IF Business Broking Pharmacy broker blog

Pharmacy Junior Partnership Case File - Vikesh Kumar

by Ian Fedrick
in Pharmacy
14 Sep 2016
Ian Fedrick

Pharmacy Junior Partnership Case File –Vikesh Kumar

It is great to see young pharmacists achieve their goal of breaking into ownership via the junior partnership pathway. Even better when they prove themselves and achieve success in the business and as a result get further opportunities to grow with the pharmacy group and become a partner in multiple stores. I sat down and asked Vikesh Kumar some questions to find out his keys to successfully breaking into pharmacy ownership in 2015.

Quote from Vikesh “You must have an owner mentality & work ethic even before you become an owner, start early and stay late”.

Background on Vikesh

He started working in a pharmacy in 2004 when he was in his 2nd year of his degree, Friday, Saturday and Sunday at Giant Chemist Harbour Town. Vikesh also gained experience at the Paradise Centre Pharmacy and Terry White Chemists Robina where he did his internship. He stayed at TWC Robina for 4 years and became the dispensary manager. I first meet Vikesh in 2013 and was most impressed with his passion and enthusiasm, we stayed in touch and caught up for a coffee a year later when he revealed his goal of getting into ownership via a junior partnership.
Early 2015 I was engaged by the Infinity Group to find a couple of suitable junior partners for some of their existing stores. That is when I introduced Vikesh to Ameet (AJ) and so began his journey which has seen Vikesh become a partner in Albert Street and very soon another 4 pharmacies in a regional city.

Question 1-: Keys to successfully breaking into ownership/partnership?
Answer-: Need to know the whole business of pharmacy, you get a fantastic degree from university but if you don’t have a strong work ethic is doesn’t open doors for you. You must be prepared to try different things, have the courage to back yourself and be confident in what you do.

Question 2-: Why the partnership pathway?
Answer-: Always had a keen interest in business and from an equity point of view given how expensive pharmacies are to buy a partnership made financial sense. Pharmacy is a complex business and it is good to have mentors that have done what you want to do so they can show you the way. More control of your own destiny than being an employed pharmacist, see a brighter future as a partner in a progressive group.
Knew he worked better in a team environment and able to work with others that bring different skill sets to the business, as he said pharmacy is a complex business. “You can be part of a brand/franchise and only get the benefits of the brand, what you need is the experience benefits of working with partners.”

Question 3-: What has been your experience going through the process to becoming a partner and having to prove yourself first?
Answer-: The experience was good, knowing about the opportunity with the Infinity Group through contact with Ian was the first step. Understanding what the opportunity was from the get go was important and given a clear pathway how the process would work inspired Vikesh to do well.
Woking in the store first and proving yourself and at the same time getting to know the business partners and how the group operates is important to reduce risk before entering into a partnership and buying into the business. All parties must have confidence in the transaction before proceeding, understanding the culture and performance of the pharmacy.

Question 4-: What has been the benefits or dis-advantages of coming into a pharmacy partnership? –Outside advice and trusting your gut instincts?
Answer-: Benefit is you have skin in the game, get to try things that hopefully build your own equity and not someone else’s like when you are an employee. Your effort comes back to you in some way shape or form. From the start working with the framework set out was fundamental to the process of coming into the pharmacy partnership smooth, you knew exactly where you stood.
There is advice and good advice, it is a business transaction and it is up to you to make your own call. Take advice from someone who has done what you are considering. Sure family might have an opinion or give you advice but if they are not experienced in business or know pharmacy then maybe you need to put that aside and trust yourself to make the right decision.

Question 5-: How important is it to be flexible and willing to travel and/or relocate for an opportunity?
Answer-: If you really want to get a break into pharmacy ownership it is unlikely to be on your doorstep. Obviously personal situations are different but really good opportunities exist outside the capital cities, generally lower entry cost, lower expenses and more profitable. Give it a go at least and see if you like it before considering the junior partnership.

Question 6-: How to identify if the opportunity is right for you?
Answer -: Work in the pharmacy for a minimum of 12 – 16 weeks, get to know the customers and staff. Look at the current business as a whole and future opportunities for growth and improvements. (Do your own SWOT analysis)

Question 7-: Have you got some advice for other young pharmacists with a dream of pharmacy ownership/junior partnership? What actions should they take?
Answer-: Your pharmacy degree gets you a ticket into the door but it will be your work ethic that gets you the partnership opportunity. As soon as possible if you have the notion or thought of one day becoming a partner or owner then your work ethic must match that of an owner, you must adopt a business mentality not an employee mentality as soon as possible. Vikesh was asked what’s different now he is an owner, his answer was nothing is different, still doing the same amount of work he has been used to the past 8 years. The bonus is getting a distribution as well as his salary.

Vikesh wanted to say how grateful he is for the opportunity that Ameet Jeraj (AJ) and the infinity Group have given him. The industry needs more leaders to give the next generation the opportunities to succeed and grow. Introducing motivated and enthusiastic junior partners is a proven strategy that successful pharmacy groups have embraced and allowed them to expand.

I am so pleased that it has worked out for Vikesh and AJ and appreciate Vikesh letting me share his story and taking the time to be interviewed.

IF Business Broking has a proven framework and process for finding and introducing potential junior partners. I am always happy to give my time to meet or speak with young pharmacist who are highly motivated and have a strong desire to become a pharmacy owner via the partnership pathway.

Written by-: Ian Fedrick, Director IF Business Broking

September 2016

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