7 Rules of Thumb for Owning a Pharmacy


Since 1992, The Pharmacy Sage has coached independent pharmacy owners to success. Here are his 7 biggest rules of thumb.

1. Where you devote your time is critically important.

If you want to be worth $250/hr or even $400/hr, which translates to an annual income of $500,000 to $800,000, then stop doing $10/hr to $50/hr work. Hire and train others to do it while you concentrate on tasks that should be in a pharmacy owner’s job description.

2. Obliterate the 4 obstructions to success.

The following can stonewall any and all attempts a pharmacy owner makes to obtain great success:

  • Inability to prioritize what is most important to the business at any moment in time.
  • Failure to grow as the leader in your ability to delegate and predict.
  • Inability to navigate the increasingly tricky dynamics of the marketplace.
  • Not being organized for success in terms of lacking systems and organizational soundness.

No matter how good of a pharmacist you are or how knowledgeable you may be, if you have even one of the above obstructions, then you are hitting a brick wall. Work on eliminating them so that you can concentrate on creating the brand that you want.

3. Master the 3 habits of leaders of hyper-growth companies.

They are:

  • Establish rhythm in every part of your business, including your work with your team, marketing, and other business-building activities. There must be consistent rhythm for each of them, rather than an “I will do it when I can” attitude.
  • Collect the right data, or what I call Smart Numbers. Review them weekly, monthly—depending upon their relevance. Then, analyze them quarterly, especially regarding trends within your pharmacy and as related to the rest of your industry.
  • Establish priorities. And make certain they are the right priorities—including the use of your time. Your time is the scarcest and most valuable resource in your total organization. Where you apply it is of critical importance. You should focus on the important details that no one else can handle and delegate the rest.

4. Make certain that your key people are well trained in sound management practices.

Develop the talents of each and every team member to the point where each of them becomes a superstar in his or her own right. Every person in your organization is a knowledge worker, so collectively, they are a vast untapped resource of ideas and action plans.

Take advantage of the collective wisdom of your organization and make good use of this wealth of information. Research by the Harvard Business School discloses that the average employee “gives you only 20% of the total results he or she possibly could.”

5. Develop accountability.

Accountability means consequences, and negative consequences are just as important as positive ones in pharmacy practice.

6. Set a big goal, and then determine exactly how you’re going to get there.

Each year, you should have a different goal or the same one, but upgraded. Most often, it pertains to the growth of net profits, gross profits, or substantial sales increase that is meaningful to your bottom line. Yes, most goals apply to money.

7. Analyze everything.

This requires a financial information system that gives you certain minimum information on a weekly basis and more on a monthly basis. Does your monthly profit and loss statement come to you early enough? And does it give you information on your prescription department vs. your front end, so that you can analyze the differences between them?

Most importantly, you must analyze everything, including some particular activities that occur above and beyond what is captured by your financial information. One example is the level of service delivered by each and every team member. Is it awesome?

Each one of these pharmacy ownership rules of thumb can and will be expanded to a complete article, so keep reading Pharmacy Times to get more information on how you can better succeed as a pharmacy entrepreneur.

The Pharmacy Sage can be reached at by phone at (888) 737-6400 or via e-mail at Lester@ThePharmacySage.com

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