In our latest episode of North Report we spoke with Trang Trinh, founding director and CEO of TREC Brands, a socially conscious cannabis company that is focused on developing and marketing cannabis brands. We learned about 3 brilliant strategies that have worked for TREC even in the unprecedented 'Wild West' of legal cannabis. We’re betting that they will work for you too.

Community First, Business Second - Underscore your business plan with a strong corporate social responsibility policy

Trust, respect, equality, and compassion (TREC) are essential core values that should be the foundation blocks of any business model. They will also shine through when you commit to doing social good in your community. Your dedication to your community is not only charitable, it is good for business. It will help establish and increase brand awareness in a positive and low-cost way. Support your local community by pledging a percentage of your gross profits to causes such as local arts, climate change, and the empowerment of women.  

People want to support companies that are aligned with their values. It is more likely that consumers will purchase your product when you advocate for an issue they care about.

Adding a philanthropic component to your company has another great benefit. When employees can see their personal values reflected in the organization's mission, they will be more invested in their commitment to the company and equally inspired to support the community. Now that’s a win-win.  

TREC is challenging other companies to get on board with the 'Community First' movement. Embrace this challenge and reap the business success it will bring.

Stacking your Team - Build a passionate and dedicated team

Building a team full of passionate and dedicated individuals can be a struggle, but it’s a crucial step for any start-up or expanding business. When recruiting people who are a great culture fit for your company, be mindful that you are not hiring an increasingly homogenous workforce. Through an unconscious bias, you may gravitate towards candidates who display similarities to your existing team. Focus on recruiting talent without prejudice. Make sure you look for various skill sets, personalities and backgrounds that will round out your team and be sustainable for the future. Keep true to your core corporate values but dare to be different by building a team that is passionate, dedicated and diverse.

Staying True and Authentic - Focus on what your company does best.

Having a mission statement you truly believe in, and a passionate team is a good start, but how do you set your business apart?  In the “Wild West” cannabis industry, Trinh attributes their success to their a-typical business model - a cannabis company that doesn’t produce cannabis.

“They focus on what they are good at, which is sales and marketing, and let their  partners do what they’re good at, which is cultivating and processing cannabis”

You know your company's expertise so build your business model around it and stay true to what you do best. Concentrate on your core products, market them to the right demographics and then you will be in a good position to develop new products.

Trinh’s key message is 'be willing to embrace risk, and stay true and authentic to who you are... at the end of the day if you don’t bet on yourself, nobody else will.'

References:

Forbes. (2017) Why More and More Companies Are Doing Social Good. https://www.forbes.com/sites/brianrashid/2017/04/25/why-more-and-more-companies-are-doing-social-good/#2bb8e6c5db07

Cone Communications. (2017) CSR Study. https://www.conecomm.com/2017-cone-communications-csr-study-pdf\

Deloitte. (2018) A society in transition, an industry read to boom. 2018 Cannabis Report. https://www2.deloitte.com/content/dam/Deloitte/ca/Documents/consulting/ca-cannabis-2018-report-en.PDF

Kellogg Insight. (2015) A Titled Playing Field. https://insight.kellogg.northwestern.edu/article/a-tilted-playing-field