Pharmacy Business Ideas: Considered Franchising?

21/11/2018 18:00 | Start a business

pharmacy business

Starting your own pharmacy business can be a rewarding venture that gives you independence and the chance to be your own boss. But be warned; it’s not an easy 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.

How to start a pharmacy business

If you think you’ve got what it takes to follow the rules, regulations and laws that come with running a pharmacy business then here are some things you should consider:

• Fail to plan and plan to fail

It’s vital that you do your research on how to run a pharmacy business before you invest in one. The General Pharmaceutical Council website is a great place to start. As the regulator of pharmacies across the UK you can find out about all the rules and regulations that need to be adhered to.

It’s also a good idea to spend some time in an existing pharmacy business. You may think that you know what’s involved in the day to day running of a pharmacy, but in reality, it may be very different from what you expected. This also provides an excellent opportunity to ask any questions you have to the pharmacy owner to further enhance your knowledge of the role.

• Start from scratch or invest in a franchise?

It can be daunting when you’re just starting a pharmacy business. There are so many regulations, laws and red tape to contend with, and it can sometimes feel that you’ll never get your business off the ground. This is why considering investing in a 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 easy to follow.

If however you’d prefer to do things your way, maybe a franchise isn’t the right option for you. The success of a franchise depends on the franchisee following the rules of the franchisor, so if you have a strong entrepreneurial spirit, then you may be better off going it alone.

Both paths to being the boss have pros and cons so make sure you fully understand each option before making a decision either way.

• Understand the importance of good recruitment

Employing the right staff for your pharmacy plays a huge part in whether your business is a success, or not. 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 licences but have excellent people skills too. A large part of their roles will be dealing with customers who may be upset or in pain so recruiting compassionate and skilled employees is a must.

• Be aware of the regulations

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.

Pharmacy 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 to also secure funding for your new business.

You’ll need to consider everything from the launch of your new venture, to how it will operate, on 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 is 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, 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.

Pharmacy business for sale

Despite that fact that becoming a franchise can help pharmacies benefit from increased buying power, improved marketing and administration support, LloydsPharmacy is currently the only one offering franchise opportunities in the UK.

Celesio, LloydsPharmacy’s parent company, has been franchising across Europe since 2010 and opened its first franchise in the UK in 2015. The Gloucester franchise was the first independent to join the other 1,600 LloydsPharmacy outlets all over the country. The franchise and co-operation model allows pharmacies to keep their names and local identities while benefiting from the recognisable LloydsPharmacy’s design, service and technological expertise.

If you currently run an independent pharmacy and wish to become part of the LloydsPharmacy franchise, you’ll benefit from the following:

• A rise in monthly sales.
• Reduced costs.
• Increased margins.
• Modern store design.
• Marketing campaigns and promotions in national, local and social media.
• Access to business tools and training help you and your team to perform better.

All this while retaining your locally known brand name that continues to be displayed proudly above your pharmacy business. Running your own pharmacy can be an exciting and rewarding experience. However, it also takes a lot of hard work to get up and running so make sure you take full advantage of the wealth of information that’s available and seek professional advice at every step towards business ownership.

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