Joseph Pham, founder of Industrial Hemp Farms.
I’m fascinated by entrepreneurs who break into unique spaces where a baseline for success doesn’t exist. While only legalized in 2018, the CBD industry is projected to hit more than $20 billion in sales by 2024. Although recreational cannabis use remains illegal in many states, hemp and CBD companies are establishing their brands as a natural method for gaining relaxation and calming anxiety – two efforts needed more than ever in 2021.
Joe Pham, the founder of one of the first vertically integrated hemp companies, Industrial Hemp Farms, is a leading entrepreneur in the space. Pham built his business from the ground up and now employs more than one thousand professionals.
I recently sat down with Pham virtually to discuss his top tips in building and growing a CBD business. Here are his three most important recommendations:
Be an expert in all fields of cannabis
Spend time learning about the farming, extraction, product manufacturing, and distribution methods. In farming, besides the process of growing plants, there’s product knowledge. Read about seeds, plants, fiber, flowers, cannabinoids, and learn the process of extractions. There are different methods to make different oils, and it takes experimentation to determine which one works for your business.
Conduct detailed industry research
Connect with current farms. Anyone can contact farmers because they are all registered in their state’s respective databases. Some farmers will be willing to share free expertise or products. Reach out to a lab extraction company. Extraction labs will take in material and process it into oil. Generally, they will retain a percentage of the finished oil as a processing fee. Most labs will process your material to oil without out of pocket cost. If you learn to make products, you can efficiently do it yourself or source a local packaging company.
Provide value and creativity throughout each process
As one of the first people to lead in the hemp industry, Pham didn’t have many examples to follow in how to connect with customers. He decided to provide complimentary products to new potential clients to prove the scope of what he could provide with his company. Specifically, Pham sent hemp-oil free of charge to various potential clients with different health conditions and collected positive and consistent testimonies from each of them. This process indicated to him that he was on the right track.
Advertising CBD and hemp products remains highly-regulated, so business owners must be creative to stay competitive. Continuing to research and understand each facet of the process will ensure that entrepreneurs remain relevant and profitable as the industry expands.