Cresco CEO: How marijuana firms can ‘slingshot’ out of recession, pandemic

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If cannabis companies can survive this “giant curveball” and economic downtown, those businesses can “slingshot out of it” in better shape and with more opportunities than before the coronavirus.

That was one of the central messages delivered Monday by Charlie Bachtell, co-founder and CEO of Chicago-based Cresco Labs, while offering business tips during an appearance at the MJBizConNEXT Direct virtual conference on Monday.

He stressed the engagement and commitment needed to keep a cannabis company’s balance sheet and employees healthy during these unprecedented times.

“No one forecasted pandemics in their operational plans,” Bachtell said Monday during a talk called “Survive to Thrive Executive Strategies: “Restructuring your Business for Sustainability Amid Market Contraction.”

Bachtell has been through a recessionary challenge before; he worked as a lawyer in the residential mortgage banking business during the Great Recession of late 2007 to mid-2009.

Here are some of Bachtell’s tips:

  • Develop a business model and mission that really speaks to today’s environment.
  • Don’t focus exclusively on putting out the fires; address your high-level strategy to see whether you need to pivot – and, if so, how.
  • Control costs and manage for profit and loss.
  • Engage immediately to fight through the difficult environment. A company needs a “kick down doors” mentality to find opportunities amid challenges.
  • Build your infrastructure and devote resources to face the headwinds.
  • Develop a trusted relationship with regulators and lawmakers so you’re in the room with the people who will have a huge say in the way the industry develops.

– Jeff Smith