The Community Pharmacist Blog

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Why Succession Planning for Pharmacy Owners has become obsolete

Posted by Benjamin Coakley on Wed, Jan 29, 2014 @ 10:52 AM

community pharmacy owners succession development

Succession planning should, theoretically at least, start from the moment you make the leap to become a community pharmacy owner. In the land of fairies and unicorns, this would happen every time. But, reality is much different and this usually never enters the minds of pharmacy owners until they are ready to get out.

It has been our experience that when owners want out of pharmacy, they want it sooner than later.

It can strike with no warning or can gradually build over time but, once it gets hold of someone, the desire to get out of the pharmacy is a powerful emotion.

For the lucky owners who experience it gradually building over time, things can be done to help alleviate the impact of the emotion. For those who are struck without warning, the challenge is much more difficult as it often leads to some very rash decisions. We have had people tell us until they would never even dream of selling to a chain and then, out of the blue, they call us and say they sold to a big box store. When this happens, most of them say their decision was based on feeeling so overwhelmed they thought there was no other way out.

The solution to all of this is to change how you define succession planning. To help the pharmacists we are working with realize all of their opportunities during and after their life in pharmacy (including inside and outside of the pharmacy while they are owners), we start by helping them understand the principles of a new way of doing things called Succession Development. 

So, you may be asking yourself at this point, "What is big deal with Succession Development and how does it apply to my situation?"

First things first; let's address what succession development is not. It is not replacement planning. Replacement planning is the process of replacing you with someone or something else (chain store). Replacement planning is focused on the transaction or a one time event. Ninety percent of advisors in the succession planning arena actually do replacement planning (no matter what they call their process). See our last blog for more information on replacement planning.

OK, here's the big deal: Succession Development is a continuous process of defining, recognizing, hiring, empowering and rewarding talent coupled with an intentional and continuous process of mentoring, transferring wisdom, developing transferrable skills and cultivating leadership.

What does this mean to you? Well for starters, this entirely new way of looking at your business brings immediate benefits including:

  • Reduced employee turnover
  • Increased employee productivity/satisfaction
  • A continuous positive impact on profit
  • Enhanced business reputation
  • Greater customer satisfaction and loyalty

Even without a formal structure, embracing the philosophy that the people who work in your pharmacy are your best assets, now and when you wish to transition out of your business, will make Succession Development the keystone to your business's culture. In a sense, it allows you to let go and hang on at the same time as helps your pharmacy become less and less dependent on you as you implement this process. (Our next blog will be about managerial vs. ownership control).

Succession Development is a continuous process. It is applied for as long as the business is operating: before, during and after you are there. If you look at the companies that have transcended many generations of ownership, you will find they embrace this core philosophy and give it an extremely high priority in all aspects of the business.

For some owners, this is often one of those "sea change" moments. For others, it may at first be hard to imagine having to always think about talent, mentoring, transferable skills and leadership. But, in our experience, all it takes is a little planning, guidance and committed effort for it to soon become second nature.

Now is the time to commit to having the pharmacy of your dreams... one that works for you and not vice versa. We believe Succession Development is one of the very best ways for you to make this happen.

Take action now! Click below to request a valluable planning tool.


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Where does this wisdom come from?

The content of this blog is inspired and verified by our experience helping independent community pharmacists enjoy financial independence inside, outside 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, self-assessment and strategic planning tools, we invite qualified pharmacists into our formal discovery process.

The first step of the process is completing The Inspired Goals Workshop. This complimentary 90-minute session enables us to deliver a detailed and personal Inspired Independence Blueprint. The blueprint provides a 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 Pharmacist Advisors, we take care of you!



Topics: community pharmacy owners, community pharmacy succession, succession development