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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.

3. Go the extra mile: Every pharmacy sells medicines, but HealthPlus adds value with services like healthy heart checks, asthma inhaler technique screening, blood pressure monitoring, and even smoking cessation services! It’s not surprising that other pharmacies had to take a leaf from HealthPlus, trying to catch up.

4. Get training: Although a brilliant pharmacist and an experienced salesperson, Bukky George knew that taking HealthPlus to desired heights would require more than that, so she enrolled in the Owner-Manager Program of the Lagos Business School and this equipped her with the business and management skills she needed.

5. Get help with building your structure: Upon realising the challenges involved in getting highly skilled, motivated staff with the right attitude, HealthPlus engaged HR Consultants to restructure the department and develop world-class policies and procedures. You’re not an expert in everything and it’s okay to admit that. Whenever you have a structural challenge, don’t hesitate to call in the experts in that area.

6. Maintain your standards: A common lament in Nigeria is the practice of entrepreneurs starting off with a great product or service, only for the quality to start dropping once customers are drawn and hooked. This hasn’t happened with HealthPlus, because of the commitment to maintaining standards by retraining staff regularly, and even engaging the services of mystery shoppers to help monitor the quality of service and give feedback.

7. Listen to God: This may not be a valuable tip for the non-spiritual entrepreneur, but Bukky George counts the ability to listen to God for life’s decisions as her topmost business lesson, and she considers tuning her ears to what He is saying to her at a particular moment one of her major success factors.

What steps will you take to start or boost your business today?

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This article was first published on 15th August 2016


Joy Ehonwa is an editor and a writer who is passionate about relationships and personal development. She runs Pinpoint Creatives, a proofreading, editing, transcription and ghostwriting service. Email: pinpointcreatives [at]

Comments (1)

One thought on “7 Entrepreneurship Lessons from Bukky George, MD, Healthplus”

  • This is very inspiring. It’s such a great blessing to not only read but see the achievements of Mrs. Bukky George. I had to take over 30 minutes to read several articles about her. I wish there will be avenues where young female professionals and would- be-entrepreneurs can be mentored. Thank you Joy for sharing.

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