Mentoring a Junior Partner

In today’s world, it’s difficult for young pharmacists to get an opportunity to buy their first pharmacy. Even with the financial capabilities, it’s not enough. There are more active buyers in the market than opportunities. Because of that, pharmacies are more often than not sold to large groups or owners with multiple stores wanting to expand further.

If you’ve ever thought about having a junior partner, it may be time to put that thought into action. Sharing your knowledge of the pharmacy field with the next generation of community pharmacists is essential.

There are great advantages for young pharmacists who are interested in a junior partnership as a pathway into pharmacy ownership. Some of them include financial support when it comes to lending and dealing with banks; expertise and experience available from the other partner(s) or group; lower financial risks that make it more affordable to buy a share in a large business; and mentors to help further their learning and development.

Pharmacists have various reasons why they may decide to take in a young pharmacist as a business partner. They may need help running their business or want to take a step back and slow down. Others may want to buy or open another pharmacy and need extra help. Then there are those who have an excellent pharmacy manager they want to “lock in.”

As a senior partner, having a junior partner is a great way to carry on the pharmacy’s legacy. Working together is critical, and you must use teamwork and compromise when making decisions.

If you decide to become a mentor, here are some tips to start you off on the right foot as you teach the junior pharmacist to become a strong and successful pharmacist:

  • Establish a positive relationship: Set a good tone with your junior partner right from the start. Be friendly, approachable, and respectful. Talk with them and get to know their background, interests, and aspirations.
  • Assess their skillset: Understand the strengths and weaknesses they can bring to your pharmacy. Identify areas where they need improvement and come up with a plan to help them develop those skills.
  • Come up with a training plan: Write up a training plan and a timeline for your junior partner’s development. It should include training opportunities, such as shadowing, conferences, and workshops to develop new skills.
  • Set clear expectations and goals: Be sure to include their responsibilities, tasks, deadlines, and other areas of focus.
  • Be humble and listen to your partner: You and your partner will likely have different strengths, ideas, and knowledge in the pharmacy. Let them teach you, too.
  • Encourage professional development: Provide resources or opportunities for your junior partner to stay up to date with the latest developments in pharmacy.
  • Model positive behavior: Be a good role model at all times. Demonstrate how to handle difficult situations and challenges in a professional manner.

When you’re ready to find a junior partner for your independent pharmacy, there are several steps you can take to find the right fit for your store. Try reaching out to your professional network. Consult with colleagues or professional associations to find recommendations for individuals looking for a mentor. Social media can be a great resource for connecting with potential mentees. There are also online pharmacy groups and forums where you can find potential partners.

Are You Really Ready?

If you feel confident about having a junior partner in your pharmacy, first ask yourself these basic questions:

  • Do I want the responsibility of training someone and being a mentor?
  • Am I comfortable delegating vital tasks to another person?
  • Do I want to develop a succession plan or sell my pharmacy outright?
  • Would I trust the person who would become my junior partner?

Pharmacy industry events are great places to network with other professionals in the pharmacy field. These events are great for connecting with potential mentees and discussing expertise. And don’t forget the internet. You can find many online mentor-matching platforms such as Mentoring Central and iMentor.

Owning a community pharmacy isn’t just filling prescriptions. It’s a rewarding career that offers many challenges. Becoming a mentor is your chance to impart your knowledge and expertise that has led you to success onto the next generation of leaders.

Benefits to Implementing a Junior Partnership

Increased business success

By mentoring a junior partner, you can help ensure the success of your business by passing on your knowledge and expertise to the next generation of leaders. As a bonus, junior partners can bring fresh ideas to the table, helping the business stay innovative and competitive.

Improved work/life balance

You and your junior partner can share the workload and hours in the store. This gives you time to work on the business rather than inside the business.

Processes learned

Managing the store can be the biggest hurdle for new pharmacists owning a pharmacy, so having already learned the processes allows them to be trained in a real-life environment so they can have a better survival rate.

Same values

Before completely turning over the store to your junior partner, you will have the ability to see if your values align. If they don’t, you can choose not to go through with the transition.

Credibility and customer loyalty

Your junior partner will have more credibility because he or she has been chosen by you, the owner. The transfer of credibility and customer loyalty will ultimately determine if your pharmacy will be successful. In fact, your junior partner may ask you to sign an agreement that requires you to work for a couple of years after transition.

Personal Satisfaction

Being a mentor to a junior partner can be personally rewarding. You can take pride in your mentee’s success. You passed on your knowledge to the next generation of pharmacists, so go ahead and pat yourself on the back.

From the Magazine

This article was published in our quarterly print magazine, which covers relevant topics in greater depth featuring leading experts in the industry. Subscribe to receive the quarterly print issue in your mailbox. All registered independent pharmacies in the U.S. are eligible to receive a free subscription.

More articles from the June 2023 issue:

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