Before Bukky George opened her first pharmacy, she put all her heart into practicing what she had been taught in school; making preparations for neonates at LUTH, dispensing medicines and counselling customers, and working in Production, Quality Control and Sales at Smithkline Beecham (now GSK), where she also worked as a Medical Representative. Here are 7 key lessons from her transition into entrepreneurship:
1. Start small: This is one lesson that can be learnt from the experiences of many an entrepreneur and Bukky George is no exception. HealthPlus opened its doors for operations as a “mom and pop” business in a small, 18 square meter store in 1999 (though it was registered as a Limited Liability Company in 1996) and has grown from there over the years. You can start with what you have and scale up, instituting policies and standardising the business as you grow.
2. Do things the right way: It is a legal requirement for every pharmacy to always have a pharmacist on duty, and from the very beginning, Mrs George was determined to practice according to the ethics of her profession. This is something many pharmacies were not doing at the time, and even now, but she raised the bar and this resulted in HealthPlus standing out in the early days as a pharmacy where one could always see a pharmacist for proper counsel, and not just a salesperson. The job creation aspect of this is also laudable, as hundreds of pharmacists have been gainfully employed at HealthPlus over time.