Nigeria is a great land of opportunity for business people, whatever sector they may be. There is a market for almost anything you can think of. Knowing this, be confident that whatever business you start, nurtured well, will bloom into something beautiful, and of course profitable. Pharmacy business in Nigeria is certainly one of those businesses.
Today I will tell you how turning your sights to pharmaceuticals can make you smile every time you see the figures in your bank account. Pharmacy business also know as chemist shop in Nigeria is a multi billion naira business opportunity.
Why Start a Drug Store/pharmacy?
Sometimes I wonder how so many people fit into such a small looking country. Nigeria has quite a large population, and sadly a corresponding large number of sick people. How often do you hear the words “I have a cold”, or “I have a headache”, or “its malaria”? These are a few very minor examples but thankfully when it comes to pharmaceuticals as a business, the more sick people the better.
Frankly speaking though, in Nigeria, pharmacies are some of the most visited places, because there are always people in ill health. Those people need medication and I’m sure you know that where there is a need, there is business.
Follow these steps and you’ll start a business that’s profitable not only to you but to the community too.
Types of Pharmacies in Nigeria
The healthcare available to most citizens in Nigeria is below par at best. Most people simply cannot afford good healthcare. This heralds the current situation, in which people take their troubles to the government run hospitals, where healthcare is more affordable.
When they’re there, those who need medication are given prescriptions, and are usually directed to the (i) hospital pharmacies, where often the case is that the medication they need is not in stock!! Then patients are referred to nearby (ii) retail/community pharmacies, where they find the drugs they need.
This article will instruct you on how to start a community pharmacy.
Step 1 – Register your business
You can open up shop, buy drugs and start selling them, but that would most likely end with you in a cell because there are rules guiding the sale of drugs, implemented by the Pharmaceutical Council of Nigeria (PCN). So, register with the PCN. The list of their requirements is available on their website, here
You also have to register with the Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC). You can do this yourself but it is advisable to go through a lawyer.
I must mention that according to PCN requirements, there has to be a Pharmacist present to start and direct the pharmacy. If you are one, then that’s covered. If not you could partner with one, or hire one. All in all, make sure that you have a qualified pharmacist.
Step 2 – Research your Pharmacy Niche
a. Should you build a pharmacy from scratch?
b. Should you buy an already existing pharmacy
c. Should you start with a franchise?
B and C both have the benefit of an already established customer base.
With C, the name/brand is already known, so there is a customer base already established, people will visit because they already know the brand. You’ll have to make an agreement with the brand owner and stick to the directives of the agreement. Make sure you pick a good, profitable pharmacy to franchise with.
B could cost the most depending on the state of the business you’re buying. Regardless, you can retain all the same customers, with a business that’s already making profits. Similar to C, no PCN registration needed. You could even retain employees who already work there.
With A, You have the opportunity to build the business from the ground up. Starting this way could take the least time to set up and possibly the least capital.
Find out all your options before you make a choice.
Step 3 – Choose the Right Location
As part of the requirements, The PCN will carry out an inspection of your location and decide whether it is suitable for operation. Finding the right location is extremely important for your business. You have to do proper research into this. Being near a large hospital is usually a good option, patients who need drugs will come to you. Or you could be located in a residential area, or a business community.
Where should you set up?
Wherever you set up, you must be easily visible, your business should be in broad view of passers-by, so people will notice the store. This is crucial for a startup.
Find out if;
– There are other thriving businesses nearby. If there are then it’s likely that the area is good for business. Nearby offices will also provide a potential source of customers.
– There are other pharmacies nearby. Large established pharmacies will likely pose a lot of competition to you. But with better customer service and services provided, such an obstacle can be overcome.
Your focus should be maximizing the use of space. A structure that’s easy for your customers to move around, and attractive too. Ensure that there is room for parking outside the pharmacy. All decisions made should be centred around ease of access and ease of use for customers.
Step 4 – Items you Need to Buy
Purchase all equipment needed. Depending on the size, all or some of these may be needed;
– Cash register
Arrange the store in a way that is easy to maneuver, and convenient to use. Keep clutter away, make sure everything is always neat and organized.
Step 5 – Stock up Drugs of Different Brands
This is very important.
You want a consistent supply of genuine NAFDAC and NDLEA approved drugs. So it’s best to work with a reputable, reliable supplier, who’ll supply you with drugs that carry no question marks. You must be known for quality products and customer service.
You also have to ensure that the supply is regular, so you’re never out of drugs that customers need.
This is also crucial to your success. The people you employ must be credible, qualified and trustworthy. If you’re a pharmacist, you may not need to employ one, but you will need someone to stand in for you on days when you may not be around.
Depending on the size of your pharmacy, you may need some or all of these;
– A pharmacist
– An accountant
– A cashier
– A stock worker
– A manager
– A security guard
It is important that you make it clear to your employees that keeping your customers happy is the top priority.
Stock workers should keep track of the amount of drugs remaining, reload the shelves and keep them neat and organized.
Ensure to keep good records. Everything should always tally.
Step 7 – Start Marketing
Market your pharmacy before it even opens. Implementing good marketing and advertising strategies is important to success. You can partner with doctors in the area, so that they will refer their patients to you.
Step 8 – Look for Additional Funding
This is really one of the first steps to take. If you’re not funding the business yourself, then you will have to raise the capital. You could take a loan from the bank, from friends and family. Or you could seek out investors. Whichever routes you choose, one of the key things to successfully raising the money is a concrete business plan. Banks and investors will be willing to invest knowing what they stand to gain from doing business with you. So, develop an Ironclad business plan, and you’ll open doors to achieving your goals.
There it is. With this, you should have sufficient knowledge on how to start a pharmacy in Nigeria. All you have to do now, is go out there and put this knowledge to good use.