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The Hard Truths About Opening an Independent Pharmacy

February 3, 2017

Opening an independent community pharmacy requires patience, hard work, and perseverance.

Even if you think you’re ready to take on the challenge, you may not be prepared for the harsh realities of starting a new business.

But once you understand what to expect when trying to get your pharmacy up and running, you’ll be more equipped to face the challenges ahead and become the health destination in your community that you strive to be.

Consider these three hard truths (although there are many more) about opening an independent community pharmacy.

1. You can’t do it alone

If you want your pharmacy business to succeed, you have to accept that you don’t know everything. Just because you built the business strategy, doesn’t mean you can manage it all by yourself.

For example, who’s going to take care of marketing your pharmacy or interacting with patients while you work on your business strategy and complete administrative tasks?

Hiring good employees to help you start out may seem costly, but it’s a necessary investment.

Without the right people in place to oversee these aspects of your business, your pharmacy won’t stand a chance.

And, it’s important to learn to put your ego aside and choose individuals who are as smart—if not smarter—than you. Doing so will help grow your pharmacy business.

Read next

A Step-By-Step Guide to Starting an Independent Pharmacy


2. If you don’t do your research, your pharmacy will fail

It doesn’t matter how great a pharmacist or a businessperson you are, your pharmacy won’t succeed unless you do your research and get to know your patient demographic.

Regardless of the innovative services you’ve thought to offer, state-of-the-art equipment you’ve invested in or outstanding store layout you’ve designed, patients won’t visit your pharmacy if you don’t meet their needs.

For example, if your pharmacy is located in an area heavily populated by millennials, implementing disease state education courses or selling durable medical equipment may not make sense. But, creating a branded smartphone app or offering energy and nutrition products may be exactly what the patients in your area are looking for.

Find out what your patients really need, and then tailor your pharmacy to them.

3. Becoming profitable takes time

The reality of opening a new independent pharmacy is that profits aren’t guaranteed, and you won’t see any right away.

That’s why having enough capital is extremely important. For example, startup costs, such as the pharmacy location, staffing, equipment, and inventory, add up quickly—especially when you aren’t making money yet.

Additionally, you have to consider the licenses, contracts, and insurance required to open a pharmacy, all of which cost time and money.

If you let your dream of success and prosperity get in the way too early, you could be drowning before you even see a dime.

Prepare yourself for the risks of opening a new pharmacy, develop a plan, and practice patience to ensure your business becomes profitable.

READ NEXT: Is Owning a Pharmacy Profitable?



These Are the Most Important Pharmacy Metrics to Measure

This white paper includes 30+ formulas to calculate the most important metrics for independent pharmacies. You’ll learn to think like a retailer, discover the methods to track and measure meaningful pharmacy metrics, and learn ways to use pharmacy metrics to get insight into business performance.

Get the free white paper. 



An Independently Owned Organization Serving Independent Pharmacies

PBA Health is dedicated to helping independent pharmacies reach their full potential on the buy side of their business. The company is an independently owned pharmacy services organization based in Kansas City, Mo., that serves independent pharmacies with group purchasing services, expert contract negotiations, distribution services, and more.

PBA Health, an HDA member, operates its own VAWD-certified warehouse with more than 6,000 SKUs, including brands, generics, narcotics CII-CV, cold-storage products, and over-the-counter (OTC) products.

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