Your business plan is one of the most important steps in starting a pharmacy. Banks and investors want to see a pharmacy business plan before they discuss financing. But a business plan also helps you establish goals and prepare for successful operations and growth. It should include everything from start-up costs and décor to a detailed pharmacy marketing plan.

It’s a big job, so you’ll want to consult your attorney and financial advisor as you develop certain parts of your pharmacy business plan. They can help you make sure it’s detailed and realistic.

But ultimately, it’s your pharmacy. It’s your vision. And your pharmacy business plan should reflect it.

What should you include in your pharmacy business plan?

Here’s an overview of the key elements to include in a pharmacy business plan:

1. Mission statement. This section should emphasize how you’ll help patients aside from just filling their prescriptions. What do you hope to accomplish with your pharmacy? How will it serve the greater good of the community? The future of independent pharmacy is all about better patient care. Your mission statement should reflect that.

2. Executive overview. Sum up the main points of the pharmacy business plan you are about to lay out. You may also consider a table of contents here for better organization.

3. Ownership structure. Outline the ownership details of your pharmacy. If you’re the only owner, list your pharmacy business as a sole proprietorship. If you have partners, list it as a partnership.

4. Financial plans and projections. This is where your financial advisor and accountant can help. With their guidance, you should include the following points in this section:

  • Real estate costs to purchase, lease, build, and make any potential improvements
  • Financing details
  • Cash flow projections
  • Pharmacy systems
  • Automation/technology costs
  • Initial inventory costs
  • The costs of design and décor
  • Estimated management/staffing costs

5. Demographic analysis. What are the demographics in your pharmacy’s location? Who will be your customer base? The answers to this question will help you with other aspects of your plan.

Here’s what you should consider:

  • Age
  • Income
  • Gender
  • What preferred pharmacy network your patient population is using

6. Competitive analysis. Identify your competition. Then draw up a SWOT analysis: strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats. Understand your competitors in order to identify what gap your pharmacy will fill in the market and what your niche will be.

7. Your pharmacy’s advantage over the competition. What will your pharmacy give people that they’re currently lacking? Here are two ways to find out:

  • Analyze the population. Study the population and the prescribers in the area. Are there enough people to support your pharmacy? Are there enough prescribers for special services you want to offer?
  • Immerse yourself in the community. Speak with people in the area about their current pharmacy. What do they like or dislike about it? You might also talk with local physicians and ask what patient concerns they have. Do they struggle with medication adherence? Or vaccinating certain patients against diseases like shingles or influenza?

8. Specific planned offerings. Will you offer diabetes management? Home healthcare? Specialty drugs? Additional offerings give you an even better advantage over the competition and can help set you apart from other pharmacies.

9. Your plan to address current pharmacy trends. If you want to be successful, understand where the pharmacy business currently stands and where it’s going. For example, if you are opening a store right now, you might consider how to address medication adherence and spending more time with patients. These are two concerns that will become even more important in the future.

10. Your retail inventory. List which products you’ll sell aside from medication. Will you sell cleaning supplies? Toiletries? Beauty products? Use your population research to decide what mix will be best. For example, if your pharmacy will be next to a senior citizen community, you may stock different items than a pharmacy located in a busy downtown area with young working professionals.

11. A thorough pharmacy marketing plan. Marketing is often overlooked in an independent pharmacy’s business plan. Offering better customer service than the competition may keep people coming back, but it won’t get them in the door in the first place. Plan from the beginning how you’ll announce your arrival. You may consider using a freelance marketer to help put together a pharmacy marketing plan.

12. Contingency plan. It may seem odd to plan for the end of your pharmacy ownership before it begins. But speak with your lawyer and financial advisor about this step, because it’s an important one. It’s smart to have a contingency plan in place in case of an unexpected situation.

This list may seem long, but the more detailed you can be, the more prepared you’ll be for the future. Plus, lenders and potential investors will appreciate the attention to detail you’ve put into your strategy.

Keep in mind that your pharmacy business plan should be a living, breathing document. It can and should change as you refine your vision. Review and update it often as you make your way from pharmacist to pharmacy owner.

Related: Learn more about McKesson’s pharmacy ownership consulting services

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McKesson editorial staff is committed to sharing innovative approaches and insights so our customers can get the most out of their business solutions and identify areas for operational improvement and revenue growth.

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