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Pharmpreneur of the week Kyle Boggio: "I don’t like to rest on 'good enough'.”

Seeing customers who are able to regain control over their health, reduce burden on their caretakers or even just express joy with the experience that a member of the Boggio family of pharmacies gave them puts a smile on my face and pushes me to keep striving for improvement.
Kyle Boggio


Education: B.Pharm, University of Sydney, Australia.  

Role/Title:  pharmacist/owner. I haven't given myself a title, but I would sum up my day to day up as working with the management team to streamline, grow and improve our operation. I split a lot of responsibilities with my business partner/brother Aaron Boggio, who is as much of an entrepreneur as I am and a huge motivator in my professional career. There is some overlap between us, but I would describe my split of the business as working with the managers responsible for accounting/reporting, it, home health care, central fill operations and retail operations while he works with our designated managers and the professional practice side of things, dispensary operations, human resources, and marketing/advertising.

What excites you about being an entrepreneur?  

I think that the most exciting part about being an entrepreneur is the fact that no two days are the same. There is always a new challenge that presents itself. Being an entrepreneur allows you to wear one of 100 different hats at any time to find the best outcome for the situation at hand. It is especially gratifying when you find a solution to something, systemize it and use it as a point of leverage to further improve the business as a whole.  

How has your entrepreneurial career evolved since your graduation?  

I started my career as a pharmacist being thrust into a management position at an underperforming store. The store was overstaffed, losing money, and there were essentially no systems or processes in place to make any progress. It was a lot of work, (and more 80+-hour weeks than I would like to count) but over the next four years, I worked my way through every aspect of that pharmacy and systematically rebuilt it from the ground up. By the time I found a manager to replace my day to day in the dispensary, I had doubled sales, right-sized the staffing, rebuilt the culture and aligned that pharmacy for continued growth and success. By being intimately involved in every process and every aspect of the operation, I was able to learn what was necessary to be a better pharmacy operator. It was at this point that my career shifted into trying to achieve the same type of progress on the other locations in our group.

Since turning my attention on the group, I have rolled out several services and standardized processes to streamline our operation across the seven locations we operate. Some of these services include: a central fill facility that packages strip, dispill and dosette packaging; a compounding pharmacy that fulfills orders centrally for our other locations; centralized front store merchandising, purchasing and support; a rapidly growing home healthcare operation that includes seating and mobility specialists and a strong retail presence in each location; a centralized accounting and reporting team that monitors and tracks key performance indicators across all business units at every location (this is also currently undergoing a digital change process to become a highly automated unit); and finally, centralizing our HR administration so they can work with the on-site managers to ensure they are appropriately staffed as well as take back-end processes off frontline staff (payroll, scheduling, employment records etc.).  

I guess in summary, you could say that my work has gone from obsessing over every single task and thing that I came across to obsessing over building a great management team that cares for our business and moves our operation forward.

What was your key driving force to become an entrepreneur?  

I think that it is my never-ending curiosity and my deeply competitive nature. There is always a new tool to use, or better way to do something, or further level of streamlining that can be achieved. I don’t like to rest on “good enough” and I am driven to continue to find that additional level of improvement, no matter what it is that we are trying to improve. As an entrepreneur, you have an infinite level of “better” that you can aim for. Whether you are a one-store owner who wants to see their Google rating move from four to five stars or you own four stores and want to see some centralized operational streamlining to improve the margins of your company, there is always another level you can go to, you just need to figure out what is meaningful to you! I look forward to seeing the challenges that I face as I go from seven stores to 10 or 15!  

How do you define success?  

From an organizational level, I feel that when my customers and patients are successful at navigating their health challenges, we have achieved success. When we can provide solutions that enable them to be better in their day to day lives it is immensely gratifying, and that gratification is the reason that I do what I do.  

On a personal or individual level, I define success as having complete control over my time. Not going into work because I have to, but because I want to is an important aspect of that. Also, being able to control what I work on, setting direction and having as much control as possible over the work I do all plays into this.

As a successful entrepreneur, what continues to drive you?  

The positive customer interactions. When I am at my stores and hear from a customer about a great and positive experience that they have had working with one of my team members it tells me that my organization is going in the right direction. Seeing customers who are able to regain control over their health, reduce burden on their caretakers or even just express joy with the experience that a member of the Boggio family of pharmacies gave them puts a smile on my face and pushes me to keep striving for improvement.  

What are the biggest challenges to being an entrepreneur?  

Things often don’t go as planned. So many things sit outside your control, and you just need to find ways to manage them. Staff may quit with no notice. Your delivery driver gets into an accident with the company vehicle. Someone drives through your front door by accident. The computer server crashes in the middle of a busy day. A customer slips and falls in your parking lot and you get sued. I could honestly write a book with all the crazy things that happen out of the blue! Recognizing that placing blame or getting caught up in the minutiae of it doesn’t help, and instead acting to solve the problem at hand will immediately elevate you as an operator.  

As much as you want to plan around things and have them go well, stuff happens and you just have to deal with it. The quintessential example of this can be explained by the entire COVID experience for frontline workers and healthcare professionals. Every day was a whole new experience and there was no point in getting upset about it or complaining. You just had to dig your heels in, figure it out, and grind it out even harder. It was also a moment that burnt out a lot of members of the pharmacy profession (myself included) and there were many times during the past several years that I was struggling to find the energy to get up and do it all again.  

The toughest part about burnout and being an entrepreneur is that it isn’t always possible to “step away.” Your business may not be in a place that you can step away. You may not have staff, or you can’t afford to from a monetary perspective to take the time off.  An employee can walk away and do something else, or book a holiday, or call in for a sick day any time. As an entrepreneur you just simply can’t sometimes and that really takes a toll. Especially if you are already experiencing some burnout. The best advice I can give an entrepreneur on the verge of burnout is to take things one day at a time. You will work your way out of it, just give it time and try not to push yourself too far. When you’ve managed to get out of the rut, don’t let off the gas. You need to build the systems, processes and people around you to prevent reverting back into whatever got you into that position in the first place.  

How do you manage work/life balance?  

If you asked me this question before March of 2020 I would have laughed and said “what is work/life balance!” I was a full-on, hard-working, non-stop kind of person. I was working full-time as a pharmacist and full-time running the business. If I wasn’t at the store, I was involved in the fundraising committee for United Way or Big Brothers, Big Sisters, or at a “Business after Five” event with the local chambers of commerce. After a small battle with my own mental health coming out of COVID, it was clear that work-life balance needed to take an absolute forefront in my life.

Some practical tips for managing work/life balance that work for me: If it is urgent, it is a phone call. If it can wait for tomorrow, it is an email. I often joke with staff that if they call me after hours the store had better be coming down!

Separating your home time from work time used to be much easier before the invention of cellphones. Establishing boundaries is important to manage that work/life balance. I expect my management team to establish similar boundaries with their teams as well. 

I really try to keep the time I spend at the pharmacies to less than 35-40 hours a week. If I am working from home, I do it at times that I am not interfering with my time with my family. If you want to have a long career as an entrepreneur, try to treat it as a marathon, not a sprint.  

What books/resources do you recommend for every entrepreneur to check-out?   

If you own a business and want to learn how to grow and scale, anything from Gino Wickman’s “Traction” series is great. It establishes the “Entrepreneurial Operating System” and it is a great way to learn to delegate and elevate your operation.  

“Endurance” is the story of Ernest Shackleton’s tumultuous voyage to Antarctica. It is a lesson in resilience and perseverance. Excellent read for anyone who leads a team of people. “Screw It Let’s Do It” by Richard Branson is the story of how Virgin went from a record label to the lifestyle brand it grew into. Richard Branson gives a master class in how to take his ADHD diagnosis and leverage all of its pain points and strengths to be an exceptional entrepreneur. This book resonated exceptionally well with me and was an early motivator for me to enter into entrepreneurship.

What advice would you give to colleagues who want to become entrepreneurs?  

It isn’t going to be easy, but it will be incredibly rewarding. However hard you think running a business will be, multiply that by 10 and ask yourself if you are still up for the challenge. If you think you are ready for it, jump in with both feet and be ready to put yourself to work! All of this sounds cliché but if you have the curiosity, drive, some perseverance and the right attitude, you can do great.  

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