Who Should Own a Pharmacy?


Many people want to become pharmacy owners, but who is best suited for it?

Many people want to become pharmacy owners. Some will succeed at it, but many others will not. In fact, the failure rate for start-up pharmacies is 83% after 2.5 years, research shows.

The DNA of the pharmacy business has changed a lot. What worked for the older generation and your professors at pharmacy school no longer works today.

What it takes today

Whether or not you succeed in owning a pharmacy depends on several factors. The first relates to your outlook on being the leader of your own organization.

Any person who desires to own a pharmacy should have the following traits:

  • Be so sick and tired of the chain store dicta of filling “X” number of scripts at the expense of interacting with patients that you can’t wait to break away and create new horizons for yourself.
  • Be extremely desirous of helping people feel better, live longer, and become more energetic.
  • Want to be a leader, instead of a follower.
  • Understand that you need to manage risks as opposed to taking them.
  • Have a strong drive and determination to succeed with new ideas in new ventures.

Other characteristics of successful pharmacy leaders

Certain characteristics are fundamental for leaders in all types of business, and they are no less true for pharmacy owners.

  • Positive attitude. This could also be characterized as a strong drive and determination to succeed.

  • Strong willingness to lead. Your team members will look to you for guidance and inspiration. Without such leadership, your organization will descend into chaos.

  • Constant thirst for information and knowledge. The never-ending quest for more know-how is an important ingredient for achieving great success.

  • Questioning approach. Learning how to work smarter, not harder, leads to thinking about how to get maximum leverage, especially from your people and your marketing.

  • Strong sense of guilt and responsibility in many areas.

The role of guilt

The famous humorist and writer Irma Bombeck once called guilt “the gift that keeps on giving.”

According to new research by NYU’s Stern Business School professor Rebecca Schaumberg and Stanford Business School’s Francis Flynn, Bombeck may have been right in ways she didn't intend.

The 2 business school professors acknowledged that good leaders are typically endowed with a number of positive qualities, such as extroversion, openness to experience, emotional stability, and conscientiousness. Yet, in those authors’ opinion, certain negative emotions—the tendency to feel guilt, in particular— could also be integral parts of an effective leader’s psychological makeup.

Other contributing factors to pharmacy ownership

  • Your financial involvement should be at least 20% of the total cost, which you should either know or be able to ascertain.
  • Have hard assets (i.e. own a home or have other real estate) for which you have an equity equal to the value of the remainder, which you can then pledge to the bank and the SBA as a basis for obtaining the finances for your dream pharmacy.

One last thought

The same drive and tenacity that compels you to enroll in pharmacy school can also make you a successful entrepreneur. Unfortunately, that very same entreprenuerial characteristic is potentially at the detriment of consummate managerial skills.

Few pharmacy owners have both attributes. Because of that, the first person hired should have some good organizational and management skills to contribute to the team mix.

If you'd like to discuss this article, I'd enjoy hearing from you. The Pharmacy Sage can be reached anytime via e-mail at Lester@ThePharmacySage.com

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