No business remains the same over the course of its lifetime, from startup to exit.
by Mike Jaczko and Max Bearisto
This is certainly true of a pharmacy business where a pharmacist will often progress from being an employee to becoming an owner and then selling the practice to another pharmacist. This is what we call the pharmacy owner’s career lifecycle.
A successful business strategy ensures there is sufficient family capital to meet your goals and objectives upon retirement through an integrated wealth creation strategy.
The key business considerations for maximizing wealth creation in a pharmacy owner’s career lifecycle are affected through three components:
- Pharmacy Business: Adding value to your pharmacy business
- Structure: Optimizing corporate and capital review structure
- Planning and Asset Allocation: Creating a plan for now and in the future
Recent changes in government legislation have continued to place Canada’s pharmacy owners under further financial pressures, and the need for solutions that address these pressures is at an all-time high.
In addition, pharmacists face increasing cost of financing, while at the same time drug reform presents challenges for all banner programs. In this environment, past skills are no assurance of success in the future.
Just as pharmacists need to take a lifecycle approach to their clinical practice, they also need to consider an integrated lifecycle wealth management approach to the three main stages of their business:
Stage 1: Wealth Creation as a Pharmacy Owner – Young Lions
- Strategic operational advice to build your business profitability
- Advice on buying and expanding your pharmacy
- Financing alternatives
Stage 2: Mature Owner Operator – Experienced Lions
- Valuation of your pharmacy
- Tax-efficient corporate structure architecture
- Success and estate planning
- Preparing your store for an “efficient” sale
Stage 3: Transition into Retirement (Post-Sale) – Wise Lions
- Strategic wealth planning
- Asset allocation, protecting and building your investments
- Life coaching and establishing a new definition for success
We have found in working with pharmacist owners that they often face some common pitfalls in their planning:
- Failing to engage experienced and credible experts to prepare, negotiate and transact on your behalf. This may also involve retaining advisors who are not familiar with retail pharmacy or allowing overzealous advisors to drive your agenda.
- Allowing emotion to interfere with pragmatic decision-making.
- Implementing your strategy too late…or not planning at all!
Not surprisingly, they also have a number of fears that have little to do with their clinical expertise:
- I’ve been a builder all these years – what do I do next?
- Is my business properly structured to minimize taxes?
- Selling my business equates to loss of identity.
- I don’t wish to face my own mortality.
- Who will be my successor?
- How do I protect the equity I’ve worked for all my life?
- Do I have enough money to retire?
Here’s where an experience advisor can help. The path to successful lifecycle planning incorporates both a short-term and long-term strategy that respects your shifting goals – from building profitability to maximizing cash flow and ensuring lasting business value growth.
Mike Jaczko, BSc. Phm, RPh, CIM®, a pharmacist by background, is a portfolio manager, partner and member of KJ Harrison, a Toronto-based private investment management firm servicing individuals and families across Canada. For more information on this topic, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Max Beairsto, B.Sc. Pharm., MBA, CVA is a pharmacist and valuation analyst with Enterprise Valuators, an Edmonton-based business valuation firm that focuses on business valuations and sale advisory of small and mid-sized private companies.