Lindsay Richels is a medical student at the University of Saskatchewan. Born and raised in Churchbridge, Saskatchewan Lindsay Richels is proud of her rural Saskatchewan roots and the experience she has gained growing up in a small town. After graduating from Churchbridge High School Lindsay went on to study pharmacy at the University of Saskatchewan and graduated from the College of Pharmacy and Nutrition with a Bachelor of Science in Pharmacy in 2007 and then completed a Hospital Pharmacy Residency. After completing a hospital residency Richels practiced as a hospital pharmacist gaining valuable experience as a clinical pharmacist.
Always interested in business and making systematic changes and improvements Lindsay went on to complete her MBA and opened her own consulting company providing relief pharmacy services to rural pharmacies throughout Saskatchewan. Understanding all too well the healthcare struggles those in rural Saskatchewan face being able to serve rural communities was an extremely rewarding experience. Richels’ has gone on to open multiple businesses since first operating her relief pharmacy business.
How did you get started in this business? What inspired you?
I was always curious about business and had done some investing the moment I got out of pharmacy school and started earning an income. I realized early on that I did not really have a clue about finances, leadership, human resources or management. It was in that moment that I had decided after 5 years of pharmacy and an extra year of hospital training to return to school again to gain a greater understanding of the fundamentals of business and leadership.
When you were starting out, was there ever a time you doubted it would work? If so, how did you handle that?
I remember all too well when I started doing the paperwork to open up a business feeling overwhelmed and uncertain about how things would turn out. I remember being so confused – what kind of business do I need? Should it be a sole proprietor or a corporation? When and how do I pay GST? Do I need special insurance? How will I ensure I have enough money to pay taxes? Were a few of the questions swirling around my head. Although I was uncertain about exactly the best path to take, I continued to research my options and I really tried to appreciate all of the benefits of starting my own business but also the risks involved in the whole process.
How did you get your first customer?
There was a growing shortage of rural pharmacists at the time so I was pretty confident I would find work following my pharmacy undergrad at the University of Saskatchewan. I used the services of a recruitment organization to start. I got a position as a pharmacist consultant in order to better understand the role prior to venturing out on my own.
What is one marketing strategy (other than referrals) that you’re using that works really well to generate new business?
Evolving as a care provider and developing new services that can be offered is something that always benefits anyone who is working as a contractor or relief employee. Also, attending conferences or events where those who would access your services are also key. Since you are selling a service and that service is essentially yourself it is important for potential customers to meet you and see if you would be a great fit with their organization. Most of the time I take advantage of presentations and face to face interaction with potential clients to find new business and continue to grow what I have started.
What is the toughest decision you’ve had to make in the last few months?
There have been a few opportunities that I have had to turn down because I am currently in the middle of a full- time medical school degree. The opportunities I have turned away could have led to some major successes, but I value the degree I am working towards more. I believe that my hard work now is going to pay off when it is all said and done.
What do you think it is that makes you successful?
By putting patients and customers at the forefront of what you do and by being passionate about what kind of care your patients receive makes you a valuable asset to any organization and makes it more likely for you to be called back. Being a great team player and maintaining composure when things do not go a certain way is also important to ensure long-term success.
Remember being a service provider means you are your brand and when you show up to work all of those around you should be able to confirm you were valuable to have around in the same tone, the way you represent yourself and your brand can also result in potential clients looking elsewhere if you do not perform up to their standards.
What has been your most satisfying moment in business?
Business is one of those things that you can tell quite quickly if you are good at it or not. The most satisfaction comes from seeing growth and increased demand for your services. As someone who was not entirely in tune with the business side of things, I have seen immense growth in how I conduct my business and look forward to seeing that progress even more as my career takes flight.
What does the future hold for your business? What are you most excited about?
Healthcare is an ever-evolving industry that creates so many opportunities for improvement it truly is an exciting and rewarding field. Continuing to expand the types of services my business is able to offer as the healthcare industry changes is something to be very excited about.
What is a recent purchase you have made that’s helped with your business?
Utilizing applications on my mobile device has made life so much easier and made the accounting portion of business less time consuming. Quickbooks online was the most recent purchase made to help streamline bookkeeping and keeping track of invoices and payments. I am certainly not an accountant by any stretch of the word but the technology that surrounds us makes things like balance sheets and income statements that much more manageable.
What is the best thing about your current job?
Improving the health of patients. There is nothing more rewarding than seeing a patient’s quality of life dramatically improve because of something you were able to help them with. Checking in with patients that have taken massive steps forward in their health is still the pinnacle of my workday.