Nigeria is the best country for any pharmacist to become rich irrespective of the presence of patent medicine dealers. It is only the lazy pharmacists who are always complaining about the patent medicine dealers. If a pharmacist in Nigeria commits to building his community practice, he will be a multimillionaire in maximum seven years. I have been analysing the pharmacists who are doing very well in retail pharmacy in Nigeria, and this is what I find common among them but I rarely find among the perpetual complainers.
1. THEY ARE YOUNG OR HAVE THE YOUNG AROUND THEM- Most of the very rich pharmacists graduated not later than 1995. Those who graduated before 1995 and are doing well have at least one post 1995 in their employment. I strongly believe there was a radical change in pharmaceutical knowledge in the mid nineties. Those who graduated then had moved from a mindset of working in a hospital to truly desiring to become rich pharmacists in retail practice.
2.A STRONG DESIRE TO HELP THEIR PATIENT BEFORE THE DESIRE TO MAKE MONEY – Show me a pharmacist with a passion to help his patients get better, and I will show you someone who is going to be very rich in Nigeria. A lot of retail pharmacists wallowing in poverty jumped into retail practice just to make money without realising that making money is a side effect of commitment to your practice. The owner of the biggest pharmacy premises in surulere resumes at one of his premises by Eleven am and closes by 10pm. He has at least two pharmacists in each of his premises. Despite the fact that he is rich, his office has almost been turned to a parking store because he rarely sits in it. He is always the customer facing pharmacist.
3. HAVE NON PHARMACIST MANAGERS- I do not understand how this works but all the very rich retail pharmacists that I know have non pharmacist managers in charge of their premises. The pharmacists take care of the patients only while the manager runs the shop. They do the procurement and stock management. They do not have the sentimental ego that every other staff must report to the pharmacist.
4. THEY PAY VERY WELL- Even before they start to do very well, the rich community pharmacists pay their staff very well. They pay far above the average salary in their area. Sure enough, the best hands will always gravitate towards them.
5. THEY ARE NOT AFRAID TO FIRE – The rich Nigerian pharmacists are not afraid to fire those who do not deliver. I have witnessed a lot of them fire pharmacists that could not sustain a certain daily sales target. They give their pharmacists targets to meet which they on their own have been meeting. If the pharmacist can not deliver, he is fired. They do not keep mediocre staff.
6. THEY ARE LEARNERS – The rich Nigerian pharmacists know the difference between busyness and business. They don’t become so busy and forego business training. They read a lot, they force their employees to read or go for training. They know that knowledge is both power and wealth
7. THEY ARE NOT BOTHERED ABOUT PATENT MEDICINE DEALERS AROUND THEM- I know of a patent medicine dealer that switched business when a young vibrant pharmacist opened shop around him. A rich pharmacist once told me that the ACPN chairman whose premises is 200 metres from his and going down, thinks he is his competition. He said he did not see him as a competition. His competition are the top five pharmacies in the state. The rich Nigerian pharmacists have come to realise that most patients don’t buy on price I.e whether theirs is higher, in fact their prices are usually higher. They know they are not in drugs selling business but in a health service business. They thus place priority on outstanding patient clerking. They know that when you clerk very well, most patients will not care about the price of the drugs.