You could be a very motivated pharmacist and want to take your career to the next level and open a pharmacy. Or, you see a neighborhood that is underserved and is in need of a pharmacy for the residents health care. There is also the possibility that you are unhappy with how franchising works within the pharmacy industry and wish to remain independent.
The reason you want to open an independent pharmacy is not important. What is actually important is that you understand how to run a pharmacy so you will be successful. The entire process needs to be planned, strategized and well-thought out. You can’t just open the doors and wait for customers to come flooding in.
With the right plan in pce, you should be able to grow a very healthy business. In this article, we will go over what you need to have planned to grow a successful independent pharmacy.
1 – Develop a business plan
There are two primary reasons to have a solid business plan in place before you do anything. For starters, you need to have one to present to the bank to be able to get financing. The bank wants to see how you plan to make money so they can be sure that you will be paying the loan back on time.
The other reason is to give yourself a roadmap of how you expect to guide the business. It is a good resource to look at occasionally to make sure that you are still on track with your goals and taking the steps in the right order to get there.
The first step to creating a good business plan is to analyze the market where you plan to open the pharmacy. There needs to be a big enough population to serve even if you are the only pharmacy for miles around. Doing a market analysis will give you the insight to see if your business plan is viable.
Another part of the plan is to understand the costs involved from the lease to the cost of pharmaceutical supplies. The bank is especially interested to see where you think your incoming revenue will go so it pays off to explore all of the expenses as well as what the market analysis declares your expected revenue to be.
2 – Choose the location
No matter what business you are starting, the location is going to be one of the biggest factors to your success. A pharmacy is no different as it relies on all the same factors that location brings.
There needs to be plenty of traffic around to be sure that you are in a convenient area for people to get to. However, traffic is a double edged sword. If there is bumper to bumper traffic right outside your parking lot at all times, then this is going to discourage some people from stopping in. it will be too inconvenient for them to shop at your store.
The trick is to find a centrally located area where there are going to be a lot of people coming and going. If there are other businesses adjacent then this is helpful as people will want to take advantage and do all of their errands in one go. Look for a strip mall or a lot of office buildings nearby.
The size of the footprint is also a consideration. There should be enough parking in front of and around the building so that shoppers have easy access. This should also give you enough space to expand if the business grows.
Foot traffic is also desirable, but it all depends on the area where the best location is. There are some locations that will thrive and not have a single customer walk into the store. Visibility is more important than foot traffic in most cases.
3 – Have a solid marketing plan
Besides the location, the way of getting the word out is the most important factor in your success. It is helpful to make a name for yourself especially if there is a lot of competition in your area. It’s important for people to understand what you are about and how to differentiate you from the other pharmacies in the area.
You can build a brand as well as drive business with the right marketing strategy. One that works well these days is inbound marketing. It is a marketing strategy that helps the right customers find your business. Creating a lot of helpful content to post on social media or to have a website that uses effective local SEO are both forms of inbound marketing.
Having a presence online is extremely important for business even if it is a brick and mortar one that doesn’t sell anything online. Take a holistic approach to the marketing and have a Youtube channel that answers common health related questions that people have. Then, have several social media channels that provide helpful information to create trust with your audience. Finally, have a website that uses the right keywords for content that will bring in visitors who can then subscribe to a newsletter in exchange for their email.
This will build a recognizable brand and also keep you in contact with your ideal customers so they will choose you when they have some pharmacy needs and questions about their prescriptions. An email list will also be a great way to drive traffic into your store by sending out helpful emails that also alert subscribers to specials and news. This is a great way to connect with customers so they feel like you are there for them and a part of the community.
Taking your pharmacy career to the next level should be part of your long term plans after graduating. Working for yourself is a fantastic way to not just make more money, but also to make a difference in the lives of the residents of your community.