How to Open Your Own Pharmacy
4 Important Steps
Starting your own pharmacy can be an intimidating and challenging venture. There are many things to consider and important steps in the process. However, if you do it correctly, you cannot only become a successful business owner, but you can become a beloved pillar in your local community.
Before moving forward, let’s make sure your expectations are in place. While pharmacies aren’t hugely expensive businesses to start, you’ll need to have a solid financial plan to get one off the ground. The costs of opening up your own independent pharmacy will vary by location and size. However, you can estimate spending an average of $350,000 to $450,000 to open your pharmacy.
In addition to having the financial means or backing to open your own pharmacy, it’s important to have a realistic timeline in place. While it’s possible to setup a physical store within six months, including inventory and signage, that doesn’t include the time it takes to plan your pharmacy’s opening. It can take months (or potentially even a year) of planning before even signing a lease. In addition, you should expect to be operating for six to nine months before you start to see positive cash flow.
If you’re sure that opening an independent pharmacy is the path you wish to follow, don’t walk blindly. There are certain things you’ll need to assemble to turn your dream into a reality. Here’s our expert checklist for opening your own neighborhood pharmacy.
1. Make a Plan
Perhaps the most important step in opening any business happens long before the business opens – and that’s creating the business plan.
A solid business plan won’t just help keep you stay on track while operating your own pharmacy, it will also be a key document in the steps leading up to your opening. A proper business plan will be necessary when seeking funding from a financial institution or investors and might even be required in order to secure a lease. Get help from your lawyer, financial advisor, and team members to ensure that you’ve got all of the essential details included in a realistic, cohesive document that will “wow” your potential investors.
2. Find a Location
The next step of opening your own pharmacy is to choose the perfect location. Choosing a spot for your new pharmacy business might be the most critical choice that you’ll make in the entire process. You’ll need to find a location convenient for your customers to access, with plenty of parking, in an area where people already regularly travel. You might also look for a site with other related businesses that could help to provide you with a flow of traffic, such as medical offices or hospitals.
Make sure that you’re not putting yourself somewhere with too much competition – or at least not from other independent pharmacies (because it’s easier to pull away business from chain stores). Do a bit of research to see if there were ever any other independent pharmacies in the area, if they closed, and why, to make sure you don’t repeat anyone else’s mistakes.
3. Choose a Pharmacy Software
An essential part of any modern pharmacy business is the software that helps you manage the business itself. The right pharmacy software doesn’t only operate as a point of sale; it also helps with tracking inventory, patient communication, managing promotions, and customer retention – all essential activities for your soon-to-be pharmacy business. The most powerful pharmacy software on the market for independent pharmacies is Pharmacy Software by Datascan, whose client-focused features will help ensure your new business grows quickly and without expensive “hiccups.”
4. Secure Financing
Once your plan is complete, it’s time to present it to potential funding sources. There are plenty of options for a small business to find financing – from traditional loans to the SBA, suppliers, family, friends and even independent small business investors.
Make sure that you’re a qualified candidate. You’ll need a good credit score, investment capital, and sufficient working capital and financial statements to back your business plan.
With all these pieces in place, you’ll be ready to “soft open” your pharmacy in no time. Promote your new business to the local community, join the chamber of commerce, and start marketing locally to build awareness and bring in customers. You’ll already have put in a lot of work at this point, but in a few months, your business will blossom, and you’ll be a successful, independent pharmacy owner.