Building‌ ‌A ‌First‌-To‌-Market‌ ‌Business‌ ‌with‌ ‌Marcello‌ ‌Leone,‌ ‌Bevcanna‌ ‌

Building‌ ‌A ‌First‌-To‌-Market‌ ‌Business‌ ‌with‌ ‌Marcello‌ ‌Leone,‌ ‌Bevcanna‌ ‌

July 28, 2021

Marcello Leone, CEO of Bevcanna, joins A.J. to discuss his experience of running a company with a first-to-market product: cannabis beverages. They converse about several topics, including what it is like to run a heavily regulated business, whether or not you should be open to selling your company, and how to align your personal goals with your business goals.

Tune in to learn about the challenges of running a company with a first-to-market product. 

About Marcello Leone: 

Marcello Leone is the CEO of Bevcanna, a cannabis beverage company that is heavily involved in the health and wellness space.  Bevcanna provides whitelabel cannabis drinks to other businesses. Bevcanna is a publicly registered company. Previously, Marcello was CEO of RYU apparel.

Advantages of being a first-to-market business

Being the first-to-market can be a game changer in today’s fast-paced and competitive business world. Businesses can gain a competitive edge by offering a new product or service ahead of competitors.

Here are the several advantages of being a first-to-market business:

  1. Competitive Advantage: Being the first to introduce a new product or service provides a major competitive advantage. It enables the company to build a strong market presence and brand recognition before competitors enter the market.
  2. Market Leader: Being the first in a specific market segment establishes the business as a market leader. It enables the company to establish industry standards, define customer preferences, and shape market trends.
  3. Pricing Power: Because the business is the first to enter a market, it has the advantage of determining the initial price. This pricing power enables the business to reap bigger profit margins, especially if customers have few choices. Pricing may become more competitive as competition grows, but the early advantage might still provide a basis for profitability.
  4. Customer Loyalty: Customers are more likely to establish brand loyalty and become long-term customers when they’ve had a positive experience with a new product or service. This early loyalty might be difficult to overcome by competitors, resulting in a sustainable customer base.
  5. Investor Interest: Investors are often drawn to first-to-market businesses due to the potential for high profitability and rapid growth. They are likely to secure funding or attract strategic partnerships.

It’s important to note that being first-to-market has its drawbacks, such as the need for extensive research and development, market education, and the risk of untested concepts. However, when implemented well, the benefits of being the first to market can contribute to long-term success and market dominance.

On today’s episode: 

  • Who is Marcello Leone?-  00:39
  • How Marcello became an unconventional cannabis entrepreneur. – 02:57
  • The journey of innovating a completely new category of drinks (being first to market) – 06:17
  • The toughest part of being first to market and going into uncharted territories. – 10:46
  • Planning international expansion when you are first to market.  – 14:19 
  • Why compliance is a full time in the cannabis industry. – 16:27
  • How attached should you be to your business and should you be open to sell?  – 19:12
  • Should you pay yourself as an entrepreneur? – 25:16
  • 2 key things Marcello has learnt by being an entrepreneur. – 26:38 
  • Does Marcello want to be an angel investor? – 29:08 
  • What legacy does Marcello Leone want to leave behind? – 30:19 
  • Lesson #1: Leveraging your past. – 33:52 
  • Lesson #2: Build a moat. – 36:27 
  • Lesson #3: Your goals vs. your business goals. – 40:08 

Key Takeaways: 

  • Building the foundation of your business pre-revenue is the most challenging part of creating a first to market product. 
  • It is a great business opportunity that U.S. legalization of cannabis is not complete yet. You can be early in a new space and position yourself very well in the market.
  • The job of ensuring compliance is integral to the structure and successful operation of businesses in the cannabis industry. You cannot successfully run a cannabis business in the current environment without a sharp focus on ensuring compliance. 
  • Being open to all opportunities including not being too attached to your business and being open to sell allows you to consider what’s best for you more fully and therefore avoid missing out on lucrative opportunities. 
  • Not being willing to risk everything in itself is the first risk. 

Will it work out? 

[11:26] “Crazy entrepreneurs that we are, saw the opportunity, believed in it, didn’t necessarily know how it was going to work out, leveraged everything that I owned, borrowed from my family members, raised capital, and went all in into this new category where we are today. You never know, especially when you are charting uncharted territory” 

What was the toughest challenge for you when you were first building your business? Tell us in the comments, and don’t forget to say hello if you would like to share your entrepreneurship story on our podcast. 

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