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15 Tips to Succeed as a Young Pharmacist in Nigeria

There is great joy in being addressed as a Pharmacist considering all the hardwork and sacrifices you had to make during the course of studying it. Recently, we published an article to help potential upcoming pharmacist to familiarize themselves with what is needed to become a Pharmacist in Nigeria.

In that article, we pointed out the basic steps you have to take right from when you made up your mind to become a pharmacist till when you have finally become one. Today, we are going to hint you on the best ways which you can follow in order to become successful.

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Life is a competitive venture. Just like Charles Darwin said in his theory of natural selection, “the strong survives while the weak gets eliminated”. This theory applies also in business and specifically in running a successful pharmacy.

Being successful is easy for those who think critically, quick in making observations and fast in seeking solutions to problems. Let’s face the fact, each and everyone who enters a pharmacy to buy drugs either has a problem or is connected to someone who has one.

No one in his right state of mind would want to buy and take drugs without any expectation of being cured for something he or she suffers from. What I am trying to stress out here, is that, any pharmacist who wants success would try his/her best to meet the needs of their patients.

This article will give you an insight of what it takes to be successful.

15 Tips to Succeed as a Young Pharmacist in Nigeria

1. Never underestimate the power of building connections

There is a saying that “if you don’t believe in cooperation, then you should look at what happens to a cart that loses one wheel”. Of course, such cart will eventually crumble and crash. While you are still in school, try as much as possible to build a working relationship with atleast 90% of your colleagues.

Get involved in activities that will lead you to meeting new people. We all need people at one point in time in our lives. You may not likely need your colleague in person but you might need him or her to lead you to someone whom you really want.

The best way of securing your future as a successful pharmacist is by building relationships with relevant people. With proper relationship, you may not need to struggle for long in order to create an impact.

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2. Go ahead and setup a strong business foundation

Running a successful Pharmacy is not something that is done by one person. You may not have studied business in school or maybe you just have a little experience in it, this doesn’t mean you can’t do it.

Check the lives of successful people in the world, most of them are successful not because of what they studied in school but because of their ability to discover and harness what they have inside them. Deep down you, there is a good business quality waiting for you to harness it.

Find a mentor and get advice from him or her, they say “experience is the best teacher” but I believe It’s wise to learn from others, other than yourself in order to save money. Put down your ego and reach out to those gurus who have been established already. Though most of them may see you as a competitor/rival, it will be okay if you meet those whom you are sure will be able to put you through.

Like I said earlier, running a successful pharmacy is not something you alone can handle. Hire some staffs to work with you; this will give you total focus on your business. You will have time to follow your profit trend and think of possible ways of maximizing your income.

3. Looks matters a lot

First of all, you have to work on the physical appearance of your pharmacy. You are dealing with drugs and therefore, it should be kept as clean as possible. The front section of your shop determines a rough estimate of 20% of your sales.

Keep your glasses clean and your counters/showcase neat always.

4. Build a good reputation and trust

What remains of every man aside from his family, is his reputation. You wouldn’t want your customers to know you as a fake drug dealer, or one who puts money over the healthy existence of his patients, right?

The level of trust your customers have on your products should be high, and that level of trust depends on you. Don’t associate yourself with something that will bring you temporary wealth but leaves a permanent stain of dishonesty and bad reputation in the minds of your customers.

Try to be nice with patients and train your staffs to be nice too. There is a way you can approach your customer and you end up giving him/her more hope to fight on while the reverse is also easy to occur.

5. Develop a never give up attitude

The great American wrestler named John Cena, is known for giving hope and high level of inspiration to his fans through his regular “Never give up” gimmick. You should understand that at first, running your Pharmacy may not yield that drum of wealth you dreamt of in your childhood.

Business grows slowly but progress can be boosted with proper techniques. You should train and prepare your mind to be able to welcome both success and failure. The number of times you fall is not what matters but how you bounce back and face the situation is what will force out the best in you.

6. Don’t like what you do, love what you do

You studied hard to become a pharmacist, maybe it wasn’t your intention to become one or you just got pushed into it by your parents. At this point, there is only one option left. You can progress in something you have no interest.

Don’t like being a pharmacist, rather, love being it. When you direct all your interest into being the best by standing out from the crowd of pharmacist, who keeps graduating yearly, from different institutions all over the country and the world at large. You will find out that you will do your best to succeed.

If you can get this number 6th tip, then achieving the 5th on this list is easier.

7. Identify, monitor and react to the key indicators in your business

There are some things you need to identify, monitor and react to. This includes your gross margin; how much sales do you make in a day? What drugs sale more? How much do I spend on my employees? What are my expenses on delivery? How much profit do I make per each goods sold?

Identifying, monitoring and reacting appropriately to these conditions will help you keep track of your progress and also reveal to you those areas you have to work on. In your resolve to help patients, you should also consider your business. Buying a drug at the cost of N3,995 and selling it at the price of N4,000 will help your customers but do you think it will help your business?

The truth is; your customers need your pharmacy to exist as much as you do. Try to maintain a balance between your profit margin and your price offer to patients in order not to run at a loss.

8. Embrace technology properly

We need not be told how much technology has made life easier. Try something different and unique and watch the result. Being a pharmacy student, in my own observation, I found out that most pharmacists are missing out by not exploring the goodies in technology.

In mentioning technology, you don’t have to invent your own machine to stay unique. There is one avenue online through which you can skyrocket your success as a pharmacist. In my observation, I found out that most pharmacist don’t have websites! Wow! What a huge miss out.

The power of the internet is not to be underestimated. You may not have the time to run your website, you can get someone do it for you. Creating awareness about your product in social media and blogs will help make people know about the existence of your business and they may want to try it out.

You can run an ecommerce shop, integrating affiliate marketing to get people involved in making your business go viral and also driving buyers which you can convert to regular customers back to you. To do this, you need reasonable capital because you might have to run a free delivery service. This is a quick checklist for exploring technology.

  • Create a website or blog
  • Publish useful health and drugs article which will have value to your readers, create awareness on latest gadgets available such as easy-to-use apparatus’ like the glucometer used for checking blood sugar level. Creating a post on that gadget and a means through which you can deliver it to your readers will help boost your sales.
  • Create a mobile app and email address. Customers can get in touch with you anywhere any time through emails. If you have implemented the use of websites to promote your business, then you can also use the email to your advantage through a technique known as email marketing. You can send regular newsletters to your customers informing them of your latest products.

9. Define a target audience, assess needs and expectations

Who are your customers? Which product gets the highest sales even in the toughest times? Which set of people buys from you? Studying sales pattern will help you determine your audience, and from there, you will be able to target them.

The product that gets the highest sales should never run out of stock, the same thing is applicable to others. How things work is really mysterious, it might just happen that the day you run out of stock, is the very day the product gets requested more.

10. Establish yourself as the local expert on Pharmacy related topics and trends

I can still recall that I needed orientation on pharmacy while I was still in school. With the collective efforts of students and the pressure mounted on the school management, we were able to get a 3 days career orientation programme.

Believe me, there are thousands of confused students out there, who would want to hear you address them and help explain things concerning pharmacy to them. So, what do you think will happen after spending time to clear the confusions from their mind? Obviously, you will become their role model.

You will gain popularity and they will also help spread your business to their parents, friends and relatives; little things matters a lot. Attending seminars and conference will also help you gain exposure. Featuring in media like television, radio, newspaper and magazines will help you a lot too.

11. Be expense vigilant

Avoid going into things that won’t yield more or raise the state of your business. Invest in something productive. It’s good to try new ideas but when the risk level is too high, it should be thought through or possibly aborted.

12. Train your staffs

You can turn your staffs into potential sales magnet by training them appropriately. Their work shouldn’t be limited to taking drugs off the counter and handing them off to customers or keeping sales records. You can actually gain more from them by creating periodic training sessions, giving corrections on what you’ve seen them doing wrong.

13. Create time for counseling and education

Most of your patients just walk into your pharmacy, hand you a list from their doctor and you deliver them the required medicine. Don’t you think they would have loved it more, if you took them inside your office, sit them down and educate them on the given drugs?

It would be cool for sure, and that would also prove to them that you also value their healthy existence and general well-being aside from the money you get from them. Create time for counseling.

14. Listen to your customers

This is very essential if you are going to have a working relationship with your customers. You should know that there are many pharmacies around, so if they should head straight to yours, then you should suck up to them in any way possible.

Listen to your customer’s request and try to meet them in the best possible way. This will make them trust you more, knowing that they will always get what they want, they can also refer people to you.

15. Reach out to the community

Have you forgotten where your pharmacy is located? It’s actually in a certain community. So, don’t you think you will attract more patronage by reaching out to them? Reaching out to them can be in various ways.

You can sponsor vaccination against certain diseases; this alone will attract the mothers to you for caring about their children. You can also create enlightenment programmes, skill acquisition opportunities and offer free giveaways. I am a Nigerian and you are a Nigerian too, I like free things the same way you do. So, who wouldn’t want to get a free drug that will help them stay healthy?

Read Also: How to Start a Pharmacy in Nigeria

Think critically about how to grow your business, ponder on ideas and find out what works. Never forget God in your dealings because he alone can make the impossible to be possible. Now that I have awakened your mind and opened your eyes to new ideas, it’s left for you to take action.

Success is all I wish you. Cheers!

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Patrick Okon

Patrick Okon is a content developer at InfoGuideNigeria.com. InfoGuide Nigeria is a team of Resource Persons and Consultants led by Ifiokobong Ibanga. Page maintained by Ifiokobong Ibanga. If you need a personal assistance on this topic, kindly contact us.

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