Ever wondered how to start your own pharmacy business? If you have a pharmaceutical background or are simply passionate about the health and wellness of the public, you might want to give it some thought…
Starting your own pharmacy franchise can be a rewarding venture that gives you the independence of being your own boss while working in a sector that plays an active role in helping others. But be warned; it’s not the easiest route to business ownership. You need to be prepared to work hard and possess the drive and determination to succeed in today’s competitive marketplace. In this article we look at how you can start your own pharmacy business and why it makes smart business sense in the first place.
Reasons why starting a pharmacy business is a good idea
1. It’s a very lucrative industry
The pharmaceutical industry is big business. There are approximately 73,000 people directly employed in the industry in the UK (Science Solutions). According to experts, it’s set to continue to thrive for years to come. Protel has tracked 207 active pharmaceutical projects, the combined potential investment value of which exceeds £4.8 billion.
2. It’s rewarding
Whenever someone in your local area is unwell or needs some medication you will be their first port of call. If helping people and being a key part of society is important to you then starting a pharmacy business could give you a great feeling of satisfaction.
3. Good job security
Pharmacy businesses are somewhat recession resilient. This is because as long as people get sick and need medication to get better the demand for pharmacists will be there.
Top tips for starting a pharmacy business
Owning your own pharmacy business takes a lot of hard work and compared to other business ventures, it certainly isn’t the most straightforward one. To help make things as simple as possible, we’ve compiled our top tips for starting a business in this sector.
1. Make sure you’re right for the job
Similar to businesses in other industries, in order for your pharmacy franchise to become profitable, you need to be hard working and dedicated to its success. But in the pharmaceutical industry in particular, it’s important to be passionate about providing the best possible care to your patients.
It’s also essential that you can be courageous and tackle challenges head-on in difficult times. There will be periods when your pharmacy business is doing better and times when it’s doing worse, but even during the latter you have a responsibility of care for your patients and can’t let it impact your quality of service.
You need to be able to take responsibility and be held accountable for the business. Not only are you responsible for your own day-to-day activities, but also the entire business.
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2. Do your research
It’s vital that you conduct thorough research into what’s involved in running a pharmacy business before you invest in one. The General Pharmaceutical Council’s website is a great place to start. It’s the regulator of pharmacies across the UK, so you can use it to find out about all the rules and regulations that need to be adhered to.
3. Spend time in an existing pharmacy business
It’s also a good idea to visit an established pharmacy business. You may think that you fully understand how it is run day-to-day, but in reality, it may differ drastically from what you expected. When you’re there, you can ask the owner any questions that you have to further enhance your knowledge of the role and make sure you’re the right fit.
4. Decide whether you want to franchise or go independent
It can be daunting when you’re just starting a pharmacy business. With so many regulations and laws to follow, it can sometimes feel like you’ll never get your business off the ground. This is why investing in an existing pharmacy franchise could be the perfect solution.
Being part of an experienced pharmacy franchise with a proven track record of success can be very reassuring. The franchisor will be fully aware of what regulations are required and will have developed a franchise system that has been tried and tested and is easy to follow.
If, however, you’d prefer to do have complete control over the business, a franchise perhaps isn’t the right option for you. The success of a pharmacy franchise depends on the franchisee following the rules of the franchisor. If you have a strong entrepreneurial spirit, then you may be better off taking the independent start-up route – in which case, remember to follow our five top tips.
Both paths to becoming your own boss have their pros and cons, so make sure you fully understand each option before making a final decision. To find out more about the advantages of franchising, click here.
5. Write a detailed business plan
When you’ve completed your due diligence, it’s time to write your business plan. A business plan is an essential document, not just to help guide the direction of your pharmacy, but also to secure funding for your new business.
You’ll need to consider everything from the launch of your new venture, to how it will operate, to how it will continue to grow in the future. Take time to understand who your competitors are and how your business will deal with external challenges. It’s this awareness that will allow you to prepare better to run an effective and profitable pharmacy.
Next, on to the financial forecast element of your business plan. This will be the main focus of the document and can help you to identify how your pharmacy will perform. Your plan will contain financial projections that include profit and loss, a balance sheet and cash flow.
You’ll need to share your business plan with your lender when you’re seeking funding to get your pharmacy business up and running. It’s important to remember that your business plan is a living document and should be updated regularly. This way, if you need to obtain finance at a later date to grow your business, you’ll have all the necessary documentation ready.
>> Read more:
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- Franchising 101: The Official Franchise Start Up Checklist (Part 2)
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6. Abide by the regulations
Like most healthcare businesses, people’s health and wellbeing are going to be directly affected by the decisions you make as a business owner. Regulatory bodies are there to protect the public and ensure healthcare businesses comply with regulations.
When starting a pharmacy business, you’ll need to make an application for a new NHS dispensing contract to the NHS trust you fall within. The regulations are strict and complicated, so make sure you visit the Pharmaceutical Services Negotiating Committee (PSNC) website to find all the information you need.
7. Recruit the right staff
Employing the right staff at your pharmacy plays a huge part in whether your business will thrive. If you’re not a qualified pharmacist, then you’ll need to recruit one who will take overall responsibility of the dispensary.
You’ll also need a qualified pharmacy technician who is registered with the General Pharmaceutical Council, and a pharmacy assistant who has the relevant Pharmacy Skills qualifications.
It’s essential that your staff not only have the appropriate licenses but have excellent people skills too. A large part of their roles will be dealing with customers who may be unwell or in pain, so recruiting compassionate and skilled employees is a must.
Start a pharmacy business
Before you kick-start your career in the pharmaceutical industry make sure you take full advantage of the wealth of information that’s available and seek professional advice. We don’t currently offer any pharmacy franchise opportunities. But if you are committed to starting a career dedicated to helping people and want to take advantage of what franchising has to offer, we have plenty of other healthcare franchise opportunities that you can consider.
Becky Martin, Point Franchise ©