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The Two Most Vulnerable Times for a Pharmacy Owner: The Startup Phase (Part 2)

Posted by Benjamin Coakley on Mon, Nov 07, 2016 @ 02:33 PM

Being a pharmacy owner requires a person who is not afraid to take risk.  Combine the risk of just being a business owner with current dynamics of the pharmacy world and it becomes easy to see this risk can be significant. In the past 40 years of studying and working with pharmacy owners, we have discovered that the risk of pharmacy ownership varies throughout the lifecycle of the pharmacy owner and pharmacy itself.

We have discovered the two most vulnerable times are during the startup phase and the contribution phase. We discussed the contribution phase (pharmacy exit strategy) in great detail last week. This week's blog is about the startup phase of your life in pharmacy.

The startup phase applies to you as the pharmacy owner and to the actual pharmacy itself. The risks associated to the pharmacy are typical of most businesses starting up. We are interested more in the risks associated with the new owner and his or her family. These are often the most overlooked in the process. So, let's dive in to some examples.

Below is a copy of our proprietary concept known as the Community Pharmacist Lifecycle. This helps pharmacy owners identify the key things they should work on at the different stages in their life in pharmacy.


Notice that the two most vulnerable times are at the beginning and end of your life in pharmacy. Share this post with your friends who are either at the beginning or end of their life in pharmacy.

Below is a list of the moving parts that must be addressed in the startup phase of your life in pharmacy:

  1. Your personal vision and goals must be clear.
  2. You must have an information filter to decipher what is good advice - you are most likely walking the fine line between surviving or not in this phase so following bad advice can turn the tide in the wrong direction.
  3. Managing your personal cash flow - you want to keep this as low as possible because reinvestment in your pharmacy will be a priority to move out of this phase and into the survival phase.
  4. Personal debt management - you most likely purchased or started your pharmacy through borrowing from a bank, family member, friend or other source. This, combined with your student debt, mortgage and car payment create a scenario managing personal cash flow can be challenging.
  5. Family time management - we often hear from new pharmacy owners that they don't have enough time for their families. Learning to manage time effectively is a necessity in the startup phase.
  6. Personal health and stress management - this is one of the most challenging and trying times in your life inside and outside of pharmacy. Understanding how to manage stress and stay healthy can have a positive impact on your results.
  7. Leadership skill development - you are learning to be a leader and being coachable separates great leaders from mediocre ones. This is why having a development plan here can make a tremendous difference.
  8. Advisor evaluation standards - how you choose advisors can make the difference in you surviving or not. If you choose and advisor who only tells you what you want to hear, then you may want to think about getting someone who tells you the truth and holds you accountable.

This is by far not an all inclusive list. We feel it does show you many of the moving parts that must be addressed and coordinated to have as smooth a startup phase as possible.

If you look at successful pharmacy (and business) owners, they all have one thing in common. The ones who get the things they want have a system. This system typically results in more robust lives inside, outside and after pharmacy. This system is a requirement if you want to reduce the vulnerability you have during the startup phase of your life in pharmacy.

We challenge all of you who are at the sunrise of your life in pharmacy to get a system in place to manage this process. This will give you a better chance of having the life inside, outside, and after pharmacy you want and give your pharmacy the best chance to survive to the next generation.

Where Are You in The  Community Pharmacist Lifecycle?


Topics: community pharmacy, Community Pharmacist Lifecycle, pharmacy startup, pharmacy startup phase