Marijuana Business Magazine May-June 2020

Marijuana Business Magazine | May-June 2020 14 W hen you have no idea where you’re going, your instinct is to look back. That’s why global upheaval caused by the coronavirus pandemic has everyone looking to the past for guidance. We search for clues in the Spanish flu pandemic of the 20 th century—and the bubonic plague of the 14 th century—hoping to draw lessons that protect our health now. Business owners do the same when mapping strategy during economic turbulence. No doubt you’ve seen economists sharing lessons from the Great Recession of 2008-09, or the many stock market panics that preceded it. What did entrepreneurs do back then to stay afloat—or even thrive—and come out of the downturn stronger? The hemp industry is no exception. It’s both brand new and older than recorded history. Before the Great Depression, before even the Industrial Revolution, folks were growing hemp and using it to do business. Fortunately, hemp entrepreneurs have more than market history from which to draw inspiration through economic upheaval. The plant itself can be a source of strength for troubled businesses, and it has wisdom to share: Geography doesn’t matter. Hemp grows on six continents, in landscapes both arid and tropical, in soil both acidic and alkaline. The plant can adapt to an enormous variety of growing conditions. Is hemp as profitable without abundant water and nutrients? Of course not. But it survives in adversity, and your business can, too. We’re all connected. Hemp needs pollen to reproduce and insects or wind to spread it. Without pollen, the plant survives only when humans keep one generation going to the next. Your hemp business is interconnected, too: with your employees, your community, your customers and the world. The touchpoints of your network span the globe. Even the tiniest backyard hemp startup has partnerships for seed, distribution and more. Isolation has value . Hemp relies on pollen or cultivators to reproduce, but not to grow. For that, the plant needs air, soil and sun—and space to put down roots. Successful entrepreneurs need room, too. The hemp industry can feel like a treadmill of networking opportunities, every weekend packed with can’t- miss events. Away from crowds, entrepreneurs can take inspiration from the plant and deepen a root system strong enough to withstand tomorrow’s storms. Evolution is both inevitable and essential . Anyone who’s grown cannabis knows how variable the plant can be from one generation to the next. Just when you think you’ve got a field full of females, boom! One innovator in the field has hermed, or developed male parts. And a plant with that perfect flower in one generation can disappoint in the next. Nature doesn’t stop changing. Your business shouldn’t, either. Just like landrace hemp survived decades of prohibition in the ditches of Nebraska, your business can survive if you embrace changing conditions and adapt to them. There’s no pretending that global upheaval caused by a deadly illness is a good thing. It’s not. But as you wonder what the future holds for your hemp business, remember that you’re not making cars or computers. You’re working with a plant that has survived everything man and nature can throw at it—and still thrives, still has the power to heal. Let it be your inspiration to thrive, too. Kristen Nichols is editor of Hemp Industry Daily. She can be reached at kristen.nichols@ Strength from the Soil In uncertain times, the hemp plant has lessons for entrepreneurs HempNotebook | Kristen Nichols