While thinking of business ideas, especially those unaffected by the economic trends and fluctuations, the pharmacy business is an evergreen business that comes to mind and starting a medical shop is a great option for aspiring business owners.
Recently, there is a trend to purchase medicines online, which is a convenient option but it cannot beat the traditional countertop medicine shop. Instead, it can be an added service provided by the medical shop owners.
Medical shops provide-
The attendant at the medical shop will listen to the customers’ queries attentively before giving the medicines. Also, if the same brand medicine is not available the staff at the shop can suggest an alternate meditation (same ingredients for the same indication but different brand) which might not be possible on online sites. This personal attention is an advantage only possible in a shop.
Variety Of Drugs Available
Medical storehouses medicines of a lot of variety, both branded and generic therefore giving the customers a wide variety of options as well as medicines available within the budget too. This variety is usually not available on online stores.
Exchange Of Medicines
In most medical stores, the proprietor allows the medicines to be exchanged if they are sealed and returned within a certain time frame from the date of purchase. This is an advantage to certain customers, where the patient’s medication may have changed or stopped or other similar situations.
Most medicine shop owners are willing to provide home delivery of medicines within their locality, especially to the elderly patients, which is convenient and saves on time and resources for the customers.
24 Hours Service
There are several medicine stores, chiefly those located close to a hospital, that are open 24 by 7 and provide service all day long, which is beneficial for customers, especially in the case of emergencies.
The medical shop is a boon to society in general and a great, profitable business opportunity. Entrepreneurs who wish to start a medical shop need to learn a few basics and know about the requirements of the business in order to understand how to start a medical store before they can take the leap. A medical store is relatively easy to set up once the essentials of the business are known.
How To Start A Medical Shop
Create A Business Plan
What is a Business Plan? The A-Z of your business compiled in one document. A medical shop business plan will help you prioritize and categorize your business. This document will serve the dual purpose of attracting investors and guiding you on your entrepreneurial journey. It includes a detailed analysis of market competition, business description, capital expenditures & day-to-day expenses and other such important factors.
- The first step while learning how to start a medicine shop is to procure the medicines to be sold at the shop. These medicines can be procured either directly from the manufacturer or from wholesale dealerships.
- Purchasing from the manufacturer can allow the business owner to keep a healthy margin for profit since the manufacturer will provide the medicines at a comparatively lower price but the drawback is that the manufacturer will sell the medicines in bulk. Business owners might now find it feasible to maintain such a large stock, just to purchase medicines at a cheaper rate.
- The other option is to purchase medicines from local dealers who are in touch with the manufacturer and these dealerships supply medicines to a number of shop owners. The cost of purchasing medicines from these dealers might be a little higher compared to the manufacturer, thus lowering the scope for making a profit but these dealers supply medicines in smaller quantities too, as per the need.
- Further, the medicines must be stocked keeping the locality and the community in mind. For instance, in a locality with more elderly people, the shop can store more geriatric medicines while close to a nursing home, the shop can store more medicines for new mothers and newborn babies.
Finding The Location
- The location for the medical shop is of prime importance and needs to be selected based on several factors.
- Close To Hospitals- the main requirement for medicines is in a hospital or clinic. So it is best to look for space for the shop close to them in order to ensure higher footfall and greater sales.
- Storage Space- this is a must have factor for medicine shop as it needs ample storage space to store the various medicines catering to all age groups and for different indications and conditions.
- Away From Competition-the medicine shop must not be very close to another medical store as it leads to the distribution of likely customers between the two shops. Ideally, entrepreneurs must find a location where there are no competitors and there is a need for a medical store, such as close to an old age gated community or near a doctor’s clinic, etc.
- Accessible- the customers visiting the medical shop will most likely be patients and therefore the shop must be located such that it is easily accessible by everyone, including those in a wheelchair or with crutches or with injuries or disabilities.
- Additionally, the location of the medical shop will also be decided on the cost of the place. Commercial space in an area where higher-income residents stay will cost more but will also ensure more profits while a place in a comparatively lower income strata area will cost less but the scope for profits will also be lower.
Business Registration And Licences
- In order to start a medical store business, entrepreneurs need certain licences as well as registrations which are mandatory.
- Business Entity Registration – this is one such mandatory registration. The business entity is an organisation set-up by the business owners considering factors such as the size of the business, nature of the business, the number of members involved, capital requirement, etc.
- Business owners can choose from sole proprietorship, partnership, limited liability company or one person company as an entity for their business.
- Business entity registration helps provide recognition to the business, separate from the business owner. It also helps to gain the trust of the customers and even reduces some of the liabilities of the business owners.
- Pharmaceutical Licence– a pharmaceutical licence, also called as drug license, is required for setting up a pharmacy business and is usually under the purview of the State Drugs Standard Control Organization and the organisation checks the business’s storage facility, the technical staff, and area of proposed store in order to approve the drug license.
- Shop Act– the Shop Act is required for establishments present within the municipal limits and is designed to regulate the payment of wages, hours of work, leave, holidays, terms of service and other work conditions of people employed in the medicine shop.
- GST – the Goods and Services Tax is a taxation structure that was established to have a uniform taxation structure across the country and helps simplify the taxation process for the business owner and makes complying with the law easier. The GST registration is a must for all businesses dealing with goods and/or services.
Arranging For Funds
- Funds are required for starting a medicine shop, right from buying the medicines to investing in the space for the shop (either by buying a retail space or by renting it, depending on the availability of funds), to applying for the various registrations, to hiring and paying the staff of the shop, to purchasing the furnishing and for other expenses related to starting the medicine shop.
- All of this capital required can be obtained either from banks or non-banking financial institutions in the form of a loan or via savings or borrowings from friends and family.
- Entrepreneurs must list out their capital requirements in detail and have clear plans on how to fulfill these needs before starting the medicine shop.
Marketing And Advertising
- One of the most important aspects to know while learning how to start a medicine shop is to be aware of the need for marketing the business. Marketing refers to letting the locality and the community know about the business and diverting customers to the shop. Marketing and advertising help people become aware of the particular medicine store and help the business owner increase their sales.
- Marketing plays an important role as it acts as a competitive sales aid and supports the sales efforts of the business.
- Further, marketing helps to build brand identity and enhances brand recognition. Also, marketing helps in providing different business-related offers, discounts, and free coupons etc, which later enhances the sales activity.
- There are a number of ways in which the marketing for the business can be planned and executed, such as planning a grand opening of the shop and advertising about the opening via pamphlets, flyers, etc. Offering discounts on an opening day or having a loyalty program for regular customers. Additionally, advertising and marketing can be achieved by displaying the products in an attractive manner, or by tying up with doctors and physicians because referrals from these medical professionals can increase the consumer base, or by using social media platforms to advertise about the business via educative and informative posts.
- There are several marketing techniques that can be applied to the business to draw the customers and if business owners need marketing help they can always approach experts in the field.
It is easy for a pharmacist to start a medical store and deal with medicines and prescriptions on a daily basis but marketing the business might require help and assistance from experts, such as those at deAsra who can help the business reach out to a wider audience and larger market. These are some of the essential steps to be considered and followed to start a medicine shop.