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12 business resolutions for pharmacist-owners in 2024

The new year – still fresh – presents an opportunity not only to look back at all that was accomplished over the past 12 months, but also to look ahead and set priorities for the new year. That is especially the case if you are preparing to put up your pharmacy for sale within the next five years or so, because that is how long a successful business sale transaction can take in the pharmacy industry.

We offer a unique level of support to pharmacist-owners, helping them every step of the way in the sale of their business, and beyond. From operational reviews, through transaction advisory, post-closing counsel and strategic wealth management, we provide end-to-end support that can take a lot of the complexity and worry out of selling a pharmacy. In other words, we’re here to help.

Even so, there is no substitute for pharmacist-owners themselves taking control of their ownership journey and preparing for the inevitable day when they will exit their business. Doing that the right way involves planning, effort and commitment. And there’s no better time to plot your course and refocus your energy than the start of a new year.

To help you do that, we offer the following 12 business resolutions for pharmacist-owners in 2024: 

Improving operational efficiency and productivity.

  1. Check staffing levels and roles. Are you spending too much or not enough on staff? We have encountered many pharmacies where owners are spending far in excess of industry benchmarks on wages. And sometimes “right-sizing” your staff is more of a “right-roling” effort – for instance, making sure highly paid pharmacists are not doing work that lower-paid technicians are qualified to perform. 
  2. Bring your dispensary practice and workflow into the 21st century. Innovations like appointment-based models, automation and other technologies can dramatically improve dispensary efficiency and create more satisfied customers.
  3. Inject some fun into your pharmacy. Here’s a challenge for 2024: Think of three ways to make the experience offered by your store more engaging, warm and interesting for customers and staff. Then put them into practice.

Preparing for transition and retirement. 

  1. Find a trusted advisor to lead your transition dream team. When you are preparing to sell your pharmacy, don’t overlook the need for someone to coordinate and direct the efforts of you and your other advisors. Your “quarterback” can be any member of your advisory team, if they have the right skills and attitude, or you can enlist the aid of a reputable transaction advisory firm. 
  2. Focus on your accounting practices and clean them up. One of the first things a sophisticated pharmacy buyer will look at is the books. So, in 2024, resolve to keep your business’s account statements up to date and accurate. 
  3. Review corporate structure to ensure a tax-efficient transition. The sale of a pharmacy is a (hopefully) significant liquidity event, and it only makes sense to minimize the amount you will have to pay in taxes. There are several strategies available, so meet with a transaction advisor and/or a tax expert to figure out what approach might be right for you.

Reaching your goals and setting your expectations when selling your store. 

  1. Invest in a credible, accurate, evidence-based business valuation. When planning for your transition out of pharmacy, there is no substitute for a solid valuation of your business.
  2. Educate yourself about the sale process. The ultimate responsibility for a sale transaction’s success or failure lies with you, the owner. So, before you begin, take some time to educate yourself about the basic steps involved.
  3. Think about your ideal buyer – and how to find one. Well before you put up your pharmacy for sale, identify the characteristics of your ideal buyer and write them down – and remember that those characteristics do not have to be – and maybe should not be – all about money. 

Transitioning with your eyes open.

  1. Develop your strategic wealth plan. Selling your business will likely be the most significant monetary event of your life. Work with a wealth advisor to develop a strategic wealth plan.
  2. Know the differences between being a pharmacy owner/operator and being an investor. When you transition out of pharmacy ownership, you are no longer an entrepreneur. You are an investor, and your mindset has to change. Get the help you need and consider enlisting the services of a qualified, experienced wealth advisor. 
  3. Avoid the common investing mistakes. Often, being a successful investor doesn’t require being smarter or better informed or richer than everyone else; it simply requires recognizing your blind spots and avoiding pitfalls.

If these 12 resolutions sound like a lot to take on in 2024, well…they are! We know that, and in future articles we will explore each of the above “resolutions” in greater depth. 

Remember, the business of transitioning out of a business is not simple. As a rule, the better prepared you are, the better the outcome will be. So, take some time to gauge where you are in your pharmacy ownership journey and take the appropriate steps to get ready. And if you need help, our team of experienced advisors are here to provide it.

Here’s to a prosperous – and well-planned – 2024!

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