Like grocery shops and hair salons, a pharmacy is a business that will always thrive because people will always rely on pharmacies for their medical-related needs. Many pharmacies in Nigeria are state-owned and therefore impossible to join as an outsider, but there are also plenty of privately-owned pharmacies, which can become your new business idea. Here is how to start a pharmacy business in Nigeria!
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1. Choose your type of pharmacy
In Nigeria, a private pharmacy can be opened independently or as part of a franchise. Both types of pharmacy business have their advantages and disadvantages: for example, opening a franchise pharmacy is easier from a legal standpoint but requires you to follow some very strict franchise standards, while an independent pharmacy requires a smaller capital but can only be launched by a certified pharmacist or in a partnership with one. At the end of the day, the choice depends on your startup capital, your goals, and your experience in the pharmacy business.
2. Register your business
Attempting to sell medicine in Nigeria without the necessary permissions will result in legal and financial troubles, so it’s best not to be attempted. As an aspiring pharmacy owner, you will need to register your business at the Corporate Affairs Commission, which is a mandatory step for most new business, as well as at the Pharmaceutical Council of Nigeria that will make sure that your new business complies with the statewide pharmacy regulations.
3. Secure your capital
Opening even just one pharmacy is a capital-intensive business and you can’t open it with ₦50,000 or even ₦100,000 in your pocket. The potential expenses in launching a pharmacy include renting the space, buying the furniture, equipping your pharmacy with the necessary tools, and hire personnel – a pharmacist, a cashier, a security guard, and possibly even some attendants if you are planning to launch a big pharmacy. Overall, your expenses are likely to be well over ₦1 million and more, depending on the location and the scale of your business.
4. Choose a good location
The location of your pharmacy accounts for a significant part of the success of your business. Ideally, you want to open a pharmacy not far from a local hospital, but not directly next to it since many patients will buy drugs directly from the hospital pharmacy. There should also be a lot of foot traffic, such as markets, business centres, and popular residential areas, as your patrons probably won’t travel too far even to the best pharmacy they’ve ever seen.
5. Build up your stock
In some pharmacies, drugs are made directly on-site by a trained pharmacist according to the customer’s prescription. However, this type of pharmacy is rather rare and in most cases, you will be working with medicine from the major pharmaceutical manufacturers. To avoid the hassle of contacting each manufacturer individually, you need to find a reliable wholesale supplier with a wide variety of available products, a loyal attitude to his customers, and favourable prices with regular discounts.
6. Hire the personnel
Even if you are a certified pharmacist, there is no way you will be able to run your pharmacy on your own. At the very least, you will need a cashier, a cleaner, and an accountant to manage the finances. For a bigger pharmacy, you may also need a supply manager, one or two attendants, and a security guard to keep order. If you are planning to do deliveries, you will need a delivery person, preferably with their own vehicle. Additionally, you may need a part-time system administrator for your pharmacy’s computer equipment.
7. Promote your business
Relying only on the foot traffic may give you a good start, but if you want your business to grow, you will need to promote it. Both online and offline marketing techniques work well for pharmacies: for example, you can give your online followers a discount code for their next purchase or hand out flyers in the street with a small discount to anyone who comes to you with a flyer in hand.
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