As of 2020, approximately 62%-75% of pharmacists in the United States are women.
What about you? As glass ceilings continue to shatter and women begin to assume more leadership positions, it’s reasonable to ask, what’s next? Pharmacy ownership or expansion may be an option for you, and we want to help you take that next step in your professional career ascent.
Below are some suggestions to help you and other female professionals excel in independent pharmacies.
Networking done right can save you valuable time, effort, and stress. Building a strong professional network can give you access to the tools and information necessary to take your career as an independent pharmacist to the next level.
Networking with other women who might encounter similar struggles as you in the pharmacy field can also be critical in getting ahead. A recent study found that women who form a tight knit circle with other women who can share career advice are almost three times more likely to get a better job than women who lack such a support system.
So if you’re thinking about making changes or growing your career as a female pharmacist, reach out and establish connections with other pharmacy owners who may be able to share their real-world experiences and perspectives that can help inform your own career goals.
This can take the form of coffee dates, large conferences, professional development workshops, or reaching out to your current friends and colleagues to connect you with more professionals in their own worlds. If you, like many others, find that networking opportunities have shrunk since the beginning of the pandemic, consider how to expand your professional community via virtual networking.
Whether you’re already an independent pharmacy owner or just interested in exploring the possibility, it’s always valuable to continue learning the ins and outs of pharmacy operations. Sometimes the hardest part of pursuing a new opportunity is not knowing where to start, and performing your own research on what it means to own a pharmacy can help demystify the process.
As in any sector, small business ownership requires a huge investment of time, energy, and finances. Expansion or new ownership can include securing a new location, hiring staff, upgrading technology, and advertising to new patients and customers. Consider the type of lifestyle you have now, and what changes pharmacy ownership might incur. Do you crave more control over your schedule? More work life balance? Are you ready to take on a greater management role?
This process can seem daunting, but it doesn’t have to be. You can start by performing a small business audit to determine if your finances are ready for an expansion and help identify inefficiencies that can be addressed. Then, consider looking at relevant market research in your area to determine the needs of your existing or potential customers. Investigate average pharmacy wages to get a sense of staffing costs you should be aware of.
Your strengths and challenges will look different depending on your own experiences, so carefully consider the areas of the pharmacy industry that you know well and others that you could learn more about before diving into pharmacy ownership.
Before you decide to take the plunge into pharmacy ownership, or to expand your current practice, you should develop a business expansion plan to consider all of the necessities. Potential lenders will also want to make sure you’ve performed your due diligence, and before meeting with a lending officer, you’ll want to record your research and expansion plans to demonstrate why you’re a prime candidate for receiving financial assistance.
How do you plan to finance your independent pharmacy? How will you secure the cash flow to stay afloat? New businesses are especially vulnerable to startup costs – including real estate, staffing, inventory, and technology equipment – all of which can come as an unfortunate surprise without the appropriate research.
There are a variety of focused resources available from public, private and nonprofit organizations, including:
Don’t be afraid to reach out for help from your trusted advisors – or to help find those trusted advisors – and find what you need to be a successful business owner.