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How to Grow Your Cannabis Network Online

Image Credit: SD6

How are people really making decisions about doing business with others? It’s a lofty question, but one group of tech entrepreneurs are bringing their skillsets to the cannabis world with their networking site SD6 to overhaul the way people are getting information, establishing themselves, and cultivating business alliances.

The problem is that tech-based decision-making tools have been available to companies for decades, but we are seeing it’s not actually how people are making decisions in real life. A Harvard Business Review article explains why current online networking effects are not enough:

“…research shows that these systems rarely build sufficient trust or provide adequate safety on their own. Many online R&R systems suffer from significant biases: People who voluntarily rate a product or service tend to be either very happy or very unhappy with it. This severely undermines the value of the information provided and skews results.”

So, online tools are aiding in the decision making process – but it’s not the final factor. There’s a decision that’s not being addressed. It’s an intangible issue and it’s becoming a larger problem for companies and potential employees as the tech boom continues its upward trajectory.

Jackie Morck is the CEO of SD6, an online networking and information sharing startup, and she’s trying to get at the root of the issue by tailoring an online networking platform to the cannabis industry. “There’s no way to address trust and emotions with the tools out there today and the cannabis industry is the perfect place to launch our platform because everyone’s been operating underground for decades so they haven’t been exposed to the standard business practices that are essentially outdated when it comes to this type of technology.” 

Morck saw a need for another model for online networking, aside from LinkedIn and Klout, that takes into account real character traits in order to enable professionals to get work done faster and with the right people. “Those other communities are unreliable because they try to indicate rapport by measuring influence,” she explained. “LinkedIn recommendations are even unreliable because they are from the best clients.”

Morck and her small, but well-rounded team at SD6 are working to build an online community based on good rapport and accessibility of information. “We are designing embraceable change,” said Sebastian Tory-Pratt, Product Builder at SD6. Their mission is to help innovators succeed among or alongside giants in the industry.

“It’s a great opportunity for us to present our new tools to help cannabis entrepreneurs make the best decisions,” said Morck. Now, SD6 is taking analytics from the technology of their platform to see how people build working relationships.

The startup had their inaugural Q&A to gauge what would make people comfortable to share information and knowledge about their area of expertise. From hiring the best to buying the products that resonate with a business’ customers, SD6 believes it all stems from people knowing their core values. “With many companies, it’s all about reputation which is the end goal, however they should be focusing on rapport,” said Matt Carhartt, Reputation Builder for SD6.

“We are helping facilitate the building of rapport between members, finding that commonality,” explained Morck.

Cannabis as a case study

A U.S. Congressman just introduced a pro-pot bill to deschedule marijuana at the federal level, more than half of the United States have legalized cannabis in some capacity, and our neighbors to the north, Canada, are already planning their rollout of national legalization – let’s face it, the cannabis market is rapidly growing and the immature industry is crying out for leaders to come in and guide the green rush in the right direction.

“Often times startups come into new markets and their new-age sales and messaging accidentally offends potential business customers by insinuating they don’t know how to do their jobs,” said Morck.  It’s a Catch-22 because as a business owner you don’t want to admit your company isn’t perfect, yet if you don’t adopt new tools you’re going to fall behind.

The cannabis market is distinctly unique from other business sectors, like healthcare, for which SD6 already launched a similar version of this platform. The new era of cannabis legalization is blossoming in this digital age and SD6 is capturing how customers and businesses can identify the best professionals to work with and identify new products and services to use.

Building good rapport

The goal is for professionals to run better businesses, enhance sustainability, generate more profits, and feel better about their job, every day. According to SD6, building rapport is the foundation to business success.

Rapport definition: “a close and harmonious relationship in which the people or groups concerned understand each other’s feelings or ideas and communicate well.”

With rapport, people feel safer embracing new ways to do things and the SD6 team is using analytics from user comments and participation on the site to see what that intangible thing – the thing that makes someone want to work with someone else is, aka that gut feeling – is that they are trying to quantify.

Currently, SD6 network offers:

  • Relationship building
  • AMA’s with cannabis professionals
  • In-person introductions in a fast-growing industry
  • Building your reputation
  • Meeting the new players
  • Trustworthy information and people
  • Become discoverable in the industry

Quantifying the intangible

“We are on the right path to have people feel like they are authentically represented online,” said Morck. The team at SD6 believes there’s a need to address trust how to build rapport online. They want to lower the barriers between professionals and speed up the networking process.

“We are putting the humanity back into professional’s and companies’ decision making,” added Tory-Pratt. Using organic ways to review companies and products, such as sentiment analysis on tags for products and contexts of a discussion, ensures SD6 isn’t amplifying knee-jerk reactions from peers who are not trustworthy. Instead they are building a searchable, documented database from which professionals can access the right knowledge to do their jobs.

“We are taking inventory on what’s working in the cannabis sector, but our mission is universal,” said Tory-Pratt. “We are focusing on cannabis but our intent is to take this across industries.”

“It drills down to finding that commonality,” said Morck, “we are pushing the boundaries of ethical business.”