While working in a government hospital, Hani realised some limitations in its service to the public.
“The hospital pharmacies were only able to provide medications and basic supplies with limited options. We also could not get health supplements and items used for dressing such as cotton and gauzes.,” said Hani.
“Moreover, there was only one retail pharmacy which sometimes may not have all the required items. The needs of the people in Kuala Lipis had to be fulfilled. This is quite a big district, and they needed more options for wellness and health products.”
In 2016, Hani established her first pharmacy, Farmasi Haniz, in Kuala Lipis, Pahang. Since then, she has opened another branch in Rawang, Selangor.
The residents in the area are mostly Malays, and they account for about 60 to 70 per cent of her clientele.
When selling products, her approach is to educate her customers.
“My staff and I always ask in detail the purpose of the purchase and condition of the patient. We then explain and educate them on the different options of treatments and medications. Ultimately, the choice is theirs, but they should be well informed.
“Being a business owner and managing a pharmacy is different from being a pharmacist. It requires a different set of skills such as leadership, management, accounting and so on.
“There is also a difference in working in a hospital and in a retail pharmacy,” Hani added.
Thus, she emphasised the need to conduct research and gain experience before jumping into the business.
Before opening her own pharmacy, Hani worked at a retail pharmacy owned by her friend. She also reached out to other pharmacies to learn more about managing and running a pharmacy business.
“I also learned a lot from the Duopharma Biotech Halal Pharmapreneur Programme. Like it or not, people are shifting towards the online market.
“Following one of the many points from the programme, I started marketing and advertising through Facebook. Now, I have customers who contact me through FB Messenger.”
While there was no significant impact on her business due to the pandemic, Hani noted some changes in the business model to adapt to the new normal.
“I noticed customer selection of products has changed. Earlier, customers used to purchase expensive supplements, and they were able to afford them. Now, they either do not buy supplements or look for cheaper alternatives.
“So, we too change and shifted according to the customer’s need and affordability. If the item is expensive, we then suggest alternatives with the same quality which are not branded and costly.”
Also, since people do not want to go out during the pandemic, we introduced delivery service, consultation via telephone, and online purchasing and payment. She, however, noted there was also a limitation because controlled drugs cannot be sold online.
She also contributes towards charity by supplying supplements, medication and cash to charity houses. – The Health