In the last few decades, big stores have been taking over a lot of the smaller pharmacies and many of them went out of business, but now that is changing. Smaller, independent pharmacies are making a big comeback and if you are looking for a new business venture, it could be a good option for you. People will always need healthcare so any business in the medical industry is fairly safe, however, there is still a lot of competition out there. Many people would prefer to go to a smaller pharmacy, but you can’t always beat the big stores on price, which means that you have to offer something that they can’t if you are going to build a good customer base.
If you get it right and you have a regular stream of patients coming through your pharmacy, it can be an incredibly lucrative business and there are a lot of opportunities for expansion and franchising etc. But getting it off the ground and beating all of the competition in the local area can be difficult. If you think that a pharmacy business might be right for you, here are a few important tips to help you make it a success.
If you build your own pharmacy business from the ground up, you have the option of selling your own franchises and increasing your earnings. In the long term, it may be your best option, however, you should also consider buying a franchise from an existing pharmacy business instead of starting your own. If you buy into a franchise, you will benefit from the brand that they have already established and it will be so much easier for you to start building a customer base. People already trust the name and if you open in a good location, you are bound to get people through the door. You will also have more access to resources and advice to help make your new business a success. If you want to expand your business interests, you can open more franchises in the future. The only downside is that you will always be paying the owner of the brand, and that limits your earnings. If you manage to build your own successful brand and franchise it, you will earn a lot more money. But that will be much harder to achieve and there is a chance that you will never get there. You should consider the pros and cons of franchising and think about whether it’s the right choice for you.
Understand The Legal Side
There are a lot of legal issues involved with any business in the medical industry. People’s lives are potentially at stake, so you cannot just open a business and start selling medication to people without first jumping through some legal hoops. You will need to get some licenses once the business is registered and it’s likely that somebody will need to check the premises before you are legally allowed to start operating as a pharmacy. If you make any mistakes during the early stages of the business, it could land you in some legal trouble later on. That’s why it’s a good idea to hire an attorney from the very beginning so they can guide you through the legal aspects and make sure that everything is above board.
Know The Regulations
The rules and regulations around selling pharmaceutical products are a big part of the legal side of the business. There will be regulations about how you store and package all of the medications that you have, so you can be sure that they are safe before they go out to patients. If you are found to be breaking these regulations, you may be forced to close the business entirely, and at the very least, you will have to pay some big fines. That’s why it’s important that you invest in the right equipment, like a medical fridge, so you can store everything at the right temperature. You need to know all of the rules and regulations inside out so you can be completely sure that you are not breaking the law. If you get it wrong and a patient’s health suffers because of your mistake, you could find yourself on the receiving end of a medical negligence case and that’s never good news.
Manage Your Stock Effectively
Medication isn’t something that people can do without, which means that you need to keep your stock levels in check. If a patient comes in for a prescription and you don’t have it, and you can’t get it for a few days, that causes them some big problems. Next time, they’ll go to another pharmacy that holds more stock so they don’t get caught out again. That’s why good stock management is so important. You need to know roughly how many of each product you sell, so you can always maintain the right stock levels. If you do not keep something in stock, you need to be able to get a hold of it quickly, so people are not left waiting if they order it. Equally, you need to make sure that you are not overstocking things with a short shelf life, otherwise, you are wasting money when you have to throw those products out as they can no longer be sold.
Over time, it will be easier to manage your stock effectively because you can use your sales record to see what stock you are likely to need. You should also invest in stock management software so you can get alerts when stock levels are low and even set up automatic ordering systems to replenish stock. If you can always make sure that you have what your customers need, they will keep coming back to you again and again. But if you are unreliable, they will find another pharmacy.
Give A Personal Service
One of the main reasons that people would prefer a local pharmacy over one of the big chain stores is that they get a more personal service. Huge stores that have thousands and thousands of customers coming through each day and have a lot of different employees won’t offer a very personal service. The employees won’t remember any of the customers and they will be focused on getting as many people through the checkout as possible, so they will not spend much time with each customer. But when it comes to people’s health, they want to know that you are invested in them and you are taking your time with each customer to make sure that you give them the best possible solution.
Personal service is your best weapon against the bigger chain stores, so make sure that you use it. Always hire employees that have great customer service experience, and encourage them to be friendly with customers and spend a bit more time with them if they need it. It’s better to hire a few extra members of staff so you can still serve people quickly, but you don’t need to rush them through the checkout. It’s also important to keep good records of a customer’s history and make an effort to remember people. If you can have somebody’s prescription all made up and ready before they walk in the door, you make life so much easier for them and they will recognize that you remembered them and made an effort.
Focus On Security
All businesses need to be aware of the dangers of the online world. Cyber-attacks are becoming a lot more common and it’s becoming harder than ever to protect ourselves. When criminals steal sensitive data from a business, it causes so many problems. Customers are at risk of fraud if their credit card details are stolen and the business could be held to ransom if criminals hold sensitive information about them. This is a big issue for all businesses, but the situation is even worse for businesses in the medical industry. You hold a lot of very sensitive data about your customers’ health and there is legislation in place to ensure that it is protected properly. It falls to you as a business owner to put measures in place to secure all of that data, and if you don’t, you could end up in legal trouble. That’s why it’s important that you improve your security and put policies in place to protect sensitive data.
If you hire a good IT company that specializes in medical businesses, they will be able to implement and manage all of your security software. You should also restrict access to information so only employees that absolutely need it can see it. The fewer people have access to information, the lower the risk of a leak. Don’t forget about physical security as well because people can still break in and steal computers with data on them, so make sure that the building is secured as well.
Starting a pharmacy business can be tough, and there is a lot of competition out there, but if you keep these tips in mind, you should be able to make yours a success.