How to Open and Run a Profitable Pharmacy

Have you been looking for a more unusual business opportunity? Something that will be meaningful - as well as profitable.

Well, if  you’re someone who cares about the community and wants to make a real difference, we’ve got great news.

A retail pharmacy is a viable option

The pharmacy industry is thriving - and you can take advantage of that, even if you’re not qualified.

Yes, you read that correctly  - a retail pharmacy is just that - a great business opportunity, whatever your background.  You would need to employ licensed personnel to accept and fill prescriptions, of course.  But a pharmacy is a great means of making money - in essence - as well as a way to help other people.  

So why not consider it, if you’re a caring entrepreneur who hasn’t yet identified the right opportunity?

So how do you go about it?

Research and plan carefully

The first phase of opening any business is to research and plan thoroughly.  And a pharmacy is no different in that respect. So find out as much as possible about provision in your chosen area - and conduct market research to assess demand.

You’ll need to identify how to set yourself apart from other establishments - and bring something different.  If you want to succeed...

If there are lots of franchises operating, for example, perhaps you could think about bringing a personalized approach.  By trying to understand the community you’ll be serving, you can get a real feel for how that could work. What sorts of challenges are people facing, what is the demographic - and how could you help? They’re questions worth thinking about...

At the end of this process, draw up a business plan that you can revise as necessary once your establishment starts up.

Identify the opportunities available to you

As with any retail operation, you’ll need to decide on various options. A franchise, perhaps, or setting up from scratch. There are advantages and disadvantages to either - it all just depends on your circumstances and preferences.

If you go down the franchise route, you’ll have the support of a large corporation - but being independent provides more flexibility. So it’;s really about what you’d prefer, or need most - either help and advice,or the freedom to diversify.

It’s all about location, location, location

When you look for the right location for your pharmacy,  it’s worth bearing the following questions in mind first::

  • Are there are other pharmacies in the market?
  • Are they chains or independents? 
  • Do your ideal customers regularly travel through this area?
  • Are there nearby businesses, such as medical offices, that will provide a constant flow of potential customers?
  • Can people easily enter and exit? 
  • Is there plenty of parking? 
  • Can your pharmacy grow in this location?

Get the appropriate licensing

This is an essential part of running a retail pharmacy - and you’re not just dealing with a business license, either. The rules differ from state to state - and country to country - in the US, UK or Australia, for example.  So check out really carefully what you will need to do, and apply for, before you go further.

Arrange financing

You can’t get started in any retail business operation without money. So contact local banks if you’ll need a loan to set up.. The Small Business Association might also be able to help you - or get advice from other experts on the best routes to finance.

The advantage of a franchise is that you may get help and support in this area - for example a cash infusion from the parent company.  Of course, there’s always the option of a personal loan from a family member or tapping into your own savings. 

Recruit your team

Getting on top of recruitment is really important - before the doors open. A consultant, attorney and accountant can be critical, for example. If you don’t have a medical license, you may want to work with a pharmacist at this stage as well.

Then, when you get close to your opening date, you’ll need to find the rest of the pharmacy team. Check local regulations when it comes to licensing requirements for each person who will be working with you. You may find cashiers don’t have to be licensed, for instance, as long as they aren’t dispensing or handing prescriptions..

Get stocked up and ready

When you think about pharmacies, you’ll probably focus on where prescriptions are dropped off and filled. But most sell other items - over-the-counter medications, beauty products; even household convenience items.

Decide whether you’ll handle ordering inventory and keeping everything stocked - or turn that duty over to someone else. 

Think about the design and layout carefully - bearing in mind what we discussed earlier about image.  If pharmacies in the area tend to look quite generic, emphasise your independent  approach in the shop’s appearance.

Order enough appropriate shelving and  remember to install medical refrigeration from a company like Ethicheck Ltd.  And give yourself enough time to get everything in place properly, ahead of your opening date. 

Don’t forget your marketing

It’s all very well planning the perfect pharmacy - but you need to make sure people know about it.  So spread the word on social media, consider leafleting locally - even have a soft opening or launch event.

Make sure the community knows how you can help them and when you are open.  Have eye pleasing signage that draws in passers by  - and be friendly - it’s really important. 

If your employees provide warm as well as efficient service, people will return - its; that simple.  Just like every high street business  And always deliver what you promise, at all times.  A surefire way to success in retail is good customer relations, after all.

In conclusion

We hope this post has provided some useful information on how to start a retail pharmacy operation. If you’re looking for a meaningful business opportunity, this could be just right for you. 

So if you're a caring and ambitious entrepreneur, why not consider this option? it’s profitable, meaningful and you’ll make a real difference.

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