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From Behind the Counter: Mentorship creates community pharmacy legacy

Posted by Rick Coakley on Thu, Jun 13, 2013 @ 07:28 AM

To find out what really works for community pharmacy owners, we frequently conduct interviews with well-established and successful community pharmacy owners. This is the third of many that we will be sharing over the next year.

Neil Leikach (pictured with his wife Dixie) has been a pharmacy owner since 1993 and owns three pharmacies in Baltimore, Maryland. community pharmacy owners Dixie and Neil Leikach

Waypoint: Why did you choose to become a community pharmacy owner?

Neil: I wanted the freedom to practice pharmacy in my own way and I definitely did not want people who weren’t in the profession to control me. Also, I saw people succeeding as pharmacy owners and I wanted to exceed their success.

Waypoint: What three working habits contribute the most to your success?

Neil: A professor in school told our class to surround ourselves with smart people and I have been trying to do just that ever since I started. This includes staff, pharmacists, advisors, marketing people, professionals, and my financial advisors.

The second is to not take things personally. Some people come in the store already frustrated at something and their frustration comes out when you are dealing with them. You need to learn to shrug it off and understand it is just part of the profession. Remember, you will often be dealing with people on one of the worst days of their life.

The third thing is to be comfortable in your personal and professional decisions. Doing this takes time, because every decision needs to be looked at individually and considered in the context of our big picture. My wife Dixie is a pharmacist and we make important decisions together. We use a SWOT analysis when we think a decision through. (SWOT: Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities & Threats)

Waypoint: At this stage in your career, what are your most important activities?

Neil: I keep my eye on my business and retirement plans to make sure I keep things moving in the right direction. I am always evaluating if things are working as planned and I make necessary corrections when they aren't or when something changes. Also, having the right people in the right place at the right times is increasingly important. I am always training someone else to do what I do so that I can be free to work on other projects. For example, it's a small thing, but it saves me at least a half an hour a day: I trained a technician to sort through my mail and it adds up to me having an extra week a year.

Waypoint: What advice would you give a young person beginning his or her career as an owner?

Neil: Become part of a buying group and network with the other pharmacy owners in that group. You are not in competition with them and you will get new ideas about your business. Join other groups as well. Whatever you do, don’t keep your head in the sand.

Waypoint: What is your greatest accomplishment as a pharmacy owner?

Neil: I have helped three pharmacists (soon to be four) develop the ability to practice pharmacy independently without having to deal with the chain mentality. That's part of my legacy, four people who are actively practicing community pharmacy.

Waypoint: What do you see as the future of community pharmacy?

Neil: It's not dispensing prescriptions. Community pharmacists will have to deliver more clinical services: MTM, patient counseling, immunizations, education, and other services that spin off of their clinical expertise. Pharmacists need to keep up with what is going on in their communities while staying ahead of the curve on a business and professional level. If you believe in community pharmacy as a whole, it is up to us to prove the worth of our community pharmacies.

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Where does this wisdom come from?
The content of this blog is inspired and substantiated by our experience helping independent community pharmacists enjoy financial independence during and after their life in pharmacy. When a pharmacist reaches out to us for information and help, we endeavor to give them as much free value as is possible. In addition to providing educational and strategic planning tools (like The Helping Community Pharmacy Survey), we invite qualified pharmacists into our formal discovery process.

The first step of the process is completing The Inspired Goals Workshop. This 90-minute session enables us to deliver a detailed and personal Inspired Independence Blueprint. The blueprint provides a personalized roadmap for achieving your goals and enables you to fully understand the value of joining The Inspired Independence Program.

If you wish to learn more about any aspect of our work, the free value we offer, or to be considered for The Inspired Goals Workshop, visit our web site at or call 843.873.4420 and ask for Ben or Matt Coakley.

At Waypoint Pharmacy Advisors, we take care of you!

Topics: community pharmacy owner, community pharmacist, pharmacy exit strategy, pharmacy succession, pharmacy junior partner, pharmacy junior partners, profitability, pharmacy value, exit planning, independence, summerville, asheville