Brendan McKee – Being an Entrepreneur in the Cannabis Industry (EP. 3)

Posted on March 11th, 2021 to Common SENSimilla

Brendan McKee is the Co Founder and CFO of Silver Therapeutics, a dispensary group based in Massachusetts. We talk to him about his journey as a serial entrepreneur.

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Will Read: Welcome to another episode of higher learning my name is Will Read. I am the CEO and founder of CannaPlanners. We are a Vermont-based creative and web agency focused on improving the way that cannabis companies engage with customers. We use these conversations as a as a means to demystify the the cannabis industry [and] to talk about how businesses are started, how entrepreneurs work in this industry, and also cannabis.

Today we’re talking to Brendan McKee he is the co-founder and CFO of Silver Therapeutics. They are a Massachusetts-based retail dispensary firm working with three locations right now in and around the Massachusetts area. Brendan thanks for joining us today I really appreciate your time

Brendan McKee: Yeah thank you Will it’s always a pleasure, you know, getting together and talking shop. Always grateful for your support via CannaPlanners and yeah excited to
kick it off.

Will Read: I was excited and frankly surprised when you agreed to do this not because you wanted to be, not because you don’t you know – it seems
like your calendar is completely booked day in day out you know. When we chat it’s quick it’s to the point, I respect that about you but I appreciate your time I know how busy you are running not one, not two, but three retail locations in Massachusetts. I kind of wanted to talk, if you could just quick, you know to the people watching or listening how did you get to cannabis, what was your sort of entrepreneurial path?

Brendan McKee: Yeah well you know I’ve been self-medicating for a long long time so I don’t even wanna…

Will Read: You’re in good company with a hundred percent of our guests.

Brendan McKee: Really, cannabis has always been a passion of mine. I grew up playing sports through college and even professionally for a little bit and cannabis was an alternative therapy for me really without even knowing it and so by way of that, I just kind of, naturally, was like “Wow, there’s something to this, I really want to get in the space.” And so I just started to dig into the regulations about four or five years ago in Massachusetts when it kind of first turned on you know medically. And through friends and family found Josh Silver and Josh Ferranto, who are my partners, and each of us you know have our kind of respective skill set.

Josh silver is a zoning attorney, Josh Ferranto is a cultivator and real estate developer, and I’m a retail ops guy with some digital experience and so we kind of all came together and and we said “hey, we can get a medical license” with every intention of eventually being a medically, vertically integrated company. But we also knew that by getting a medical license we could be fast-tracked for adult use.

Will Read: I’m interested to hear you talk a little bit more about kind of the co-founder relationship because that is oftentimes a tricky one. Even even in starting CannaPlanners, I’ve talked about this before a little bit, but I had to go through maybe a few people before I was able to find the right team in terms of my co-founding partners who not only had that skill set, you know. Having the skill set is so important but skills does not make one an entrepreneur. The entrepreneur is more of a – it’s more of a mindset, it’s more of an emotion than it is like a job description. That passion that someone feels, that burning desire to succeed and to win and to see a thing grow is so important and sometimes you have an original co-founder who has you know a potentially really great idea and can only execute realistically on just a couple important parts of growing the business.

But then, and this is especially true, I think, for dispensaries because you know retail is a very – I mean it’s it’s a wild, wild kingdom retail no matter what you’re selling. I worked in Apple retail for many many years so I’m empathetic to the plight of people trying to run a store. Customer service is a hugely difficult thing. I’m getting ahead of myself I want to talk about co-founders but my point is there’s so many skill sets that go into operating or even starting a business and that co-founder relationship is so important.  Did you have a similar struggle or was it simpatico from day one?

Brendan McKee: Oh god that’s…

Will Read: Yeah I know I just jammed so much in there but I think what I’m saying is there’s just so many things one has to do! It’s almost impossible for one person to do it, but then you have the delicate nature of human relationships, and especially with the co-founder relationship

Brendan McKee: Yeah I mean first of all I love my partners. Like I said they’re family. We met through family and as a result, I consider them family, I love them. As a start-up (we’re still very much a startup). We’re established we’re post revenue we’re doing great you know we’re doing all those things but at the end of the day we’re still a startup. And so you know over time we’ve been able to, in a more diligent way, allocate efforts, reduce the duplication of work. But at the end of the day, I say this all the time if you can’t have a beer with, or smoke a joint, whatever your thing is – If you can’t do that with with your partners or people you work with, in my opinion, it’s just not going to work out.

Read the full transcript on Youtube. Just click the the buttons next to “SAVE” and then click “Open Transcript.

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This post was written by Zach Santarsiero.

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