Bringing in the next generation of pharmacy owners

John Thornett takes a look at finding the right partner to join your pharmacy business

Most of you will all remember the time you first bought into a pharmacy. The opportunity to have a crack at ownership. You were excited, nervous and panicking. But your boss had faith in you, gave you an opportunity, took a risk and here you are!

Some of you will be in that position now of being the boss and needing to bring in a partner. But how do you go about this?

It feels like you are about to be a contestant on “Married at First Sight”. Getting married with no courtship, and hoping it will work out. It’s a big risk. You need to able to identify that person who will be able to take on the role and excel. They need to identify opportunities, implement changes and grow the size of the pie. As you’re aware it is not easy.

Furthermore, not everyone is designed to be a business owner. Some pharmacists are damn good pharmacy managers, but that doesn’t necessarily make them a good owner. A good manager will take a set of instructions and ensure they are implemented. They follow systems and procedures with the utmost efficiency. An owner however, must see where the opportunities are, know the direction the business should go and where to grow the business. They are also risk takers and can lead a team towards a vision they have for the business.

Sometimes it is clear who the great future pharmacy owners are, but often there is some mentoring required on your behalf to see if they have what it takes. Finding a potential partner for your pharmacy is an investment of time but it’s important to take the necessary measures to finding the perfect suitor. We highly recommend that you start mentoring your senior pharmacists now.


1.      This helps you to identify the future talent.

2.      It helps you to see if they have what it takes to be a pharmacy business owner.

3.      It is good for them to see if this is what they really want.

4.      Allows both of you to work more closely together to see if the relationship would work (from a business perspective, not a romantic one).

I have listed for you below some ideas that you can do during this mentoring process to help you identify the real talent. Don’t forget this is not only for your benefit, it is also for the businesses benefit as well and the potential new partner.

1.      Engage in a planning day, to plan out the future of the pharmacy over the next 3 years. This is a great opportunity to invite them to be a part of the process and see what ideas they have about your business. It is surprising what ideas they have. They often don’t get the opportunity to express them.

2.      After the planning day, give them the responsibility of implementing some of these ideas. Allow them to plan it out, budget for the appropriate resources, develop the systems and procedures with the KPI’s they will be assessed on. The important KPI being it must make a profit.

3.      Give them some further KPI’s that they will be assessed on. Maybe even tie in an incentive scheme to the achievement of some or all the KPI’s. Make sure the indicators they will be assessed on are those they also can influence as well. Examples here could be quantitative measure such as stock purchasing budgets, wages budgets, customer number and script number targets, Medschecks, flu jabs, sales targets and GP$ targets. Also include qualitative measures such as customer service levels, team harmony, leadership qualities etc.

4.      Maybe even extend some of their responsibilities to see if they have what it takes to deal with certain issues. 

5.      Undertake your own 12 month mentoring program with them to see if you can progress them to a level where you think they would need to be to take on an ownership role. You will be surprised what you also learn through this process as well.

Now the issue nearly every pharmacist and budding pharmacy owner has had to face is their own lack of financial knowledge. Many simply do not have the knowledge behind them to understand the financial impact of the decisions they are making on a day to day basis. That is not their fault, it is just the reality of the training and education they have received to this point in their careers. Next to home ownership this will be the one of the biggest financial investments in their lifetime. It’s vital for your business that they understand as much possible about the financial impacts of owning a pharmacy.

Peak Strategies can help you with the process.

We can undertake a financial mentoring program with your junior partners to help them understand the financial numbers and KPI’s of your business. This will also enable them to start making better quality decisions that will improve your business financially. Most pharmacists about to become owners do not get this opportunity. This will enable them to have high quality training from WA’s leading pharmacy accounting experts. For you and your business, the mentoring program will save time at an affordable cost, whilst giving your junior partner the greatest chance of becoming a successful pharmacy owner.

Interested in the Junior Pharmacy Mentoring Program? Contact us on

P.S We offer this service to pharmacies Australia wide! We can arrange Skype for Business meetings with you and your potential new partner.

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