What does it take to set up a successful pharmacy business? was the question a young corper asked me recently. He was getting ready for his passing out after serving the mandatory one year post graduation service program. He wanted a successful pharmacy career and after listening to my talk he felt I could guide him.

I know a lot of corper pharmacists are in his same kind of condition. They have seem most of their senior colleagues and a lot are asking themselves (and also asking me if the time spent studying the course was really worth it because they could count just on their fingers the successful pharmacy they know that are owned by pharmacists.

Well like I told the young man, all hope is not lost. Pharmacy is a great profession and if you will follow the following advise I will give you, you will build a very successful pharmacy career.
The young man was interested in retail pharmacy so I will be talking about how you can set up a very successful pharmacy retail practice.

STEP 1- WORK IN A VERY SUCCESSFUL PHARMACY FOR TWO YEARS – If you want to be successful, you must study those who are already successful at what you want to be successful at. You need to look for a very successful pharmacy and apply for job there. Immediately you are taken, by a note book and every evening, write down what you learnt during the day. Volunteer for every task and assignment including those not related to your core job. The reason is because you want to learn everything about running a successful pharmacy.
I will strongly suggest you avoid working in those pharmacies that are not run as successful pharmacy. I have observed that most pharmacists that worked in an average pharmacy before setting up their own end up poor and broke. You must work in a very successful pharmacy whose minimum daily sales is at least N300,000.00 Run away from any pharmacy that makes less than this figure.

STEP 2 – START TO READ BUSINESS MANAGEMENT BOOKS – A lot of retail pharmacies fail because most pharmacists are very poor business managers. Its very few that that out time to study business management and read business management books because they want to build a big business, I will recommend you start with the books BUILT TO LAST, GOOD TO GREAT, GREAT BY CHOICE all by a guy called Jim Collins. I will also recommend you get all the books by a guy called Malcom Gladwells and most importantly get my business books which you can find here
Study business books, marketing books, customer relationship books. Make sure you read at least one business book every month for the next 24 months

STEP 3 – START TO ATTEND SEMINARS – You need to get your employer to sponsor you to different business and pharmacy practice seminars. This is where you learn the current trend in the business of pharmacy as well as what it takes to run a successful pharmacy

STEP 4 – START TO LOOK FOR A LOCATION – What most pharmacists do not know is that it can take you ages to find a good location especially if you stay in Lagos or Abuja. So, towards the end of your second year as an employee you need to start to look for a location. You need to get in contact with as many estate agents as possible. Also pray that the attitudes of the Pharmacist council inspectors would have improved by the time you are ready.

Visit a lot of online real estate platforms that showcase vacant lots. Outside lagos and Abuja, it might not be as difficult as this though. Most importantly, avoid looking for a 30 sq metres space. If you want to run a successful pharmacy now, you need at least 50sqm. This is because most successful pharmacies need a big space to accommodate a supermarket section which is a major crowd puller into a successful pharmacy. You dont what only people who are sick to be the ones walking into your pharmacy. Some might just come to buy bread of N200 and end up buy silver centrum for N3000. I also pray that PCN inspectors would have changed by the time you are ready to start.

STEP 5- START TO BUILD YOUR WEALTH, FINANCIAL KNOWLEDGE AND FINANCIAL ALLIES – You need to start to set aside at least 30% of your salary every month. You need to realise that anybody who as at now does not have at least five million naira cannot setup a decent retail pharmacy that will become a successful pharmacy.
You need to also build a network of partners that can invest in your business. Forget what you are been told that old pharmacists can run a retail pharmacy. I can tell you that is a big lie because I consult for a lot of big time retail pharmacies and most of them have non pharmacist investors. The only thing is that you should not put their names in your company board of directors but make sure you get investors unless your people can comfortably give you ten million to start off with.

STEP 6 Р WORK WITH PROFESSIONALS РOnce you have understudied a successful pharmacy, and have the funding and a good location, get professionals to fix up the place for you. Get a strategy consultant which is essentially what I do for most business start ups, get an architect and an interior designer to come up with a concept for you. AVOID THE CARPENTERS AND PAINTERS THAT OTHER PHARMACISTS RECOMMEND TO YOU.

Before you take an advise from any pharmacists on what to do, first look at his own shop and if its not something that looks successful listen to his advise but dump it once he turns to leave you.

STEP 7 – EMPLOY ONLY PROFESSIONALS – Also employ professionals in your premises. Employ pharmacists even if its just locum pharmacists to attend to your patients. Make sure that only your pharmacists attend to your customers. Employ an account as soon as possible



There are a lot of other stuffs you need but if the start with the above, you will definitely end up with a successful pharmacy whether you like it or not.




CONTACT THE WRITER ON +234 802 362 2171

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photo credit – mynaijapals

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