Dear Colleagues! This is Asrar Qureshi’s Blog Post #705 for Pharma Veterans. Pharma Veterans welcome sharing of knowledge and wisdom by Veterans for the benefit of Community at large. Pharma Veterans Blog is published by Asrar Qureshi on WordPress, the top blog site. Please email to firstname.lastname@example.org for publishing your contributions here.
Suggestions for Making and Running a Successful Enterprise
We have seen various types of entrepreneurs and we have seen a host of reasons that contribute to failure of enterprises.
Let us say again that over 90% entrepreneurial ventures fail, some even after five years. Two inferences must be drawn here. An enterprise is established after great endeavors against odds, and an enterprise is not safe unless it attains a certain size. Anything can happen, but usually, the chances of debacle reduce with increase in size; like the tagline of Godzilla movie said, “Size Does Matter”. Secondly, establishing an enterprise consumes the entrepreneur before it starts paying off. The incumbent must be ready for this.
We now develop suggestions for strong start, better performance, and long-term survival of enterprises.
Objectively Review Your Own Commitment, Expertise, and Resources
Objective review may be a difficult task, but it is essential. We are mostly subjective in our approach and therefore, try to fill big holes in plan with statements like ‘I know this’, ‘I shall handle this’, ‘Do not worry, I shall take care of it’, and so on. This must be replaced with objectivity and clarity about what is and what is not. The relevant questions may be formulated as follows:
- Am I fully convinced that going into my own business is the best course for me?
- Have I tried and exhausted all other avenues?
- Am I the business type or job type person?
- Shall I stand firm in the face of difficulties?
- Shall I sacrifice my usual leisure time, family time, friends’ time, and easy life?
- Do I know how to run the business?
- Have I understood the major and finer points of running my own business?
- What are my resources?
- How far can I go with my resources?
- Have I allocated enough money for my family for six months at least?
- If needed, can I arrange more resources? And from where?
- How shall I divide my resources between infrastructure, stock, and the team?
- How shall I maintain accounts?
- Am I financially disciplined in my normal life?
Choose your segments wisely
Segments apply to disease areas, geographical areas, and product categories. Therapeutic segment and products are directly related but still choices need to be made. Some relevant questions may be formulated as follows:
- What is my personal segment of strength?
- Will it be relevant to my own business? If not, am I willing to drop it?
- Is the chosen segment growing fast?
- How many competitors are here already?
- Am I on very good terms with certain number of doctors? How many? Will they support me?
- Which products can I get? Are they greatly suitable for my own business? Or barely suitable?
- How good is my supplier/source of drugs?
- What is my supplier’s financial status?
- What is my supplier’s history and reputation?
- Will my supplier support me if I have financial crunch?
Write your complete plan – Marketing, Sales, Supplies, Distribution, Finance
Another critical area is to write down complete plan with as many details as may be necessary. I mentioned earlier that pharma people are trained in making plans. That training must be utilized fully for own business. Some relevant questions to cover these subjects may be as follows:
- Have I exactly defined the market where I will operate?
- Have I analyzed the market where we plan to enter?
- What is my strategy for entering the market?
- What is my strategy for competing with competitors?
- What is my strategy for sustaining in the short-term and medium-term?
- Have I prepared relevant materials/tools for marketing?
- Have I devised plan for customer relationing and services?
- Have I calculated cost of marketing? Have I allocated resources accordingly?
- What is my sales strategy? Regular visits? Discounts or free goods on purchases?
- Which geographical areas shall be covered?
- How many customers shall be visited?
- How many times the customers will be visited in a month?
- How shall I manage stock availability at my warehouse/distributor?
- How many days’ stock shall I carry?
- How shall I manage availability in the market?
- How shall I work with the distributor(s) to get the maximum support?
- What will be my terms with the distributor(s)? Cash? Credit? Discount?
- How shall I manage cashflow?
- How shall I keep my enterprise above the water?
- How shall I manage customer requests, team payments, supplier payments etc.?
Follow Your Plan
If you have answered all the above questions, your plan is ready by and large. It is important to plan but planning must not take too much time and energy. These should be spared for action. Now it is time to roll out your plan and work on it.
Three points must be emphasized.
- Follow your plan fully. Do not keep it on the side and work with enthusiasm without direction. You worked hard on making the plan, now work equally hard to stay on plan.
- Keep reviewing your progress frequently and periodically. Be objective and realistic. Do not give yourself grace marks just for nothing.
- Stick to your plan. You may make small changes, but the overall plan must not be tweaked often, or changed altogether. Frequent changes are not beneficial; these may be deleterious.
This completes our current discussion on the entrepreneurship within pharma industry. Such topics can be expanded greatly, However, the length of discussion must be related to the context and currency.
I wish great success to entrepreneurs who have already launched their enterprises and are working hard to become stable and strong. I also wish great success to the aspiring entrepreneurs. I do recommend to both groups to read this series of blogposts. I believe it will help them in doing better.
Disclaimer: Many pictures in these blogs are taken from Google Images which does not show copyright ownership. If a claim is lodged at any stage, we shall either mention the ownership clearly, or remove the picture with suitable regrets.