Take It from the MSOs: How the World’s 4 Largest Cannabis Firms Got That Way, and What You Can Learn from It

Canna-business is big money in the North American continent right now. The New York legalization is now likely to add a tremendous amount of momentum to this already burgeoning industry. While a lot of cannabis space is now marked by big names like Curaleaf, MedMen, Cresco Labs, and others, there is plenty of space for start-ups here. Let us see how small cannabis business start-ups can join the league of Big Giants.

The most important tips where start-ups can take a head-on and compete with big business are:

Customer-Centric Technological Solutions

Technology can assist today’s organizations in succeeding and saving money, regardless of their size.

Small businesses benefit the most from technological solutions because they frequently have the same goals and tasks as larger enterprises but on a smaller scale. As a result, entrepreneurs should combine cutting-edge technologies and strategies to improve the effectiveness and efficiency of their processes.

Alliances & Partnerships

A good partnership in business or otherwise will never let you down. As a small cannabis business you can choose to join hands with the top players and rule the market with them.

Licensing & Compliance

If you have a licensed business, make sure you have all required permits in place. However, if you have an ancillary business, you don’t need any licenses.

Financial Planning & Investment

The most common and probably the biggest obstacles for start-ups wanting to enter the marijuana business are likely to be funding and investment.

Some have a tendency to look at the success of other marijuana cultivators, dispensaries, and service providers as a motivation to put their money into this business. At times they may not be well-funded enough to acquire the early traction needed, to support mid and long-term growth.

The key is to conduct thorough, in-depth research into the target market, accounting for all costs associated with getting operational space, hiring staff, and distributing or wholesaling products. At the absolute least, industry professionals who are familiar with the present landscape should be consulted before making investment and financing decisions. You can also try finding a good consulting business that has already done the groundwork to assist you, can be another option.

Taxation & Hidden Costs

Lack of preparedness against taxes and hidden costs is a big reason why cannabis start-ups have failed to take their cannabis businesses to new heights.

As a result, it is critical to have a clear grasp of where and how to invest money in any process in order to achieve better results.

Innovative Approach & Avenues

There are several innovative avenues that can boost your cannabis business. You can start by participating in events to promote your business and get an insight into what other businesses are doing right. It will also help you to collaborate with new businesses and meet the who’s who of the cannabis world and provide you with the push your company requires.

You can check out events like the Cannacon Midwest and Northeast, MJBizCon Las Vegas, and the NCIA National Business Summit to name a few.

You can also be a part of festivals such as Northern Nights which is a huge hit among viewers and visitors where you will get to promote your products and concepts.

Roadmap & Future Plans

It is always a good idea to chart a future roadmap that includes plantations, R&D facilities, digital presence, spreading awareness of the medicinal properties of cannabis, and distribution to challenge and compete with the existing cannabis giants.

However, the stiff competition demands you have your game on point at all times. The best way to do this is to learn from businesses that have already been through the struggles of being a new cannabis venture. In this blog, we will look at some big canna-businesses, how they got to their top position and what we can extract for their story:

The Success Stories of The Four Big Cannabis Businesses


Curaleaf is America’s top cannabis company, thanks to its aggressive acquiring business strategy. According to Business Insider, it is now all set to become the world’s largest cannabis company by revenue. Curaleaf currently has $875 million revenue from the cash and stock purchase of privately held rival GR Companies.

Curaleaf’s vertically integrated business model and aggressive acquisition strategy make it well-positioned to prosper in the fast-growing legal cannabis sector in the United States.

Here are 3 reasons why Curaleaf is America’s most successful cannabis company

  • Product Innovation
  • 360-degree Customer-Centric IT Infrastructure
  • Rapid but Strategic Expansion

Curaleaf employs its considerable research and development capabilities to deliver cannabis products in a variety of formats that meet the highest safety, effectiveness, consistent quality, and customer service standards. It is dedicated to serving as the cannabis industry’s primary source of education, advancement, and activism. In fact, its Florida division was the first in the industry to receive the Safe Quality Food certification under the Global Food Safety Initiative, setting a new standard of excellence.

The key to Curaleaf’s success is its forward-thinking, strategic partnerships and aggressive acquisition plans. Smaller companies and aspiring cannabis entrepreneurs can adopt this strategy by getting in early on the cannabis processed products market. Start-ups can also take advantage of independent dispensary networks by forming strategic partnerships to rapidly grow their business network. 

Cresco Labs

Cresco Labs, native to Illinois, is another big name in US canna-business. Their two-fold approach of Organic and Acquisition growth is proving highly rewarding. The company stands to perform very prodigiously in the US market.

Here are 4 reasons why Cresco Labs is a successful cannabis company:

  • Growth-oriented
  • State expansion centric strategy
  • Wide range of innovative products
  • Consistent in revenue generation

Cresco’s excellent speed-to-market gives it a significant competitive edge as it replicates its model across the country. Cresco’s track record of success is supported by a cutting-edge brand strategy directed by a team of smart and able officials.

Cresco’s products cater to all major consumer sectors, including everyday cannabis, medicinally focused cannabis, connoisseur grade cannabis, and top-class edibles, all of which are created by an award-winning team. The key takeaways from Cresco’s business strategy involve product saturation and strategic collaboration with other companies. Talent acquisition and strategic expansions are another key Cresco business pattern. Start-ups should look to collaborate if not merge with other smaller companies or individual operators. For smaller cannabis businesses, negotiating market dynamics with effective internal SOPs will help them to get a better foothold in the market and consolidate their work process to increase operational efficiency.


Trulieve has an ideal business model for start-ups who are looking to make it big in the rapidly growing US cannabis market. The company has always pitched itself as a grassroots cannabis business with a focus on delivering healing and wellness products to clients. Despite its relatively modest market approach, the company has presented a stellar performance. Here are 3 reasons why Trulieve Labs is a successful cannabis company:

  • Highly efficient IT management
  • Geo-targeted market saturation
  • Extensive product catalog

The key takeaways from Trulieve’s rise as a cannabiz are operational efficiency, modest but forward-looking acquisitions, and customer-centric product catalog development. These factors are common among all entry-level cannabis businesses and can help them capitalize on the growing market. Trulieve displays a high-proficiency SOP which has allowed it to surpass the 2020 slowdown and maintain a positive outlook. Start-ups who are looking to emulate their success would do well to adopt these enterprise traits into their own.    


Verano is another major name in the US cannabis market. The company has a presence in 12 states at the moment and is moving towards doubling its 14 retail locations and 6 cultivation centers by 2021 end.

Here are 3 reasons why Verano Labs is a successful cannabis company:

  • Highly efficient operations
  • Smart mergers
  • Collaborative competition approach

One of the biggest reasons why Verano is a very interesting company is because of its large private capital structure. The company last raised capital publicly in 2018 and has only recently opened itself up to the public. Since it has maintained strict control over its finances, Verano’s stock valuation is soaring high right now. This makes it a very good example for start-ups who are looking to maintain private equity and ownership as much as possible. 

Verano’s market strategy is largely based on collaborative competition. So, it cultivates a very specific niche of clients that will be loyal to its products. The company’s overall product quality, retail experience, and unique client service have set it apart from the competition. This is definitely worth emulating for new cannabiz entrepreneurs especially those who want to work with limited capital or serve a limited market. 

The key takeaways from Verano’s business process are its efficient company and custom client management, with strong-performing market products. Start-ups can take lessons from Verano’s approach of maintaining private equity and smart market pitching to increase the company’s share. 

Your Path To Success in The Cannabis Business

Running a cannabis business is like doing any other business but with added risk. Nevertheless, the cannabis market is growing very fast and there is space for all kinds of businesses directly selling cannabis as well as all related paraphernalia. All it takes is the right strategy and working process to work the market and turn a scalable profit. These four companies are a great example of how a cannabiz can turn into a huge value offering despite an uncertain status. As the market grows and more states open up to cannabis, there will be more opportunities, and this is definitely going to generate a lot of competition. If you want to be an entrepreneur in cannabis, taking lessons from these businesses is one of the best ways to grow your own business acumen.

Related Articles