To stay focused and never give up. There are a lot of obstacles, so stay focused and believe in yourself.
Toronto’s Len Wong is a 16-year industry veteran in the areas of genetics research and development of marijuana for medicinal purposes. Len is the master grower and founder of Genetix Consulting, a cannabis consulting firm in Toronto, Ontario, as well as The Grow Depot, which provides superior products best suited for the Canadian cannabis grower. Len’s vast knowledge of organic gardening has guided customers with the product selection the store offers. Over the years, Len Wong has excelled at cultivating high quality, craft-style cannabis.
Where did the idea for your company come from?
I would say it’s a passion, it’s been a part of my upbringing. It wasn’t an idea someone gave me, it’s just been a passion.
What does your typical day look like and how do you make it productive?
I try to be up-to-date with the latest growing technologies that are out there. The process involves a lot of contacting suppliers, manufacturers, and sourcing materials. Each day I wake up and search for ways to better our store, The Grow Depot, and the business.
This involves in particular a lot of research – researching products that I see fit to have in the store and striving to keep up-to-date with the current techniques and new styles of growing – both organic and synthetic.
A lot of new growing technology is being developed right now, so I try to find better products for the store, better ways to save money, and new contacts. This involves phone calls, online research, reading articles, and a range of informational forums.
How do you bring ideas to life?
I do this mostly through following the trends and new products that are on the market. I do research on people using certain products and R&D testing through other companies or through our own R&D testing. We develop products based on need, so, if I see a need for a product, then I’ll bring that to life. There are a lot products that are coming from California and other areas where cannabis has been legal for a lot longer, so I look towards the larger markets in the United States, Holland and other countries that have been working with marijuana at the medical level for a lot longer than we have in Canada.
What’s one trend that excites you?
I would say all of the new genetics – all the new strains for CBD and THC and strains for specific genetics. Having strains for people who don’t want something that gets them too drowsy. The new genetics being made, new technologies in lighting – LED lighting.
What is one habit of yours that makes you more productive as an entrepreneur?
Doing a lot of my own research on cannabis companies. I would say the constant passion of researching online and trying to find answers and new growing techniques. I would say just the passion I have for the industry keeps me constantly researching and comparing products and different styles of growing.
What advice would you give your younger self?
To stay focused and never give up. There are a lot of obstacles, so stay focused and believe in yourself. When I was younger, I worked with different people who didn’t have the same goals or energy that I was putting into projects. I would also say to try to do things on your own without any help. Stay away from partners because they usually don’t work out. Try to be focused on yourself and try not to bring any people involved in what you’re doing unless they’re putting in the same energy as you.
Tell us something that’s true that almost nobody agrees with you on.
I would say that organic and sustainable growing practices are the way of the future and I feel that, later on, when the market begins to turn, the organic approach – doing things organically and not having a big carbon footprint – will catch on. Sustainable practices – using the sun as your main source of lighting – instead of these big indoor facilities that are carbon elephants. I have proven that growing in a greenhouse with sustainable organic methods is by far the most profitable and sustainable approach.
A lot of people argued that growing cannabis indoors was better, that it gives you better quality product, but I have proven that to be wrong with our techniques. Those who are growing inside don’t agree with the whole greenhouse system because they don’t understand it. They’ve been brainwashed to think that growing cannabis inside is better. But the reason people did that was to escape the law. Cannabis is something that should be grown in a greenhouse or outside in order for it to be profitable and economically viable. I think that’s why people have these preconceptions of cannabis grown in a greenhouse as being of a lower quality. That’s not true.
As an entrepreneur, what is the one thing you do over and over and recommend everyone else do?
Research and development. I’m always open to advice and have an open mind. As a grower, you’re always learning. You can never close that book, there’s always a new chapter to read. This is a big part of being successful – to always have an open mind and to always want to be learning because it never ends with this business.
What is one strategy that has helped you grow your business?
Knowing the current trends of the cannabis industry. Being submerged in this industry, you know where the market is going, you know what people are going to want in the future. The trending, all the different things that are happening, such as cannabis oils and CBD, vaporizing. For example, in the future, I don’t think many people will be smoking marijuana. It will probably be vaporized. So, I feel just knowing where the market is going and being a part of that, that helps.
What is one failure you had as an entrepreneur, and how did you overcome it?
Working with the wrong people. Working with people who don’t have the same vision or are putting the same amount of energy towards a project. Working with people who are only in it for the money. That’s where all of my failures happened.
What is one business idea that you’re willing to give away to our readers?
Educate yourself on the demographics of what you are trying to do, the demographics of the area. If you’re trying to open a store in a certain area, you really have to get all of the demographic information of where you are to find out what’s successful.
What is the best $100 you recently spent? What and why?
My Amazon prime membership.
What is one piece of software or a web service that helps you be productive? How do you use it?
Mostly Amazon and Instagram because it enables me to get new products out there faster, as well as see what other companies are doing.
What is the one book that you recommend our community should read and why?
“The Art of War” by Sun Tzu.
What is your favorite quote?
“What goes around comes around.”
- Surround yourself with people who have the same passions as you
- Be independent and responsible for your own success
- Never stop learning. Research and development are essential components of any company.
- Don’t be afraid to go against the norm.
Steve (Stefan) Junge hails from Germany and helps with the day-to-day publishing of interviews on IdeaMensch. While he and Mario don’t share a favorite soccer club, their enthusiasm to help entrepreneurs is a shared passion.