Writing Your Cannabis Pitch Deck

Creating a cannabis business plan

Cannabis pitch decks, cannabis business plans – whatever you call them, they’re one of the most vital documents you can create for your cannabis company.

Your pitch deck could be what earns you the investments you need to get yourself off the ground and running.  Yes, your deck is going to show how your business will be structured, but perhaps more important is the why.

Think about it like this: the U.S. cannabis industry is projected to grow to $40 billion by 2025.  While that figure is impressive, not everyone can simply jump into the market and start making money.

Federal law still prohibits cannabis as a Schedule I drug, and that means the laws and regulations around advertising and shipping cannabis remain complex.

For that reason, the cannabis industry is extremely competitive, and not every start-up is going to make it.

The entrepreneurs with the right kinds of cannabis pitch decks, however, could end up winning investors to their corner.

In this post, Heady will explain how cannabis business plans work, why they’re important, and how you can create your own.

What Is a Cannabis Business Plan?

Let’s start with the basics.

Your cannabis business plan is what contains all of the nuance and detail behind what you’ll present in your pitch deck.

Business plans should be designed to contain all the information someone would need to understand your business from the inside out.

Your plan should show the following:

  • what your business will do
  • how it will be structured
  • what societal problems it will solve
  • how it will make money
  • what staff you will employ
  • who your target audience is
  • who your competition is
  • how you plan to market yourself and grow
  • how you intend to hit financial goals, and by when

Creating a cannabis pitch deck

Why a Cannabis Pitch Deck Is Essential to Your Success

The next important question is this: what is a business plan or pitch deck used for?

As in any other industry, a cannabis pitch deck serves two purposes: it keeps you on track by describing what your business intends to do in the long term to generate revenue and become successful.  Your pitch deck will also inform and inspire investors or lenders as to whether they are making a good decision by giving you capital.

Lenders and investors want to ensure they are giving their money to a venture that has a high likelihood of becoming profitable.

Your cannabis pitch deck is a huge part of that.  It lays out your business plans, albeit at a high level, to show financial institutions that you’ve actually thought this through.  You didn’t just cook up the idea of a cannabis business overnight; you’ve considered every challenge and possibility and worked your way through them to arrive at a viable business plan.

In addition to detailing the structure and operations of your business, your plan should also persuade investors and lenders to buy into your vision.

This is your first major opportunity at branding.

Show why your target audience needs you.

Show what makes you different among your competitors.

You started this business because you had a dream of what your hard work could accomplish for people.

Sell that dream in your business plan.

Cannabis Pitch Deck: The Only Ten Slides You Need

When it comes to your actual cannabis business plan writing, you may need some direction if you’ve never done it before.

The marketing expert Guy Kawasaki has laid out guidelines for how to structure a pitch deck.  It’s essentially his way of simplifying things while keeping the deck’s audience engaged, and we at Heady completely subscribe to it.

Kawasaki advocates the 10/20/30 rule, which states that a slide deck should:

  • Feature 10 slides.  That’s because 10 keeps things concise and interesting.
  • Last 20 minutes.  This ensures the proceedings stay brief and allow for discussion afterward.
  • Contain 30-point font.  Larger font showcases only the big ideas, while you provide details on your own.

Parts of a Cannabis Business Plan

Whether you’re preparing to write a cultivator or dispensary business plan, we thought we’d lay out the components that should appear in every cannabis pitch deck.

Executive Summary

Executive summaries achieve the same purpose across any formal documentation: to gather all the information that follows and distill it down to the essentials.

In this case, your executive summary will round up the most pertinent information from your slide deck and present it as an introduction.  This section will describe your business, its purpose, its objectives, its target market, and its marketing and financial plans.

Your executive summary should be a clear synopsis of what lies ahead in the deck so that, if they wanted to, investors or lenders could understand what your business is about and make a decision without going any further.

Problem and Solution

Your problem and solution slides may be separate or together, but the point here is to show the issue that your business wants to tackle by becoming an entity.

For example, maybe the problem you want to solve with a brick-and-mortar cannabis dispensary is that there isn’t another dispensary for 30 miles, and that one has an inconsistent inventory.

Your business will present the solution to this problem by establishing itself in this specific community to serve local residents with an inventory that you will keep stocked using this specific supply chain.

That’s the problem and the solution altogether.

Target Market

You can call this section the “Target Market” or even “Market Size” section, but the point is to discuss the state of things in the market you’re looking to enter.

For example, what is the size of the cannabis-product market in your region, and how much of that market can you reasonably expect to take for yourself once in business?  Are there any current market conditions that could put you at an advantage or disadvantage?

Lastly, who is your perfect customer, your target audience?  Do enough of them live within driving distance of your store?

These are all questions you will need to answer to present the market section of your cannabis business plan.

A team collaborating in a meeting


It’s a good idea to discuss competitors soon after your market section, because these areas are related.

You have your target customer, but will you lose them to your competitors?

Investors want to see that you’re fully aware of your competition, because the whole point of this section is showing how you do things differently and better than they do.

That’s the whole reason why they would invest in you.  If you can’t name any competitors or say why customers should come to you instead of them, then you may be setting up your pitch deck for failure.


You may discuss your proposed business’s identity and values in other sections of your deck, but having a separate section for branding isn’t a bad idea, either.

It’s in this section that you will set yourself apart from everyone else who’s doing the same thing you want to do.

Why should investors give money to you?  Do you have a philosophy they can believe in?  A revolutionary approach that could be a game-changer in the industry?  An overall attitude that will make customers gravitate toward you?

This is the section to express what your brand is and why people should invest in it.


Another vital part of your pitch deck will be your marketing plan, or how you will get word to the public that you exist and are offering cannabis services.

When designing your marketing, it pays to analyze what your competitors are doing to see what appears to work for them and what you might be able to do better.

Your marketing strategy should be designed for you specifically, rather than “what everyone else is doing.”  Focus on determining one or two “go-to” strategies that can be relied on every month for driving customer acquisition & growth with an acceptable return on investment (ROI).

Consider experimenting with traditional approaches to marketing such as print ads and billboards as well as growing digital methods such as programmatic advertising and SEO.  

No matter what your business looks like, make sure you have a sophisticated CRM, messaging, and first-party data strategy.  Whether your business is B2C or B2B, it’s a no-brainer to keep your fans engaged, and to learn as much as possible about what motivates them to act.


The financial section of your pitch deck should be of special interest to lenders or investors because this is where you will detail how your company will spend money.

Only you will know how much of an investment or how large of a loan you need, so be prepared to account for all of it in your financial plan.

Like the business plan as a whole, though, this is as much an explanation for investors as it is a way for you to keep yourself on track.  Knowing where you’ll be distributing money will help you when the time comes that you do get investments.

In the financial section, you’ll detail areas such as sales and revenue projections, expenses, liabilities, your break-even point, and exit strategies for investors (how they can liquidate their positions in the company to make a profit and move on).

The financial area of your cannabis business plan should instill investors and lenders with confidence that you know what you’re doing and can be reasonably expected to follow through on your strategies.

Factor Heady into Your Cannabis Pitch Deck Plans

When it comes to your cannabis business plan writing, you have to be ready to translate your dream, your vision, into 10 slides of solid information that can stand up to the muster of lenders and investors.

When you’re pitching your business, having a team that can check multiple boxes for you (Websites, SEO, CRM, Paid Media, etc.) can be a big advantage.  At Heady, we’re experts at digital strategy for cannabis companies.  Our process always involves learning who you are first and then designing marketing approaches that fit your identity.

Give us a call to see how a well-designed digital marketing & brand-building plan can enhance your pitch!

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