In this episode of the Kaya Cast Podcast, we welcome Tommy Truong, CEO of Kaya Push, as he shares his insights on the importance of having the right team and strategy in place to scale your cannabis dispensary business.
Tommy talks about the correlation between where the owner spends their time and the size of the business, the importance of having the right employees in place, and the art of scaling.
He also provides valuable advice on hiring and developing the right team members for your dispensary, managing inventory and cash, and how to leverage KPIs to identify exceptional team members.
Tommy Truong (CPA) is the co-founder and CEO of KayaPush. With over $1 Billion of payroll processed last year, Kayapush helps dispensaries scale through an easy people management platform. Tommy has helped thousands of business owners grow their companies through simplifying workforce management.
Find out more about Kaya Push at:
Tommy Truong: In the beginning, when you're starting up your dispensary and you're starting your business, you have to be very intimate with the different aspects of your business, what it takes to grow and, the people. From there, you put the right people in place, you put the right incentives in place, you put the right oversight in place, and then you can scale.
Tom Mulhern: Welcome to the Kaya Cast Podcast. I'm your host, Tom Mulhern, and today I have a conversation with Tommy Truong, who's the CEO of Kaya Push. And Tommy has been on our podcast before sharing some of his insights from his conversations with business owners using our platform, Kaya Push. But today we are talking about a thing that keeps coming up in all of his conversations of how do you scale your business, how do you scale your cannabis operation to make it uh, you know, a multi-location, maybe even multi-state? And Tommy shares the secret to what it takes to really scale your business. And it's not what you think.
It's not just money. It's not having the right tech stack. It's having the right people. And so I hope you enjoy this conversation between myself and Tommy Truong.
Tommy Truong: I often talk to a lot of dispensary applicants CAURD applicants and I asked them, How big do you want to be? Do you want to be just one location or you are you looking to grow to three locations and potentially more?
Right. And everybody says, I want to grow to three or more locations. Always. And that's kind of the, the American dream. You know, you want build your enterprise and you wanna scale it. When you think about a business and you think about what makes a business scale, it's a very simple formula.
There's two things that directly impact how big your business will be. One is where you spend your time. There's a hundred percent correlation between where the owner spends their time and how big the business will be. Is it gonna be a small business or it's gonna be a big business? Right? And tied into that is, do you have the right employees in place that are doing very important things in the business that you don't have time for?
The right areas of the business, is very dependent on where the business is at.
If you're first starting out, where you spending time is gonna be very different than if you have 10 locations. And if you have the right people in place, then your business will scale.
When I talk to business owners, I always impose that question. And then how do you unpack where you should spend your time as a business owner, and how do you also unpack what is the people strategy that you should deploy to ensure that you have the right people in place when you need them?
Tom Mulhern: Do you find that a lot of business owners, especially when they start up, are spending their time in the wrong spaces and wasting time on thingsthey don't have the people in place that they need?
Tommy Truong: In the beginning, when you're starting a a dispensary, there's gonna be a lot of information that you're bringing in. If, If I break down the four key areas of a dispensary, that's, that's a really good place to start. You have your team recruiting, hiring, onboarding, training, growing and retaining your key employees.
And then you have your customer experience. The customer side of things. So internally, the team side, the customer side, do you have a team that is a high performing team that can service the customers? What is their customer experience? What is the sales experience? Are you as a business owner talking to your customers and understanding their needs?
So that's customer. And the customer also ties into inventory strategy. It's very specific to the area that you're in. What is your inventory strategy and how does that tie into your conversation with your customer and the KPIs and the data that you're getting. And then you have two most important things in the dispensary, the inventory that you're selling.
People are coming in, they're buying something, right? So the procurement, the SOPs, the controls, the reporting to the government inventory side and cash, it's a very high high cash business. And then you have everything else. Everything else is not important enough to have in its own category, but it's still very important to do.
So, your 280e strategy. It's important to get it right, but it's not critical to your business functioning. There are certain items that are very important but very easy to do and you have to just get a handle on that right away and clear that off of your conscious, have the right people to care about, have the right processes in place so then you can start thinking about hard things to do that are important to your business, like growing your team and, you know, managing and scaling your business for growth.
Tom Mulhern: Are you finding, like in your conversations with business owners that they're struggling to find those good people to fill those roles like inventory and budtenders and stuff, or is there talent out there that they can bring on?
Tommy Truong: A lot of businesses just need to take a step back and just think through about their employee profile, who it is that they're looking to fill in for a specific role.
So let's talk about the budtender role. For example, the profile that I see as the best for budtender is somebody that has ambition, has an ambition in place to either, one, advance their career in this industry. Two, wanna step up and be a manager. Or three want a career in sales. Just somebody that has an idea of where they want to be in five years, because somebody with that ambition, you can channel that ambition to take on more more responsibilities in the business.
When you're looking to scale to say a second location, you are already thinking about who is gonna be the team lead and who the employees that I'm gonna have in my second location. And wouldn't it be great if you hired a team of budtenders that have some ambition and you know that you're not gonna be clipping at a hundred percent. Let's say you hire a team of budtenders over the course of two months, three months, you're gonna see fairly quickly who are the exceptional team members on your team.
Where owners should really spend their time now is job shadowing their team. It just takes a day and listening into conversations on their best performing members and their least performing members. As a business owner, you should just have an understanding of why one person is really good at upselling.
Or why one person has the best average basket size and why another person doesn't. And then from there, give them more responsibility. Hey, I want you to train the team, right? Train the team and then get them involved in training the team. If you see that they're doing really well, then give them the title of Team Lead and then compensate them based on how well the team does, and then groom them into a future manager for a future store that you're gonna open up.
When you're thinking about back to scaling your team and scaling your business, you have to start thinking through of, okay, what do I need to do immediately with my team? And how does this impact my business moving forward?
Tom Mulhern: So you're kind of saying the biggest barrier then. To that scaling, like you said, all the business owners you're talking to, they want to grow their business to multiple locations, but one of the biggest barriers is not having the right people in place. When you have the right people in place, you can start dreaming that, but if you don't have that team, that dream team, you, you can't even be thinking about next locations.
Even if you have the financing, you don't have the people.
Tommy Truong: You can only scale your team. There's a formula for that one. Where do you as a business owner spend your time? And do you have the right people in place that are doing really important things in the business that you don't have time for? If you are scaling a company all the time in the world to be involved in the day-to-day training of your team, you need somebody in that position.
So how do you find that person internally? So in the beginning, when you're starting up your dispensary and you're starting your business, you have to be very intimate with the different aspects of your business, what it takes to grow and, and your, the people. From there, you put the right people in place, you put the right incentives in place, you put the right oversight in place, and then you can scale.
Tom Mulhern: I think that in really any industry, including cannabis, having the right people on your team to be able to grow your business is so key. And you see that when you have the right people on your team as a business owner, you can focus on the things that really matter, the things that you love doing.
And so my encouragement to you as a cannabis business owner is to go and find those people who are gonna help you grow. Find those people that have, you know, that determination, that drive to want to grow their career and really, build that growth mindset so that they can grow as well.
Keep listening to the Kaya Cast Podcast. You know, we have tons of conversations on this specific topic and actually we have a few conversations coming up with different people working in the industry and recruitment and hr. And so make sure you subscribe to the Kaya Cast Podcast and share these interviews with your friends in the industry, and thanks again for listening to the Kaya Cast podcast.