The Startup Magazine 6 Mistakes to Avoid When Starting an Independent Pharmacy


If you decide to open an independent pharmacy, you’ll probably get lots of advice on how to succeed. Some companies online will give you advice and provide administrative assistance during the first phases of your operation. However, it can be helpful to learn about the pitfalls experienced by others who have been through the same process. Here is a guideline for things to avoid when launching your independent pharmacy startup.

independent pharmacy startup
Close Up Of Senior Man Organizing Medication Into Pill Dispenser

1. Don’t Minimize the Planning Phase

Once you decide to open your company, it’s understandable to be excited and want to open as soon as possible. However, a detailed business plan will help you and your team outline your strategy and ensure none of the necessary steps are skipped. Be sure each member of the management team understands their role and what part(s) of the business they are responsible for. Research the financial aspects of business, and be sure you have a plan for meeting those financial obligations when they arise.

2. Don’t Miss Any Legal Obligations

Any business needs a license and a tax ID number to do business, so meeting those requirements shouldn’t surprise you. To clarify who will officially be responsible for your independent pharmacy startup, you’ll need to decide if you will be the only owner (sole proprietorship) or if you will have one (or more) partner. Your state’s board of pharmacy will determine which legal requirements must be met – including a DEA number, a National Provider Identification (NPI) number, and a National Association of Boards of Pharmacy (NABP) number. For legal purposes, you will also need an Employer Identification Number (EIN.)

3. Don’t Forget Fire Safety

When opening a pharmacy, fire safety may be the furthest thing from your mind. However, your business will need a fire protection system compliant with the NFPA25 Code. According to that code, your fire protection system must have scheduled visual and functional tests to ensure they are current and operational. Those tests must be done monthly, quarterly, semi-annually, annually, and then repeated every five and 10 years.

4. Don’t Choose an Office Design Just for Looks

You may have an idea of what you’d like your pharmacy to look like, but the design of your business should be planned strategically. Keep in mind the success of your business will depend on how comfortable your clients will feel when they come into the pharmacy. It will also be essential to plan the design of the area where your pharmacists and techs will be moving and working. Get ideas by visiting other independent pharmacies and looking at their layout before settling on your office design.

5. Don’t Dispose of Hazardous Waste Carelessly

Every business creates waste, and pharmacies are no exception. Whether your pharmacy’s waste comes from discarded medications, waste from chemotherapy, or used sharp utensils, be sure you know and understand your state’s regulations for hazardous waste disposal. Companies that don’t comply with those regulations can incur daily fines of up to $37,500 per incident.

6. Don’t Post All Your Hiring Inquiries Online

When your store opens, you will need pharmacists and techs, as well as cashiers, to work there. Many companies make the mistake of only posting their job openings online. However, statistics have shown that while jobseekers can find some job openings online, 80% of job openings aren’t posted there. It is often advantageous for companies seeking professional employees to do so by using professional journals or contacts they have within the industry.

Starting a new business always comes with its challenges, and your pharmacy business will bring you many challenges to overcome. Your planning phase will help you create a clear plan to guide you, and then you can strategically carry out that plan. By avoiding mistakes that have impeded the progress of other pharmacies, you’ll set yourself up for success. Best wishes for your new independent pharmacy startup!


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