Start a cbd oil business by following these 10 steps:
You have found the perfect business idea, and now you are ready to take the next step. There is more to starting a business than just registering it with the state. We have put together this simple guide to starting your cbd oil business. These steps will ensure that your new business is well planned out, registered properly and legally compliant.
Check out our How to Start a Business page.
STEP 1: Plan your business
A clear plan is essential for success as an entrepreneur. It will help you map out the specifics of your business and discover some unknowns. A few important topics to consider are:
- What are the startup and ongoing costs?
- Who is your target market?
- How much can you charge customers?
- What will you name your business?
Luckily we have done a lot of this research for you.
What are the costs involved in opening a cbd oil business?
If you grow your own hemp and turn it into CBD oil, then your costs to start will be low. You can begin selling your product online with little more than a website made for a few hundred bucks with Squarespace and commercial liability insurance in case a customer sues you after using your product. You can also consider partnering with an established farmer to grow their business and your own.
What are the ongoing expenses for a cbd oil business?
Owners need to account for the cost of farming, insurance, and staff salaries. They may also want to hire a lawyer to keep up on the rapidly changing laws.
Who is the target market?
Practically anyone can use this product. CBD oil is used to relieve anxiety, soften skin, and reduce chronic pain. Most famously, it's given to kids who have severe seizures to reduce their frequency and severity. It can even be taken by people for general relaxation at any time. CBD oil is derived from cannabis, but it does not cause a psychoactive effect like THC will.
How does a cbd oil business make money?
CBD oil businesses will create their own profit margin for their products, based on the scope of their operation, quality of their product, and demand for CBD oil among their target demographic.
How much can you charge customers?
It’s not unusual to see CBD oil sold for $60 for just 30 mL. 100 mg in a 2 oz bottle of skin lotion can be sold for $85.
How much profit can a cbd oil business make?
CBD oil businesses can make a good deal of profit once their customer base is established. If you charge an average of $60 per product at a 50% mark-up, you’ll need to sell 200 products every month to make $6,000 in profit. This goal can be easier to meet than you may think given the exceptional demand.
How can you make your business more profitable?
CBD oil owners can branch out to different types of products to boost their profits. From skin care to make-up to tinctures to vaping to edibles, there are a lot of different options available.
What will you name your business?
Choosing the right name is important and challenging. If you don’t already have a name in mind, visit our How to Name a Business guide or get help brainstorming a name with our CBD Oil Business Name Generator
When registering a business name, we recommend researching your business name by checking:
- Your state's business records
- Federal and state trademark records
- Social media platforms
- Web domain availability.
It's very important to secure your domain name before someone else does.
STEP 2: Form a legal entity
Establishing a legal business entity such as an LLC or corporation protects you from being held personally liable if your cbd oil business is sued.
Form Your LLC
Read our Guide to Form Your Own LLC
Recommended: You will need to elect a registered agent for your LLC. LLC formation packages usually include a free year of registered agent services. You can choose to hire a registered agent or act as your own.
STEP 3: Register for taxes
You will need to register for a variety of state and federal taxes before you can open for business.
In order to register for taxes you will need to apply for an EIN. It's really easy and free!
You can acquire your EIN for free through the IRS website, via fax, or by mail. If you would like to learn more about EINs and how they can benefit your LLC, read our article, What is an EIN?.
Small Business Taxes
Depending on which business structure you choose, you might have different options for how your business will be taxed. For example, some LLCs could benefit from being taxed as an S corporation (S corp).
You can learn more about small business taxes in these guides:
There are specific state taxes that might apply to your business. Learn more about state sales tax and franchise taxes in our state sales tax guides.
STEP 4: Open a business bank account & credit card
Using dedicated business banking and credit accounts is essential for personal asset protection.
When your personal and business accounts are mixed, your personal assets (your home, car, and other valuables) are at risk in the event your business is sued. In business law, this is referred to as piercing your corporate veil.
Additionally, learning how to build business credit can help you get credit cards and other financing in your business's name (instead of yours), better interest rates, higher lines of credit, and more.
Open a business bank account
- This separates your personal assets from your company's assets, which is necessary for personal asset protection.
- It also makes accounting and tax filing easier.
Recommended: Read our Best Banks for Small Business review to find the best national bank, credit union, business-loan friendly banks, one with many brick-and-mortar locations, and more.
Open net-30 accounts
When it comes to establishing your business credit, net-30 vendors are considered the way to go. The term "net-30," which is popular among vendors, refers to a business credit arrangement where the company pays the vendor within 30 days of receiving goods or services.
Net-30 credit terms are often used for businesses that need to obtain inventory quickly but do not have the cash on hand.
Besides establishing business relationships with vendors, net-30 credit accounts get reported to the major business credit bureaus (Dun & Bradstreet, Experian Business, and Equifax Business Credit). This is how businesses build business credit so they can qualify for credit cards and other lines of credit.
Recommended: Read our guide on the best net-30 vendors so you can start building business credit now, so you never have to worry about cash flow in the future. Keep in mind that poor cash flow is the #1 reason businesses fail!
Get a business credit card
- This helps you separate personal and business expenses by putting your business' expenses all in one place.
- It also builds your company's credit history, which can be useful to raise money and investment later on.
STEP 5: Set up business accounting
Recording your various expenses and sources of income is critical to understanding the financial performance of your business. Keeping accurate and detailed accounts also greatly simplifies your annual tax filing.
STEP 6: Obtain necessary permits and licenses
Failure to acquire necessary permits and licenses can result in hefty fines, or even cause your business to be shut down.
Federal Business Licensing Requirements
Although CBD oil does not produce psychoactive effects like the THC found in marijuana, the two products are associated closely enought that the production and sales of CBD are currently in a legal grey area. Before starting your CBD oil business, it is important that you make sure to read up on both state and federal laws regarding CBD products. This will help ensure your business functions smoothly and avoids legal trouble.
State & Local Business Licensing Requirements
Certain state permits and licenses may be needed to operate a CBD oil business. Learn more about licensing requirements in your state by visiting SBA’s reference to state licenses and permits.
Most businesses are required to collect sales tax on the goods or services they provide. To learn more about how sales tax will affect your business, read our article, Sales Tax for Small Businesses.
For information about local licenses and permits:
- Check with your town, city or county clerk’s office
- Get assistance from one of the local associations listed in US Small Business Associations directory of local business resources.
Certificate of Occupancy
A CBD oil business is generally run out of a place where the oil is manufactured. Businesses operating out of a physical location typically require a Certificate of Occupancy (CO). A CO confirms that all building codes, zoning laws and government regulations have been met.
- If you plan to lease a location:
- It is generally the landlord’s responsibility to obtain a CO.
- Before leasing, confirm that your landlord has or can obtain a valid CO that is applicable to a CBD oil business.
- After a major renovation, a new CO often needs to be issued. If your place of business will be renovated before opening, it is recommended to include language in your lease agreement stating that lease payments will not commence until a valid CO is issued.
- If you plan to purchase or build a location:
- You will be responsible for obtaining a valid CO from a local government authority.
- Review all building codes and zoning requirements for your business’ location to ensure your CBD oil business will be in compliance and able to obtain a CO.
STEP 7: Get business insurance
Just as with licenses and permits, your business needs insurance in order to operate safely and lawfully. Business Insurance protects your company’s financial wellbeing in the event of a covered loss.
There are several types of insurance policies created for different types of businesses with different risks. If you’re unsure of the types of risks that your business may face, begin with General Liability Insurance. This is the most common coverage that small businesses need, so it’s a great place to start for your business.
Learn more about General Liability Insurance.
Another notable insurance policy that many businesses need is Workers’ Compensation Insurance. If your business will have employees, it’s a good chance that your state will require you to carry Workers' Compensation Coverage.
STEP 8: Define your brand
Your brand is what your company stands for, as well as how your business is perceived by the public. A strong brand will help your business stand out from competitors.
If you aren't feeling confident about designing your small business logo, then check out our Design Guides for Beginners, we'll give you helpful tips and advice for creating the best unique logo for your business.
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How to promote & market a cbd oil business
CBD oil is popular enough that you’re going to have some stiff competition. Most people are going to be looking for CBD oil online — especially if they’re looking for the more concentrated, medicinal products. Paid online ads, organic blog content, and social media can help attract people to your product. If you’re selling general, lower-intensity sprays, then you can develop relationships with general health stores or even grocery stores to stock your products.
How to keep customers coming back
Customers are going to need to feel relief after taking your products. While research is few and far between, you can do your own analysis of which products are working for different demographics by asking for feedback. This can help you suggest the right product so that there’s less experimentation (and frustration) on the part of your customers.
STEP 9: Create your business website
After defining your brand and creating your logo the next step is to create a website for your business.
While creating a website is an essential step, some may fear that it’s out of their reach because they don’t have any website-building experience. While this may have been a reasonable fear back in 2015, web technology has seen huge advancements in the past few years that makes the lives of small business owners much simpler.
Here are the main reasons why you shouldn’t delay building your website:
- All legitimate businesses have websites - full stop. The size or industry of your business does not matter when it comes to getting your business online.
- Social media accounts like Facebook pages or LinkedIn business profiles are not a replacement for a business website that you own.
- Website builder tools like the GoDaddy Website Builder have made creating a basic website extremely simple. You don’t need to hire a web developer or designer to create a website that you can be proud of.
Using our website building guides, the process will be simple and painless and shouldn’t take you any longer than 2-3 hours to complete.
STEP 10: Set up your business phone system
Getting a phone set up for your business is one of the best ways to help keep your personal life and business life separate and private. That’s not the only benefit; it also helps you make your business more automated, gives your business legitimacy, and makes it easier for potential customers to find and contact you.
There are many services available to entrepreneurs who want to set up a business phone system. We’ve reviewed the top companies and rated them based on price, features, and ease of use.
Recommended: Find the best phone system for your business; check out our review of the Best Business Phone Systems 2021.
Start A CBD Oil Business In Your State
Select your state below for an in-depth guide on completing each of these steps in your home state.
Is this Business Right For You?
This business is great for people who have a genuine interest in how cannabis can be used to bring relief to users. Owners should understand the complexities of the plant and how different strains can help treat certain ailments.
Want to know if you are cut out to be an entrepreneur?
Take our Entrepreneurship Quiz to find out!
What happens during a typical day at a cbd oil business?
It’s rare there will be a 'typical' day in the CBD oil business because this business is so new and there are few established business models. An owner may be doing anything from managing inventory to dealing with new regulations to running lab reports for their product. Owners should also be devoting time on a regular basis to keep up with changing trends in their industry (as they can change extremely quickly.)
What are some skills and experiences that will help you build a successful cbd oil business?
People should have some experience with the cannabis market. Owners should understand the basic public demands as well as the public fears and residual stigma of cannabis. There’s a lot to learn about cannabis due to the variety of the product. Understanding the different terpenes and strains can make it easier for your company to stay ahead.
What is the growth potential for a cbd oil business?
Because of its versatility and rapid rise in popularity, CBD oil is predicted to hit $1 billion by 2020 in the US alone (some say even closer to $2 billion.)
TRUiC's YouTube Channel
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Take the Next Step
Find a business mentor
One of the greatest resources an entrepreneur can have is quality mentorship. As you start planning your business, connect with a free business resource near you to get the help you need.
Having a support network in place to turn to during tough times is a major factor of success for new business owners.
Resources to Help Women in Business
There are many resources out there specifically for women entrepreneurs. We’ve gathered necessary and useful information to help you succeed both professionally and personally:
If you’re a woman looking for some guidance in entrepreneurship, check out this great new series Women in Business created by the women of our partner Startup Savant.
What are some insider tips for jump starting a cbd oil business?
Understanding the industry is going to be key to getting started. CBD oil is a legal gray area — no matter how you manufacture it. You’re far less likely to run into authorities if you extract your CBD from pure hemp instead of marijuana, but cannabis can be confusing to people who have no experience with it. This can lead to being taken off the shelves or being shut down until local authorities figure it out — which could be a while.
Hemp and marijuana are both from the cannabis plant, but they’re used for very different purposes. CBD oil has enough legal implications that there hasn’t been a lot of official research on it. While this appears to be changing now that the FDA has recently approved a CBD oil drug, it’s unclear how quickly widespread acceptance will happen. In states like California and Washington, your pushback is likely to be low. But in states like Indiana and Kansas, you may have a very difficult time meeting the official regulations of the state.
You should also be extremely honest with your customers whenever possible. Because there isn’t a lot of research on CBD oil, it’s impossible to really say that CBD oil can ‘cure’ anything. While the evidence may be extremely compelling, you want to present both sides of the story whenever possible. The good news is that side effects are extremely mild and it's impossible to overdose on CBD oil.
One good way to show people that your business is legitimate from right off the bat is to become Clean Green Certified. This certification is essentially the equivalent of the organic label in grocery stores. You’ll need to go through some rigorous testing in order to pass, but these tests help assure people that they’re getting pure CBD oil and not the synthetic, illegal products that may make them ill.
How and when to build a team
You don’t necessarily need to build a team right away if you’re growing the hemp yourself. However, if you’re partnering with other people, you should consider hiring someone to help you decipher the legal puzzles and marketing strategies of the CBD oil business.