Behind the Curtain 15 – Made In Humboldt: Advance Planning

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Nick arrived at the Small Business Development Center in downtown Eureka one minute before the Business Plan workshop started. “No small talk with others,” he thought to himself as he summed up the room.

He was tired of house sitting for others and was ready to be in business for himself. When legalization hit he wanted to be ready. “First a plan, then how to market,” his mind wandered.

He wondered how many growers were in the room tonight, and how many were thinking the same thing. “It can be a real business,” a friend of his told him. “You just have to be smart.

When pot is legalized it will be the savvy grower who can make a cottage industry product and market it. Those will be the successful growers of the future.” Nick thought his friend was talking through the Kush, but he knew he was right.

The hall at the Mateel the week before was packed with growers sitting next to city and state officials. “WAP,” What’s After Pot, organizer, Anne Hamilton was a longtime Southern Humboldt grower, who admitted to being “sick of  the whole thing.”

No one ever thought it would come to this, but here it was. He was happy at the thought of having his own business, of growing outside in the sun – not worrying about who was coming to the house. No more holing up and hiding from everyone.

The last attendee entered the room at the Small Business Center. Nick listened to the speaker as he began.

“We’ll cover why everyone who starts up a business should have a plan,” he said. “During this class you’ll prepare an outline, do some market research, and I’ll give you some helpful hints to save time and get the most from your plan.”

The last workshop Nick attended was all about starting up a business. “Taxes and business banking; employees and contractors- knowing the difference,” he remembered the man at the front of the class droning on and on, but he was all ears. For the life of him he couldn’t wrap his head around having trimmers fill out 1099 forms, but here it was.

Since that last class he had received his business licenses, placed a fictitious name statement in the paper, and had just received his retail seller permit in the mail from the State of California. He felt like a business man already.

For privacy sake, Nick’s business plan was all about growing herbs. Basil and oregano was all the people in this room needed to know about, for now. There was a lot of math involved. How much money does it take to grow one pound, and how much would that pound be worth?

He remembered no one in the entire hall at the Mateel could agree on that.

“I suppose we’ll all find out about the hard knocks of what the market will tolerate when it happens,” he thought. “And we’ll all have a lot more empathy for what our farmers go through, that’s for sure.”