Going With a Guru
by Omar Sacirbey
Zeina Frayha and Terry Saad, the wife and husband team behind HerbaFi Wellness in Silver Spring, Maryland, were newbies to the marijuana industry but did have business backgrounds.
He came from finance. She came from marketing. Before receiving a license, the couple figured they knew enough to put together a winning proposal to open a dispensary in what’s expected to be one of the largest medical marijuana markets on the East Coast.
Applying for the license ended up being the easy part.
Even before Frayha and Saad won their preliminary license in December, they encountered problems finding cannabis-savvy real estate agents and contractors. The couple also had dozens of questions about operating a dispensary.
“We originally wanted to go about it ourselves,” Frayha said. “But as we progressed, we realized there were so many questions we had, there were so many roadblocks we were hitting, that it would be convenient to work with someone. We felt like we needed someone with prior experience to walk us through it.”
That someone turned out to be Chanda Macias, owner of the National Holistic Healing Center in Washington DC and a medical marijuana business consultant. It proved to be money well spent.
Consultants can help aspiring cannabis entrepreneurs – like Frayha and Saad – get their idea off the ground. They can also help more established companies improve their bottom line or expand into new markets. But before hiring a consultant, it’s critical to vet candidates thoroughly and assess your own strengths and weaknesses.