Q – Kindly give our readers an introduction to your business. Please include what your business is all about, in which city you are located and if you have offices in multiple locations/ cities.
A – We are a licensed and award-winning cannabis dispensary in Kimberley, BC. When you are looking for the highest quality of cannabis edibles then we are the dispensary of choice. We take great pride in our commitment to offering high quality edibles that are procured from licensed, certified, organic and registered businesses. This helps us to ensure that all of our cannabis products are second to none, as well as being clearly labelled for medical use. You will find that our labels also indicate much-needed potency and dosage information. We also test our products scientifically as well as with independent laboratories. You will not find us selling products that have been chemically processed with butane or any other poisons.
Q – What inspired you to (start a new business venture) or (to make significant changes in an existing business)? How did the idea for your business come about?
A – I was seeking alternative pain management options to help my husband following a devastating workplace accident that left him permanently disabled and in significant pain. We wanted an alternative to opioids in order to prevent a dependency from occurring. We found that cannabis treatment was significantly more tolerable; providing longer lasting pain management and few or no side effects. Local access to medicinal cannabis was limited and we saw a niche where we could provide a service to our community as well as the region overall. We recognized that the cannabis industry was really taking off in BC (as well as the rest of Canada) and with the potential legalization looming on the horizon, we saw this as a major step in legitimizing this industry and transforming it into a mainstream retail experience.
Q – What three pieces of advice would you give to budding entrepreneurs?
A – 1. Your business is your baby. You need to be committed to it 100%. Success comes through hard work and commitment. Do not delegate too much of your business responsibilities to others in the beginning. Rely on others for assistance, but you must be devoted to the day-to-day operations in order to ensure the business is set up and running the way you want it to.
2. Attention to detail and big picture thinking are both required, however you must not neglect one at the expense of the other.
3. Know your limitations. If you lack a skill set, do not struggle to manage on your own, get help. For example, I hired a bookkeeper to manage all my accounting responsibilities and this freed me up to manage and excel at the things I am good at, and it totally minimized so much of my stress at the beginning and has allowed me to be better organized overall.
Q – What would you say are the top three skills needed to be a successful entrepreneur?
A – Passion for what you do and humility in realizing you do not know it all. Strong work ethic and a willingness to commit to your dreams. Ability to network and use the skills of others to enhance yours and accept your limitations realizing that you need outside assistance and cannot do it singlehandedly.
Q – How many hours do you work a day on average?
A – After 2 years it’s about 45-50 but in the beginning it was more like 60-65
Q – To what do you most attribute your success?
A – Personal drive and determination, strong work ethics and being self-driven. Having a passion for my business and a constant yearning to learn more. Commitment to customer service and striving to provide the best products to my customers plus having a vision for the future and working towards that goal.
Q – How do you go about marketing your business? What has been your most successful form of marketing?
A – I utilize various marketing strategies (advertising in magazines and radio, newspapers, trade shows), but the two biggest drivers of marketing are word of mouth and social media.
Q – Where did your organizations funding/capital come from and how did you go about getting it? How did you obtain investors for your venture?
A – My business was self-funded by my husband and myself. We are sole investors in this limited company.
Q – What is the best way to achieve long-term success?
A – Only two years in business so still awaiting long-term success. I believe that to achieve this I need to stick to my roots and my original business plan. Stay focused, and grow the company while being attuned to changes in the industry and responding to them but remaining true to what my passion is.
Q – Where you see yourself and your business in 5 – 10 years?
A – I plan to have between 4-10 stores that I oversee (two are company stores and the rest are franchises). I will have a reliable management team handling day to day operations thus allowing me to focus on specific items, projects, consulting and community investment whilst enabling me to enjoy work/life balance.
Q – Excluding yours, what company or business do you admire the most?
A – Richard Branson’s Virgin brand
Q – How important have good employees been to your success?
A – Hugely important. I experienced a couple of speed bumps early on and had relied on individuals not suited to the positions they held. Having seen the missteps, I took action to remedy this, and now have an amazing compliment of staff that makes my job so much easier and the work place a much happier place to be.
Q – How long do you stick with an idea before giving up?
A – I don’t have a rule of thumb on this, but it certainly depends on the circumstances. Usually I weigh the pros and cons and if it’s worth it, I can be quite tenacious. If the outcome is desirable, I will not give up until I have exhausted all options.
Q – What motivates you?
A – Being successful. Being a great leader, making good decisions, and increasing my customer’s quality of life. Hearing my customer’s stories about how they have been helped by cannabis and the tangible results occurring drives me to promote my business more in order to help more people.
Q – What are your ideals?
A – I value customer service, commitment to community and giving back (to this end I have donated over $28 000 in my first year and a half in business). I believe in education and information, as these are key in assisting customers to make solid decisions regarding their medication.
Q – How do you generate new ideas?
A – I am constantly researching; through reading, knowledge of current affairs, media, my contacts, social activities and interaction with others. My staff and I have regular brain-storming sessions as well as I share my ideas with them and we often refine or scrap them all together as we come up with new concepts and plans together.
Q – How do you define success?
A – Success is watching my business grow, seeing the quality of my customer’s lives improved, enabling my staff to earn a decent living and seeing them enjoy coming to work each day. My personal success is defined by the respect I receive from my peers in the business community, as well as from people in my city as well. Being able to give back, philanthropy defines success for me.
Q – How do you build a successful customer base?
A – High standards of customer service, willingness to listen to the customer’s needs and health issues, and the belief in our products and standing behind them. Also we offer the highest quality products and have a wide array of products to choose from, in various forms.
Q – What is your favorite aspect of being an entrepreneur?
A – I love inspiring my staff and being a good leader. I believe in utilizing my staff’s unique skill set in order to give them challenges on the job and encourage them to move outside their comfort zone in order to develop new skills and grow.
Q – What has been your most satisfying moment in business?
A – When a customer beat prostate cancer, and said it was thanks to me for the access I provided to him to get cannabis. He thanked me for offering not only hope, but the belief that this product could and would make a difference for him.
Q – What do you feel is the major difference between entrepreneurs and those who work for someone else?
A – I think the major difference is that when you work for yourself you are more invested, as you get out what you put in. You take all the risks and assume all the responsibility. It is evident that some people are better at entrepreneurship than others based on their work ethic and willingness to take risks.
Q – What kind of culture exists in your organization? How did you establish this tone and why did you institute this particular type of culture?
A – Person-Oriented. My staff are all part of one big team, and we treat them like valued friends. I chose this culture as I wanted staff to feel appreciated by me, I want them to be able to share ideas and I want them invested in what we are doing. My goal is to inspire a shared vision and lead by example. Treating staff the way I want to be treated has worked for me thus far and I have loyal, committed and hard-working team members to show for my efforts. We share in the rewards as well as the perks of being a well-oiled machine where all players are equally important but have well defined roles.
Q – In one word, characterize your life as an entrepreneur.
A – Invigorating
Q – If you had the chance to start your career over again, what would you do differently?
A – I would have majored in business studies in university and would have started my business career 20 years earlier than I did. I didn’t know that I had a passion for business while in my 20s however, with the experience I gained in my 20’s working for a government organization, I learned invaluable skills that have aided me in building my business.
Q – How has being an entrepreneur affected your family life?
A – It overshadows a lot of things most of the time. I make a real effort to leave work at work, and when I get home, it’s family time. Of course, I think about the business a lot of the time, but I prefer to work late, and then go home, and leave work. I do take time during the day to go for lunch or do personal errands so that I feel there is balance in my life.
Q – What is your greatest fear, and how do you manage fear?
A – My greatest fear was losing customers however I have realized that you cannot please everyone and some people are simply unreasonable. My overall goal is to provide great customer service, however, I recognize that some people’s expectations are unattainable. Therefore if a customer threatens to go elsewhere, it is our policy to agree and cut our losses as both of us will benefit in the future from not trying to prolong the relationship. As for customer service, we do the best we can to provide a stellar level of products and service knowing that for some, this effort will never be good enough. We don’t fear losing customers because we have every confidence in the high standards of service we adhere to.
Q – How did you decide on the location for your business?
A – I chose to start business in my home town, but specifically for the location, I considered the neighbourhood, my clientele, the units available, the size I needed and my own agenda. I chose to be far from schools, community centres, churches, places where public gather such as playgrounds, sport fields, and parks. I chose commercial only property in a business district. I chose good street visibility and lots of parking and handicapped accessibility. I also chose a newer building as it met with my criteria for a clean and bright storefront.
Q – Do you believe there is some sort of pattern or formula to becoming a successful entrepreneur?
A – Commitment, hard work and never losing sight of the bigger picture. You can’t be half in and expect to be successful. It’s all or nothing. You have to be hands-on in order to know what is happening from moment to moment. And you have to put faith in those who work for you, without micromanaging, but by finding a balance of supervision and leadership. Absenteeism and playing the big-shot is not going to lead to success if you haven’t paid your dues in terms of putting in the effort in the trenches. With success comes more freedom but you gotta work for it.
Q – If you could talk to one person from history, who would it be and why?
A – To converse with Albert Einstein, would be absolutely amazing as I’m sure he would be able to encourage me with his unique perspective, intelligence and insights into human behaviour without using trite platitudes and without outdated thinking. And I believe he would have an off-beat sense of humor which I would appreciate and I could learn much from him.
Q – Who has been your greatest inspiration?
A – My husband. As a successful entrepreneur himself, I have watched him grow and succeed in hisbusiness during some very difficult economic times. His business savvy, experience and intelligence has been beneficial to me as he supports, challenges and encourages me to grow, take risks and set goals for my own business.
Q – What book has inspired you the most? (OR what is your favorite book?
A – Outlander, by Diana Gabaldon. As an aspiring writer myself, I was inspired by Diana, a scientist, researcher and university professor who decided to write a book for “practice” before she wrote an actual novel. The outpouring of support she received from her online community encouraged her to seek out a publisher and her time-travelling historical adventure novel series has sold over 20 million copies and been translated into 23 languages. Now that’s what I call success!
Q – What are some of the biggest mistakes you’ve made?
A – Giving too many chances to people who don’t deserve it, and making excuses for other people’s incompetence. I’m a bit wiser now.
Q – How can you prevent mistakes or do damage control?
A – Mistakes happen. I try to minimize mistakes by thinking before acting, by reducing the amount of multitasking I do, and when things have occurred, try to learn from them and make contingencies to address this situation in the future. Immediately addressing the mistake and correcting it in a timely a fashion is required in order to move forward. I also use this method with my staff as a teaching tool.
Q – What are your hobbies? What do you do in your non-work time?
A – Sports, crafts, outdoor pursuits, reading, friends
Q – What makes you happy?
A – Laughing with my staff and knowing they are having a good time at work. As well as having a personal friendship with the folks that work for me, and doing things together outside of work time. Also, philanthropy makes me happy and I like to give financially back into my community to support the programs building tomorrow’s leaders (youth education and leadership programs) as well as recognizing veterans for their contribution to our community and country.
Q – What sacrifices have you had to make to be a successful entrepreneur?
A – I was semi-retired before starting my business but was too young for that, so I gave up all that free time in order to work more than 40 hours a week! But the time sacrifice has been worth it as I was not ready for early retirement and these rewards are worth all the sacrifices.
About Tamarackdispensaries.ca : Tamarack Dispensaries, Canada’s #1 Medical Marijuana Dispensary, located in Kimberley, British Columbia, offers a wide range of medical cannabis products that are laboratory tested & organic wherever possible. Call us, we are committed to providing the best possible customer service!!
First Name: Tamara
Last Name: Duggan
Address: #2-518 304th St,
Zip code: V1A 3H5
Tel No: 778.481.5297