms, including backlinking, meta descriptions, copy, blogs, videos, photos, websites, social media, and infographics. A company needs to find out what they are doing well and where they can improve for each of these mediums. For the sake of simplicity, let’s focus on blogs.
Blogs are relevant because they are an opportunity for companies to post highly informative and useful content regularly. This type of content is what Google, Yahoo!, Bing, and other search engines want when it comes to page rankings. Companies that excel at blogging will, therefore, come up higher on search engine results under the words and phrases associated with specific blog posts.
The operative mechanism here is finding out why people come to the site. That can include learning the search terms they use before they visit or the link they clicked to get there. This information tells data analysts what a CBD company is doing well to attract customers online and what blogs people find useful.
When it comes to blog posts, make sure that quality is the foremost priority. Each article should be engaging and useful. There should be images and infographics to quickly distill essential information with clear headlines and bulleted sections for readability.
Additionally, the writer should include the keywords and phrases that people will typically use when searching for the blog. This technique of reverse-engineering puts companies in the mind of the consumer when it comes to finding CBD business opportunities. Make sure not to stuff too many keywords and phrases into the text, though. Otherwise, search engines may penalize the content and lower the page ranks.
There is no one way to stay on top of industry trends. Hopefully, business owners and employees are naturally curious and passionate about the industry. As a result, they spend their free time reading about recent business ventures and innovations.
Being well-read is easier said than done. Often, owners are knee-deep in day-to-day operations, which makes it challenging to step back and take a birds-eye view of the company or the industry as a whole.
A group chat provides a centralized place where people can pool their knowledge and insights. The forum also lets people chime in about observations and notes they have about the industry. A simple comment about a CBD manufacturer may be enough information for a business owner to discover a new opportunity.
Large companies should tap the observations of the social media team. These individuals’ daily task is to see, respond to, and create trends online. They are intimately aware of the latest fads and fashions, and they have their fingers firmly on the pulse of the industry.
While this advice may sound antiquated, trade journals offer journalistic coverage of the CBD industry. They report on specific industry issues and can provide important news. One way to think about reading trade journals is as “company research,” which can include perusing:
Local conferences. Trade shows. Facebook groups. There are countless ways to network with customers, business owners, and industry experts. Frequent exposure to new people and ideas is precisely the input companies should seek if they want to find the next CBD business breakthrough.
The key is treating every social event as a networking opportunity. Even potentially mundane engagements, like a holiday gathering or a baby shower, can open the door to potential leads if someone is open-minded. Don’t forget George Bernard Shaw’s advice: “those who cannot change their minds cannot change anything.”
One of the blueprints for CBD business opportunities comes from the company marketing plan. There should be a section that evaluates the status of the industry, including a list of competitors. Keeping track of what the competition is doing can close the gap on any competitive edge that other CBD stores may have.
Again, there is no one way to monitor the competition. In theory, the most effective strategy is to visit their stores, talk with their employees, buy their products, and use them. That way, business owners can have a first-hand experience that informs their company brand, culture, and quality. This tactic may be challenging to execute, especially if competitors are furtive about trade secrets.
Another strategy is to monitor their social media presence. These observations will let business owners see the promotions, innovations, and other marketing techniques that competitors use to attract customers. As a result, business owners can opt to follow newly established trends or zig while others zag.
An outside perspective can rejuvenate a tired business strategy. Consultants are industry experts. They can provide fresh insights that a business owner may miss if they are focused on day-to-day operations. Put another way: a consultant is a way of seeing the forest through the trees.
For starters, consultants have extensive experience in the field and marketplace. They understand the struggles and hurdles a business owner has because they have been in the same position. Consultants are also familiar with trends in the CBD industry and competitive playfield.
Consultants can also take a holistic view of a company, which no one has probably done since the business’s inception. They look at the strategic design, plan of action, communication, fulfillment, delivery, and support network. Consultants help owners refocus their energies on core business functions and streamline overall efficiency.
Consulting can reduce the costs of operation. Small businesses can typically save 25 to 50 percent on unnecessary expenditures, and convert those savings to other areas, such as vacation time, training courses, and recruitment. These improvements will also ensure the company is well-situated for future financial stability.
A consultant can also highlight competitive edges that one CBD business has over its competition. Consultants actively keep up with industry trends, so they can immediately recognize an innovation that distinguishes the client and is worth further investment. They will also assess the overall value of the edge (obviously, some merit more time and resources than others).
Additionally, and perhaps most importantly, consultants are independent. Their sole motivation is to improve the standing of a company and find them more CBD business opportunities. Otherwise, clients are not going to come back for more consulting in the future.
The outsider view can eliminate internal bias and force business owners to face unpleasant realities that may otherwise be hindering their business. For instance, a store may sell luxury CBD products with the hopes of attracting affluent clientele. However, the products might not be selling, and the existing target audience is actually blue-collar workers and working-class Millennials. Consultants can deftly point out these issues and provide short-term solutions and goals to improve the company.
Diversity is vital for several reasons, chiefly that more diversity means better chances of survival in the business world. During trying economic times, diversity improves the odds of a company innovating or finding new CBD business opportunities. Metaphorically, it is the exact opposite of putting all of one’s eggs in one basket.
There are many benefits to having a sexually, racially, and educationally diverse workforce. Instead of having likeminded people with the same degrees and backgrounds tackling a problem the same way, a diverse workforce provides a range of knowledge, experience, and context. This variety can lead to more creative decision alternatives, better decisions, and more innovation.
Multiple studies back this up. One study looked at the effects of gender diversity on corporate performance. Researchers found that companies with at least one female board member had higher average returns on equity and better average growth than competitors.
There are many reasons why this is true. Companies with at least one female board member were more organized, more prepared, and discussed more data inputs than companies with more homogenous workforces. Also, having a female board member is usually associated with a company having better leadership, more talent, and its employees putting forth more effort than its competitors.
While the benefits of diversity are apparent, it does not mean adding women or minorities to the workplace will magically improve a company’s bottom line. It must be cultivated. Researchers from the previous study concluded, “it is not necessarily the performance of the minority individuals that have enhanced the result. Rather, it is the fact that the majority group improves its own performance in response to minority involvement.”
However, diversity can have its setbacks, at least initially. According to Columbia Business School professor Katherine Phillips, “social diversity in a group can cause discomfort, rougher interactions, a lack of trust, greater perceived interpersonal conflict . . . and other problems.” This result, while unintentional, can be problematic, especially when there is a lack of communication in the business.
Working through this initial tension will pay off with significant dividends when it comes to CBD business opportunities. New experiences and perspectives will unlock previously overlooked prospects. A strong leader with outstanding management feedback and business acumen can also assuage potential friction and leverage diversity as a company’s greatest asset.