What You Need to Know Before You Open a Pharmacy
The pharmacy industry is a complex one. Likewise, opening a pharmacy can be complicated. In order to succeed, you need to be a master of both medicine and commerce.
This is a guest post blog from our friends at PioneerRx.
There isn’t a clear roadmap to go from pharmacist to pharmacy owner, but there are several things you should think about in order to make the transition smoother.
Here are 5 things to consider before you open a pharmacy.
1. Are You Start Fresh or Taking Over?
Before you get started, you should consider the kind of pharmacy you’re interested in opening. Are you set on starting a new pharmacy, or are you taking over the reins to an established pillar in your community?
If you’re starting from scratch, you have the opportunity to run a pharmacy tailored to your unique wants, needs, and goals.
You get to put your unique spin on patient care, making your pharmacy a force to be reckoned with.
However, with that freedom comes a hefty amount of responsibility, particularly in the financial realm (more on that later).
The playing field is a little different if you’re taking over ownership from an established pharmacy.
An established pharmacy has its own way of doing things. Patients go to that particular pharmacy for a reason, so you should be cautious not to shake things up from the get-go. Learn how the pharmacy operates and what makes it successful.
From there, you can strengthen what makes your pharmacy great and tend to what needs improvement. If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. Too much change in a short period of time can alienate your customer base.
2. How Will You Fund Your Pharmacy?
When you open a pharmacy, you open a business. Though the goal of your pharmacy should be to provide exceptional customer service, you also want to draw a profit.
In general, opening a pharmacy can cost $400,000 to $600,000-so it’s important you consider how you’ll make payments while still staying profitable.
Hire a financial advisor or accountant to help get a solid understanding of what your pharmacy needs financially.
Create a business plan for your pharmacy. A business plan is the first and most crucial step in the investment process. It will persuade potential investors to take a risk with your pharmacy.
You can’t open a pharmacy without investors, so your business plan should be a concise, action-oriented statement about your pharmacy and why they should back it.
Read DiversifyRx’s Business Plans For Pharmacies article for more information on how to craft an exceptional business plan.
3. Where Will Your Pharmacy Be Located?
If you’re starting your pharmacy from scratch, location is another important point of consideration. Your location will shape several major aspects of your pharmacy business, so make sure you take your time choosing one.
Check if there are other pharmacies around your area. How close are you to the nearest hospital or urgent care? Will you be in your own building or in the middle of other unrelated businesses?
If you want your pharmacy to be more customer-centric and transaction-focused, being near an urgent care or hospital may be the way to go.
If it’s in your control, pick a location that will stand out to drivers or other passerby. A hidden hole-in-the-wall pharmacy may sound charming, but it likely won’t do much for your bottom line.
To be a pillar in the community, open a pharmacy that’s in the right place and provides the right services.
For more on what to look for your pharmacy’s location, visit PioneerRx’s blog, How to Choose a Pharmacy Location.
4. What’s Your Demographic?
To run a successful, profitable pharmacy, you need to know who your customers are. What kind of community will you be serving?
Different age groups require different medications. Older patients, for example, usually require more maintenance medications and medical devices. If your demographic is mainly emergency room or urgent care patients, order the ER favorites: amoxicillin, ibuprofen, ondansetron, and tramadol – or some variation of the four.
Tailor your pharmacy’s inventory and services to those around you, including front-end offerings.
One of the greatest appeals for independent pharmacies is how they can reflect the area it serves. Use that to your advantage and provide specialized care that your community will need and appreciate.
5. What Services Will Your Provide?
Now that you know who your community consists of, it’s time to look beyond prescriptions and consider how you can serve in other ways.
Whether it’s offering a wide variety vaccinations or specialized health screenings, your pharmacy will attract more customers if you provide more services.
If you have an elderly customer base, provide health screening such as cholesterol and A1C checks for blood sugar. Stock up on that Shingrix vaccine for the same demographic.
The more services you provide, the better. The more you tailor to your demographic, the more appealing your pharmacy will become.
Get Ready to Start Your Ownership Journey
Opening a pharmacy requires a high level of foresight and ambition.
The road to success- and profit- is a long and twisty one. Remember that the journey is the reward: learn about your community, listen to your customers, and proceed accordingly.
Whether you plan to start a pharmacy from scratch or take ownership of an established business, have a clear plan of action. Different pharmacies have different metrics for success.
That’s the thrill of opening a pharmacy. Now it’s time to bet on yourself and create a healthcare destination made by your community, for your community.
For even more information on how to open a pharmacy – anything from the legal requirements to marketing advice – visit the How to Open a Pharmacy page on the PioneerRx website.