The medical fraternity is a key element of society owing to the ever-present demand for healthcare services. Medical drugs none or erratic availability can seriously cripple the effectiveness of healthcare initiatives in a country. This simple rationale makes it relevant for as many pharmacies as possible to be set up. If this is the kind of field you would want to venture into, then starting a pharmacy business is the way to go. Once you have everything set up you can be sure to realize revenue daily just as long as you have what people mostly look for. How you can start a pharmacy business is the focus of this article.
Generally, people who have been active in the pharmacy industry before or those with pharmacy backgrounds are most suited to start such a business. This is because a pharmacy business is atypical and is characterised by rules of engagement that are specialist and not necessarily the same with other businesses. Even if you do not fit into those two prerequisites it does not mean you cannot start a pharmacy business. However, you will have to ensure you have someone or some people on board who wield the technical and specialist expertise.
A pharmacy is quite simple to set up i.e. you just need a store space that you furnish with appropriate shelving or cabinets to display the drugs. The work that goes into reaching that, though, is demanding because you have to research on so many things prior. There are very strict regulatory requirements to be adhered to and that can be very tasking. A pharmacy must be able, to a greater extent, to have in stock the most commonly sought-after drugs. This means one must not only know what to stock but to strike strategic alliances with suppliers.
It is interesting to note that it is possible to not only serve individual customers. You can actually have private clinics or surgeries and even big healthcare centres as clients. You might not even serve them directly but they can refer their clients to you. So in your business setup remember to work out an operational framework that enables you to build synergies with healthcare centres. They will also be a good source of information on what types of medications are usually sought after.
Do not be too hung up on stocking with all the most common medications from the onset. This type of business thrives on user-generated data meaning that you get to understand the needs of your target market better as you tread along. The requests you get and your basic sales records will give you a comprehensive picture on what is mostly needed.
Some of the value-added services you can include in your value proposition are several. Some examples are screenings (e.g. blood pressure), immunizations, medical wares, and supplying oxygen amongst many others. The type of services will be informed by either prior research or by realizations borne after some time in operating the business.
Make Sure You Have A Comprehensive Pharmacy Business Plan
The failure to plan is the beginning of business failure. The pharmacy business plan must be clear and succinct enough to give your potential partners, clients and investors an overview of what your objectives are. At the same time, it must be detailed enough to explain the operations of the business that you propose. At the very minimum you need to have the following included in your pharmacy business plan:
- The mission, vision and operational strategy
- Market Analysis And Customer Segmentation
- A business case showing that the business is financial viable and sustainable
- A marketing and customer care plan
- An organizational chart and human resource policy
- A three-year expansion outlook
- A risk and rewards Analysis
You cannot gamble when it comes to a pharmacy business; do your homework thoroughly. You must know what type of drugs and other value-added services are on demand. You must be so diligent on this to a point where you only stock up with what are people are really looking for. As earlier on mentioned you can get such information by striking up working relationships with healthcare centres. You can also do surveys to understand the needs of your intended target market. Having people with a pharmacy background on board can help in providing expert knowledge in your pursuit to acquire information.
You must study other existing pharmacies to draw insights from their business operations. You will be examining the types of medication and/or services that they offer. You also study the demographics of their clients, the types of clients they serve and how they market their businesses. You also consider their locations so as to get some idea on how they chose them and also musing on where it would be best for you to set up. The nature of the surrounding environment plays a huge role in determining what people mostly look for in a pharmacy. So if you have an intended location in mind, take time to study that. For instance, locating a pharmacy near an academy institution (e.g. a university) leads to different needs as opposed to locating it near a big hospital or a neighbourhood. It’s very important to have a good pharmacy business plan.
Location And Premises
Choice of location should be carefully considered if you are to realize good sales. The most obvious preference is to locate your pharmacy in a central business district. This will feed off the fact that most healthcare facilities will close by thus making it easy for prospective customers to reach you. The basic things to consider when choosing a location are the presence of substantial human and vehicle traffic, easy accessibility (by foot or otherwise) and easy discoverability. The premises must be sufficiently big enough to allow free movement of staff and clients. A pharmacy must be brightly lit (white walls and floors aid in this) and must be squeaky clean. There must be good ventilation and a generally cosy environment. This means it might be wise to choose a location with no room for sound or air pollution.
You will need basic furnishings such as counter tops or booths, shelving or cabinets, siting area furniture and so on. You will also need secure and appropriate storage equipment for the medical supplies. Other needs will be spelt out by your other intended services.
If you are contemplating starting a pharmacy business you are on the right track. Just remember to cross the t’s and dot the i’s when it comes to any licensing, certifications and regulatory requirements. Getting legal advice can be very beneficial so that you know what is expected of you. You can also approach pharmacy-related boards or institutions to get more information.