In this ongoing series, we are sharing advice, tips and insights from real entrepreneurs who are out there doing business battle on a daily basis. (Answers have been edited and condensed for clarity.)
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Who are you and what’s your business?
I am Jason Vegotsky, CEO and co-founder of Petalfast, which helps cannabis brands achieve rapid growth via its go-to-market accelerator program in California, and through its full spectrum of agency services available to brands nationally.
What inspired you to create this business?
I was lucky enough to be in a position at KushCo Holdings to speak and connect with a lot of cannabis and hemp brands across the United States and Canada. After the 100th brand told me they struggled with go-to-market strategy, I wanted to take the opportunity to understand the problem and see if we could solve it. Given my experience in CPG with wine + spirits and food + beverage, I compared those industries to cannabis and came up with a formula of how to solve those distribution problems.
My “aha moment” was when the vape crisis happened and the go-to-market strategy for a big part of our business was challenged. I wanted to create a stable service offering, which supplemented and funneled into the product side of our business and allowed us to forecast our supply chain properly.
What has been your biggest challenge during the pandemic and how did you pivot to overcome it?
We started our business during the pandemic and the biggest challenge was recruiting and acquiring talent without meeting them face-to-face. Luckily, with our interview process and trust with internal referrals, it helped us build our unique, highly differentiated workforce that you cannot find anywhere else in cannabis.
In addition, building culture over Google Meet was a challenge. However, the people-first culture methodology, combined with executing with transparency, trust, solid work ethic and recognition built us a platform for a successful culture for us to thrive and excel.
What advice would you give entrepreneurs looking for funding?
You must have an unwavering belief in your business model. Investors will invest in people, and your business model follows. If you are not confident in your business, it will reflect on your success of funding.
Cannabis has a great network of people who are passionate about connecting and supporting each other. Take the opportunity to use the events surrounding the industry. LinkedIn is a great place to follow businesses and leaders who announce event participation.
What does the word “entrepreneur” mean to you?
An individual that has such conviction for an idea that they follow it. An entrepreneur is someone who does not believe in the status quo, who is constantly trying to innovate and take risks to be successful and make a difference with action.
What is something many aspiring business owners think they need that they really don’t?
Support is important but full buy-in is not a need as you are building your business. You may or may not receive full acceptance since most entrepreneurial business ideas challenge the status quo.
Is there a particular quote or saying that you use as personal motivation?
There is not one quote that stands out and motivates me, but growing up in Philadelphia, I have been positively influenced by the overall theme of the Rocky movie series. You (or your business) may not win every time, but it’s how you fail and make mistakes that differentiate success. Use those failures and mistakes as an opportunity to learn, rise above, and do better.