Interview from Exeleon Magazine
The statistics aren’t that great when it comes to comparing the number of businesses that saw the day of light and those that faded into the emptiness of dark nights. However, your business has a higher chance of surviving if you have a sound business background coupled with your courage of leading it from the front and making changes to it as per the evolving market. The entrepreneurial journey of Raj Grover, CEO of High Tide, exhibits just that.
Beginning from a small store with only two employees a decade ago, Raj Grover has multiplied the growth of his company to become one of Canada’s largest cannabis retailers. Today, his business stands tall with over 1,000 team members with business verticals spanning across North America and Europe.
Let’s see how Raj climbed the consecutive steps of the ladder of success in this inspiring story.
Strong Family Roots
Hailing originally from India, Raj got early exposure to his father’s import and export business. His father built the business from scratch and used to export Southeast Asian food products to North America and Europe. The many summers that he spent with his father’s business instilled the primary fundamentals in him on how to grow a business. His mother, on the other hand, also came as an important formative influence and taught him to never give up and supported his competitive spirit in school and sports.
The family business spirit soon caught up with Raj where he saw himself moving to Ontario when he was 20 years old. He opened his first business there and commenced importing merchandise from countries like India, China, and Indonesia. Alongside, Raj ventured out to establish a restaurant, a convenience store and invest in real estate. Soon, the time came when Raj had to move on and sell these ventures, moving to Alberta. But it would not be long before he founded Smoker’s Corner, the precursor to High Tide.
Climbing the Ladder
Moving out to Alberta, Raj opened his first retail store, Smoker’s Corner in the year 2009. It was an investment of $48,000 within a 500 square feet area accompanied by two employees. The store carried a range of consumption accessories including water pipes, vaporizers, and more. With sound fundamentals in his business notebook, the store was destined to be successful and ended up organically expanding to 19 locations. However, Raj saw another branch coming out of the setup that could potentially lead up to building an ecosystem.
In 2011, Raj capitalized on the equation and expanded by founding RGR Canada, known as Valiant Distribution today, as a wholesale distributor. He envisioned another branch coming out and expanding by co-founding Famous Brandz in 2016 working with celebrities and studios to produce and distribute licensed consumption accessories.
And when the legalization came through in Canada, Raj expanded his vision even more and converted Smoker’s Corner into a main bricks-and-mortar retail cannabis brand, Canna Cabana. Afterward, he brought Canna Cabana, Valiant Distribution, and Famous Brandz together under the High Tide Umbrella.
Seizing the Opportunities
In the good books of Raj, a dynamic leader empowers his team and urges the team members to always win. The same leader is not afraid to take calculated risks and capitalize on opportunities. Additionally, a dynamic leader must understand all the aspects of the verticals in the ecosystem and make decisions that are aligned with the future goals of the business.
Likewise, as the CEO of High Tide, Raj Grover plays a key role in growing all the different segments of his business. He is a business strategist who has mastered the ability to grow a company through Mergers and Acquisitions. This is something that he is at the forefront, and what he does on a daily basis. He is also seen playing a crucial role in upholding the company culture, maintaining a positive motivational, and supportive culture internally for continuous growth and success.
And when it comes to his business, he understands that the team working behind High Tide is nothing without its customers. He says, “Ensuring that we achieve and maintain optimal client satisfaction is a key focus of mine. We do whatever it takes to ensure customer satisfaction and try to deliver an incredible experience for our customers across our platforms.”
Moreover, Raj always stands on his toes while delivering the best of services. He welcomes all kinds of responses from his customers suggesting to implement changes based on the received feedback.
Spilling the Secrets
Raj has had an incredible entrepreneurial journey. He is among the fortunate ones who have defied the odds of leading a business that survived the first two years in the industry. Although he tasted the sweet nature of success early in his life, he jumped into the unknown public markets with High Tide with no prior experience. His knowledge about handling a business and his courage to innovate have helped him grow his business in the emerging cannabis market globally.
This is the same advice that Raj disseminates to aspiring entrepreneurs and leaders. He also advises to be proactive and uses the phrase ‘a stitch in time saves nine, so take action’ to teach the underlying chain reactions that can lead to a ripple effect. “If you are passionate about what you do and you identify opportunities in your field, capitalize on them by taking the plunge and leading from the front, and this is how you can find success,” remarks Raj.
Raj also touches upon the truth that every leader experiences in their entrepreneurial journey. He says, “Any journey is bound to have roadblocks, but the leaders who shine at the end of the day are those who can turn roadblocks into stepping stones, seeing the challenges as an integral part of the entrepreneurial journey and experience.”
As such, his biggest learning in the business world has been to be nimble and adapt to different life and business circumstances as they arrive. The learning has especially been awakening for Raj while working in the cannabis industry. “As everything can change day-by-day and if you are not nimble, it becomes much more difficult to succeed.”
Future High Tides
Another important lesson to learn from Raj’s successful professional journey is not to dwell on the past and keep taking on forward steps. He cites having no regret or anything negative he has experienced in life. He sees his past as his teachers and everything he has gone through as a life lesson. Additionally, he takes notes from those lessons to shape his journey going forward.
As such, Raj Grover has kept his keen eyes on moving forward with his personal as well as professional life. He is also fully invested in High Tide, which makes his and his business’s future intertwined.
Citing the future to be exciting, Raj perceives High Tide to grow at an impressive pace even outside of Canada with respect to the global cannabis business opportunities. “We are making strategic moves domestically and internationally to make High Tide a global cannabis retail powerhouse as we grow across the cannabis ecosystem. We are in it to win it,” concludes Raj.