4 Genuine Tips For To Start A Pharmacy
When you want to start your independent community pharmacy, you can always start your retail from scratch or choose to buy a pharmacy.
Starting from scratch has the advantage of being faster and easier in some instances. Like any other business, a pharmacy requires a well-thought-out business plan, consistent marketing, and sound financial and legal advice. Mentors serve as a crucial source of advice, especially if you have just graduated or are from a hospital setting.
So how do you go about starting an independent community pharmacy:
1. Source for Expert Advice:
Getting an attorney is an excellent place to start. Get an attorney who understands the legalities around an independent pharmacy enterprise. Start by setting up your pharmacy's legal status and choosing whether to set up a sole proprietorship, a ‘c' corporation, an ‘s' corporation, a partnership, or a limited liability company. Deciding on the type of enterprise you want affects the operations and finances of your business.
Other experts to source advice from may include:
- An accountant.
- An insurance broker.
- A real estate agent.
- A technology expert.
- A human services expert.
After acquiring a lease or buying a lot on which to build, a pharmacy designer will come in handy to come up with the design you will use to apply for a state license.
2. Come up with a Business Plan:
You should always look to answer the question, What will make potential customers visit your pharmacy? You should know that your potential clients are already being served by a pharmacy somewhere; therefore, you should decide what gives you a competitive edge.
Study your population demographic:
The first thing to look at is if the population is large enough to support your pharmacy. You should also consider the number of prescribers in your place of work. Understanding the demographic will also entail learning the likely ailments most people seek treatment for. As such, you can set realistic goals and stock the correct medicines.
Know your Customer’s Needs:
It is advisable to talk to your community members about services they want and what in the current pharmacies frustrates them (so that you fill in the niche). Consider talking to the prescribers in the area to determine where the prescribers may have challenges or what the prescribers find challenging to acquire for patients.
Assess Your Market Opportunities:
While developing a business plan, understand where your business stands and where you want it to be in three or five years. Assess, for instance, your patient's medical adherence as this determines the future success of your enterprise.
While assessing your market opportunities, marketing plans also come into play. Whereas offering better customer service than the competition will keep customers coming back, it is not a sure way of bringing them in in the first place. You should, therefore, from the onset, plan on how to get customers through your doors.
A business plan is a living document. You should review it often to ensure that you stick to your plans and adjust your plans accordingly as your dynamic market changes.
If you decide to get a pharmacy for sale and acquire it, choose a partner to buy from who can offer legal counsel, proper accounting, and financial systems. There are services out there that allow you to acquire a pharmacy from a willing seller comfortably. Acquiring a pharmacy saves you the hustle of starting from scratch, but you still have to implement a business plan.
3. Pick a great Location:
The success of any retail is tied to the enterprise's location. The factors to look for when considering your location are human traffic, the available opportunities, business visibility, access, and size.
Human traffic is tied to the number of viable clients that will pass through the area of the establishment. Salient factors that determine traffic are the security of your area of establishment and your neighborhood's cleanliness. Opportunities are tied to the medical offices nearby so that you are guaranteed a constant supply of customers. Visibility and access mean that your business is not hindered. Size means that you have room for growth.
4. Always Go Where the Money is:
Consider and include three types of funding:
- Working capital for your daily operations.
- Build-out capital for renovations, buildings, and other assets.
- Opening inventory financing to stock up in your pharmacy.
Wholesalers may provide favorable conditions while stocking up. Understanding the type of financing allows you to know who and where to approach when looking for funding.
The tips mentioned above will help you aptly plan when starting a community pharmacy. Like any other business, a pharmacy may be challenging to run and maintain, and that is why a good start may help you avoid pitfalls that may present later on.