* Alitam Press Release

How ADHD helped successful entrepreneur Feisal Nahaboo turn a start up into a market leader in 256 working days

By | * Alitam Press Release

Entrepreneur Feisal Nahaboo has just revealed that he is neurodivergent, having recently been diagnosed with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). On reflection, he now sees that his condition is to thank for his success, including the creation of the world’s first and second Overnight Multiple Merger Model’s (OMMM), Xeinadin and Alitam. In this exclusive article, Nahaboo speaks openly about living with ADHD and how others can harness these mental gifts like he has to achieve greatness.

It is reckoned that around 1.5million adults in the UK have attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), and research has shown that ADHD in entrepreneurs can trigger proactive behaviours leading to new ground-breaking ideas.

Energy, drive, enthusiasm, and excellent speaking skills are all traits of a successful entrepreneur, and of someone with ADHD. This is why being an entrepreneur with ADHD is a blessing for many, including entrepreneur Feisal Nahaboo – who has just revealed that he lives with the condition.

Nahaboo is well-known as one of the UK’s most successful entrepreneurs, a CEO, a family man, an author and a golf champion. As many have commented, it seems ‘there is nothing this man cannot do’.  A respected innovator and visionary within the business world, he has become a household name in the accountancy sector and, more recently, the pharmaceutical industry.

In 2019, he made history when he founded Xeinadin. His ground-breaking vision created a unique idea which saw him successfully merge 122 accountancy firms in the UK and Ireland with an annual turnover of over £100 million and £39m EBITDA (according to the Irish Times).

Today, he is the Founder and CEO of Alitam – his second OMMM and a company created to revolutionise the pharmaceutical industry, acquiring over 100 pharmacies across the UK and Ireland with a turnover in excess of £100million.

What not many people know, however, is that Nahaboo has achieved all this despite coming from humble beginnings, growing up on a council estate in Bracknell.

The very definition of a self-made man, he purchased his first house with only a £5,000 deposit and invested just £450 on second-hand goods including a desk, fax machine, printer and a “very dated” laptop. This was the beginning of his success story.

The mental gifts of ADHD

What makes Nahaboo’s story all the more extraordinary is his recent discovery of his mental gifts in the form of ADHD. The diagnosis has proven a “lightbulb moment” for the entrepreneur, allowing him to make better sense of his rise to the top.

ADHD is often defined as a neurological disorder associated with trouble focusing on a single task, being easily distracted, and being forgetful. However, it is also associated with traits such as risk-taking, impulsive behaviour, hyper focus and curiosity – all qualities which make up a successful entrepreneur. Ikea founder Ingvar Kamprad, Virgin boss, Richard Branson, and airline mogul David Neeleman, to name but a few, all live with ADHD and, like Nahaboo, also attribute it to their major successes.

In essence, impulsivity creates courageous business decisions and many studies have been undertaken which show a link between ADHD and ‘entrepreneurial intention’.

Some have found that entrepreneurs with ADHD more readily embrace new experiences and show greater persistence and passion than their neurotypical (NT) counterparts. It follows, then, that those with ADHD show a greater interest in things that they are passionate about. Once they find their passion, they strive – giving 100 percent to any project they undertake and with a characteristic deep commitment and persistence that ensures that they will complete their project before moving on swiftly to their next idea.

ADHD can be a hereditary condition and Nahaboo was only diagnosed after taking one of his children, displaying characteristic traits, to see a specialist. He says that receiving this diagnosis

“not only allowed me to understand my behaviour better but to better manage my workload and my interactions with those around me”.

Speaking about the traits which he recognised as his symptoms, his voice crackling with the same energy and enthusiasm that has won him many fans as a passionate business speaker and educator, he says that the most common one is speed. “Where others would often take their time to think through decisions – sometimes over a period of days or weeks – I was making effective decisions within minutes,” he explains.

Defining himself as someone who has always been “impatient and hungry for success”, the word ‘wait’ is simply not in Nahaboo’s vocabulary. Everything he does to become successful, he does at great speed. With unflagging drive, he sets objectives that are challenging to others but “obvious” for him.

In fact, when you read the numerous glowing endorsements that Nahaboo has received from those who have worked closely with him, you find that there are certain revealing keywords that come up time and again about his tenacious work ethic: “energy”, “drive”, “enthusiasm” and “vision”.

How ADHD drove the creation of Xeinadin

In 2019, Nahaboo acquired 122 accountancy practices and using his own OMMM, merged them under one group known as ‘Xeinadin’, named after his two eldest children: Zein and Nadine.

It was an incredible achievement, especially when you recognise that such growth typically takes decades to achieve. Where it would take somebody six months to a year to complete one merger, Nahaboo completed 122 mergers within a record-breaking 256 working days and with limited resources, operating with only two administrative staff and by preparing the acquisition of each accountancy practice using WhatsApp.

His vision was simple but clever, and something that an NT individual would probably not think of. He sums up his unique thought process for Xeinadin as follows: “If it takes six to 12 months to acquire one business, just do the other 121 at the same time side by side. “I call it ‘frontline strategy’. When at war, you don’t have 122 soldiers separated but close and in the front line.” This incredible project required him to carry out a huge amount of work in record time, which he credits to the harnessing of his (then undiagnosed) ADHD.

Not only did he have the job of convincing over 250 accountancy equity partners to go ahead with his bold vision but also there was an incredible amount of heavy lifting required, including the need to manage accountancy regulation and tax clearances due to the moving of one company to a new company. Nahaboo, however, was able to move all the firms from old companies to new companies with new clean balance sheets, creating a brand new platform for the 122 independent accountancy firms to begin their new lives under the Xeinadin model. He says: “In order for 122 independent accountancy firms to join Xeinadin, all had to move into brand new companies. I knew if I could move one company then I would have the skill and ability to complete this task for another 121 companies.”

And thanks to his resilience and ability to perform under pressure – further traits associated with ADHD which he has harnessed – he had the confidence to overcome any challenges, which were uniformly met with creative solutions, as he continues:

“How do you get 122 independent accounting firms to share a vision in record time? A normal mindset may choose to plan and layout a vision, going out and visiting each firm individually, which would be time-consuming and costly. I was able to do it in one go, completing the task from the comfort of my own home and without having to spend vast budgets on travel. I did this simply by adding everyone into a WhatsApp group and herding them all. Gathering everyone proved successful. When one executive agreed, the others quickly followed suit.

“Many of these accountancy firms had existed for decades and had big histories. Understandably, this was a big upheaval for the accountants, yet they remained totally committed to my vision.”

This is Nahaboo’s ‘secret magic power’ – the ability to bring together large groups. Often dubbed as a ‘corporate Pied Piper’, he draws upon the abilities gifted him by his ADHD to create major followings.

“When people follow, they follow with intensity and high levels of motivation,” he notes.

And as the formation of Alitam in late 2019 attests, Nahaboo doesn’t rest. His unconventional working methods see him creating new businesses whilst he is still working on other major projects.

Replicating his Xeinadin OMMM model within the pharmacy industry, he harnessed his ADHD so he could manage both models simultaneously with substantial numbers in both. Remarkably, and as with Xeinadin, the consolidation of over 100 pharmacy stores into Alitam took him less than one year to achieve.

Building trust

Despite his proven successes, however, Nahaboo admits that he has faced challenges from some prospective clients who have found it hard to embrace his far-seeing vision. Not all individuals are receptive to his distinct personality and there are those who find him ‘unorthodox’. These are people whom he describes as the “most conservative”; ones who “haven’t, perhaps, achieved that much themselves and are, therefore, often frightened to look beyond their next footstep. Most likely, they just haven’t been exposed to many personalities like me! This is why it is imperative for me to create a working relationship based on trust,” he says.

He is able to gain this trust by “keeping the channels of communication open and by being transparent. I am always very clear in letting others know what I am going to do for them; then I keep to my word, proceeding to get the job done and bringing in the results. Results speak for themselves and showing my clients these hugely beneficial outcomes is a virtuous circle, creating further trust.”

This tried-and-tested method has worked well for Nahaboo, as you can glean from his many client endorsements. Along with extolling his drive and momentum, the word ‘trust’ is a term that also comes up regularly.

Manging your ADHD as an entrepreneur

For an entrepreneur to manage their ADHD, Nahaboo advises that it is imperative they make certain lifestyle changes to better utilise their strengths while dealing with their weaknesses. This can be dependent on the type of symptoms displayed but, overall, making such adjustments can help both with work and life balance, as he explains.

1. Prioritising Your Day
It is said that a common trait amongst people with ADHD is that they feel all tasks are important. Recognising this, Nahaboo says that it is important to break these tasks down under three different categories:

Time – are there any time-sensitive tasks which need to be prioritised over the others? Do you have a fast deadline approaching? If so, that is what you complete first.

Impact – if you were to leave a task incomplete, how would that affect the rest of your project or others around you?

Complexity – how complicated or difficult is the task? The more complicated the task, requiring more time and effort to complete, the more you will need to be proactive.

2. Managing Your Distractions
Nahaboo advises that you make it a habit to take time out to evaluate your day and asses your environment or situations which may cause distraction or frustration. By doing this, you are able to find solutions for any problems, thus creating a healthier work environment for yourself. Even the smaller thing such as having a less-cluttered desk can have a huge impact on how you focus.

3. Take Care Of Yourself
Nahaboo also says that it is important to take time out of your day just for you.

“You are your own boss so you will be able to manage your own schedule,” he advises. “This can be first thing in the morning, afternoon, or whenever you feel overwhelmed and need to dial it back. Exercise, go to the gym, eat, go out for some fresh air, or simply just have a power nap. This will help refresh your mind and improve your focus so that you are ready to carry on your day.

“Evaluate yourself, ask yourself what is holding you back? Express yourself, be innovative, and be creative. There is so much more that you can offer the world.

“Are you making decisions based on what is already out there, what has already been done, or are you going to be an innovator and break the mould creating something new and amazing? Be honest with yourself about what you’re doing and why you are doing it.”

4. Be Mindful Of Your Weaknesses
We all have strengths but Nahaboo says it is equally important to harness your weaknesses and make them into strengths. This could be to do with your listening skills, for example, where perhaps you have a tendency to interrupt when someone else is speaking.

5. Breaking Projects Down
Nahaboo says that with the immense effort that goes into being a successful entrepreneur, coupled with his ADHD, he implements a meticulous procedure to ensure that he is able to complete large projects quickly and successfully. Whilst the overall job is extensive, he breaks it down into small-scale tasks which contribute to the overall success of the project. Taking the reins and focussing his energy on these smaller tasks allows him to hone his focus and attention – a clever way of managing ADHD.

Embracing ADHD

Nahaboo’s success speaks for itself; a testament to his abilities as an entrepreneur living with ADHD. The truly inspiring thing is that he also sets out to inspire others. He attempts to “influence, encourage, inspire, motivate, and enthuse” those around him, from clients to budding entrepreneurs, to participate, partake and become as successful as he is.

“Working on your weaknesses makes you a better entrepreneur and person,” he concludes.


Pharmacy to the fore

By | * Alitam Press Release, Feisal's Posts

Alitam pharmacies have risen to the challenge of the pandemic, changing the healthcare landscape for good.

In a year in which almost every family has suffered loss due to Covid-19, and endured untold psychological damage, there has been one saving grace: the community pharmacist. Masterfully rising to the multifarious challenges of this unforeseen crisis (and often putting themselves at considerable risk), Alitam pharmacists have thrown open their doors when other healthcare providers stayed firmly shut. They’ve served a population bereft of clinical contact, unable to see their GPs or visit A&E, and done so with the utmost expertise and care. Across the UK and Ireland, the yawning gaps in the current healthcare system were highlighted and, as pharmacists filled them, a new model of healthcare based around the community pharmacist has arisen.

Humility and professionalism

As the founder of Alitam, I’m privileged to see first hand the talent and devotion of our community pharmacists. Even before the pandemic, many of our pioneering pharmacies had evolved to become the ‘well-being hubs’ of their community, offering everything from expert clinical advice and treatments to preventative healthcare and high-quality nutrition and beauty supplies. All with the care and familiarity that a dedicated pharmacy team can uniquely offer. Many pharmacies have been caring for three generations of a family, intimately understanding their needs and, often unvoiced, concerns.

Enter Covid-19 and, overnight, our healthcare system was on its knees. The daily news broadcast images of hospitals with no beds, almost all appointments were cancelled and the prevailing mood was of panic. GPs closed their surgery doors, able to see only urgent cases, but often unable to offer any online consultations. Huge swathes of our population could no longer access their usual source of clinical care. Mental and physical health was on the decline.

But with characteristic humility and professionalism, our pharmacists rose to the challenge; doing what they always do, but now to an astonishing degree.

An extraordinary contribution

The lengths our pharmacists have gone to are extraordinary. In the beginning, of course, pharmacists themselves were unaware of the level of risk, but opened six days a week anyway. Many offered a 24/7 service, ensuring no patient ever went without their medicine. They faced staff shortages due to illness and
self-isolation, and often relied on family members for cover so the needs of their community could be met. They faced PPE shortages too, and spent a great deal of time sourcing face masks, hand gel and gloves. Nevertheless, they ramped up their free delivery service, often delivering up to a 10-mile distance. Many pharmacists made local deliveries on foot at the end of the working day.

With a high proportion of pharmacies integrated into healthcare centres, it’s no surprise these became the linchpins of community healthcare. GP calls were diverted to pharmacies who could access clinical records and directly treat patients where necessary. One Alitam member reports a 40% increase in workload as GPs relied on his expertise. The deep gratitude expressed by GPs and other healthcare practitioners is testament to the size of the undertaking.

The benefits of technological innovations deployed throughout our stores have been felt like never before. Dispensing robots, automated dispensing machines and apps for online consultations have all enabled our pharmacists to spend more time looking after patients. One member is even pioneering the use of drones for prescription delivery.

Then of course there’s the vaccination program, which many Alitam members can join thanks to the size of their stores. Due to the sheer determination to protect their communities, busy pharmacists tackled the paperwork and training, and overcame many obstacles. With comprehensive Covid-19 testing also available in store, they’re providing enormous reassurance to customers far and wide.

Constancy in a crisis

Perhaps of paramount importance is customers’ reliance on the familiar figure of a pharmacist they trust. There’s huge gratitude for the constancy of contact, the caring tone, the unwavering source of support. This is the utterly unique contribution made by pharmacists and their teams, providing vital succour to needy communities. Its value is unquantifiable but strongly felt, and cannot be replicated elsewhere.

An eye-opening opportunity

On an unprecedented scale, the variety of clinical services provided by pharmacies – encompassing everything from UTI checks, sore throat clinics, blood tests and emergency contraception to diabetes and cardiac health screening – has eased the burden on state healthcare. Forced away from other points of access, customers’ eyes have truly been opened to the scope of pharmacies’ offering. It’s been there all along, but is now reaching so many people that perceptions are changing – among HCPs, governing bodies and the public at large. Pharmacies are now seen as the cornerstone of community healthcare, catching many issues before they develop in severity and contributing to the overall well-being of locals.

‘I had no idea you could do all this!’ is a familiar refrain heard by Alitam pharmacists. Covid-19 has allowed them to demonstrate the value of bricks-and-mortar pharmacies like never before. The future for pharmacies, and for all of us lucky citizens under their aegis, is incredibly bright.

About Feisal Nahaboo

Founder of the OMMG, is known as ‘the man who has awakened a sleeping accountancy profession and now the pharmacy industry’. Feisal has spent much of his earlier career revolutionising accountancy practices by helping them offer services beyond compliance. He has also stimulated growth in several sectors by advising and coaching tens of thousands of SME commercial businesses. Feisal is a highly coveted speaker at wealth management events across the UK. He has partnered and presented alongside some of the worlds greatest thinkers including Dr Stephen Covey.

Ahead of their time

By | * Alitam Press Release

Introducing Jai and Alpa Parmar of Churchill Pharmacy, London.

Experienced pharmacists Jai and Alpa Parmar have created a haven for their well-heeled clientele in the affluent West London area of Chiswick. Sourcing the latest high-end skincare and beauty products from around the world, and delivering an extremely high standard of service, they are the destination pharmacy for miles around. Customers’ praise is glowing: “They go out of their way to help patients,” says one. “I used to live close to this pharmacy, however, after having moved some distance away, I happily pass several other pharmacies to continue using this one on a regular basis,” says another. Jai smiles, “We move heaven and earth to help, so that we never have to say ‘no’ to a customer.”

Family-run and friendly

“Our unique selling point is that we’re a friendly, family-run business,” explains Jai. “We’ve been part of this close-knit community for 20 years, with 12 dedicated staff (four of whom are family members) and there’s a great partnership between me and Alpa.”

Says Alpa, “I’m a pharmacist, but take care of the beauty retail aspect of the business, while Jai attends to the dispensing side. It means we can perfectly meet the needs of our particular community, which features many actors, celebrities and wealthy professionals. Their lifestyles demand certain products, so as soon as something is requested, I source it.”

Solid reputation

The attention to customer service is evident. “Our reputation is solid,” continues Jai. “Every member of staff is carefully recruited; we need them to be friendly and talkative. We also run a Mystery Shopper exercise every three months, so we can gauge how well we compare with other pharmacies. We always help people, for instance we deliver up to 9 miles away and often visit our dementia patients to ensure they’re taking their medication. We literally go out of our way to help our vulnerable customers. Without our customers we wouldn’t be here, so we have to be on top of our game.”

The Parmars offer most of the NHS services in store, including a rarely featured drink awareness service. “We can spot emerging patterns of alcohol dependence,” says Jai, “and directly refer people to specialist partners if required.” The selection of private clinical services also reflects the unique demands of the neighbourhood. “We run blood tests for tired people,” explains Jai. “We check Vitamin D, thyroxin and iron levels to find the root cause. This is a very valuable service for those who don’t have time to visit a GP, and it offers quick results. Our Travel Clinic is busy during normal times, plus we offer a Cardiac Check, Diabetes and Weight Management service among others.” And, in response to the pandemic, the Parmars were quick to offer the gamut of Covid-19 testing services, comprising PCR, antigen and antibody tests.

On top of the trends

“When it comes to our beauty offering, we have to be on top of the latest trends,” says Alpa. “I always keep my ears to the ground, and if a customer asks for a product, I stock the entire range. We were one of the first to feature Avene, and were directly trained by the French company representatives. Similarly with Nuxe. Currently we have brands such as REN, Caudalie, Dr Hauschka and Neals Yard in store and often we are given exclusive rights to stock products. Our baby care section is one of the largest in West London; at one point we were exclusively importing a particular product from Germany. We offer a highly specialised range of men’s grooming products too, and an extensive vitamin and toiletries section.” Alpa smiles, “The counter is extremely busy.” Something the couple are keen to revive once restrictions ease is their beauty clinic. “Our ‘mini spa’ and skin facials were so popular,” says Alpa. “And, by using the skills of the brand reps, it helps build stronger relationships with these brands. So it’s easier to find what the customer wants, and make sure they never have to go without.”

‘Insight and strength’

With their sights firmly set on a future with Alitam, the Parmars couldn’t be more enthusiastic. “There’s so much we can do now,” says Jai. “With such an immensely talented management team, and inspiring members, we can fully explore all the options available. We can provide more services to our customers and implement laboursaving technology at last.” Alpa continues, “It’s amazing to have access to so many fresh ideas and perspectives on pharmacy. Our online presence can really be boosted and we can look ahead to beat the competition. All the while working collaboratively with other brilliant minds. We’re keeping our independent approach, based on our unique customer base, but bringing all the insight and strength of Alitam into play. It’s a once in a lifetime opportunity.”

Feisal Nahaboo, Alitam founder, adds, “No one pharmacy is the same, and the beauty of the Alitam model is that it allows talented pharmacists like the Parmars to capitalise on what they do best. Bringing their business firmly into the future, and enlightening us all in the process. Jai and Alpa have specialist knowledge regarding health and beauty retail, and they’re already sharing their hard-won wisdom with the group. Their well-served customers are about to become even more satisfied as the Churchill Pharmacy goes from strength to strength.”

Exploring the possible

By | * Alitam Press Release

We meet Ray McSharry, founder of The McSharry Group, Ireland.

With a pharmacy group comprising 8 stores (plus a head office and a warehouse), and a team of over 80 members, Ray McSharry boasts the largest indigenous pharmacy group in the West of Ireland. It’s built on a dual strategy of being paragons of customer service, while leading the way in health and beauty retail. “Ray is remarkably future focused already,” says Alitam founder Feisal Nahaboo. “His ethos of expanding the role of the pharmacist, and the pharmacy store, sits perfectly with Alitam values. And the deployment of data analytics and marketing tools displays his business acumen. But, above all, his dedication to the customer experience betrays a unique talent and vision which is of enormous value to all Alitam members. I’ve no doubt Ray will be instrumental in much of our success.”

The customer is key

Ray has over 30 years’ experience as a managing pharmacist, and currently handles the dispensary side of the business, as well as risk and compliance management. He’s dedicated to the industry and has previously served on the board of United Drug, Retail Excellence and the Irish Pharmacy Union, and lectured to Bachelor of Science pharmacy technician students.

Understandably, he’s very proud of the stature of The McSharry Group. “I founded it in 1997, and now have two community pharmacies in Athlone, one in Castlerea, one in Athenry and 4 in Galway City,” he explains. “From the outset I wanted to provide the highest quality customer service to the community through highly skilled healthcare teams,” he continues. “All our supervising and store manager pharmacists (Glyn Ratcliffe, Treasa Kilroy, Máiréad Woolley, Sean Laffey, Enda Kennedy, Marie Grady, Sarah Brennan and Paul Hennelly) are key to our success and ensure excellent service is always provided. They’ve all completed a 2 year Post Graduate Diploma in Pharmacy Management with Ulster University. They manage our teams, our people, and ensure the face of McSharry’s Pharmacy is always welcoming, caring and professional.”

Ray has even commissioned Alf Dunbar, an expert in the field of customer service, to train his staff. “Every team member receives the ‘You are the difference’ customer service training programme by Alf, and this helps maintain our customer-focused culture. Each store manager is passionate about their store and their high standards of customer care; and they ‘respect and mind the store business like it is their own.’

The beauty of pharmacy

However, Ray wasn’t content to rely on customer service alone. He explains, “Initially, our focus was on the dispensary, but in 2014, to meet the ever-changing needs of our customers, we realigned our strategy to grow our share of the health and beauty market. Group Operations Director Caroline Murray, with over 20 years’ retail experience, systematically set about changing the retail culture of the stores and their teams. Prior to Caroline’s arrival, the group projected itself as a collection of community pharmacies with a focus on the dispensary, resulting in a poor conversion of dispensary footfall to retail sales. However, we refitted and rebranded the stores and implemented a marketing plan. Caroline then set about attracting key retail brand names to McSharry’s, quickly winning the contracts to sell some of the world’s leading health and beauty ranges including Clarins, Clinique, Chanel, Stila, Benefit, Dermalogica and many others. McSharry’s is now a well-known brand in the region and is no longer just a collection of individual chemists. As well as being community pharmacies, we’re leaders in health and beauty retail.”

‘A unique selling point’

Capitalising on their initial success, Ray and Caroline took the concept further. “We employed three qualified beauticians and five staff dedicated to skincare and cosmetics to align our team with this new strategy,” says Ray. “And there’s been a 40% uplift in retail sales in the last 6 years. Caroline is also the group’s online trading champion and has built one of Ireland’s leading beauty websites with an emphasis on clean skincare. Having the high street presence and expert teams to complement our online offer is the unique selling point of McSharry’s Health and Beauty. Adding those ingredients to a visually attractive, and user friendly, website completes a strong online platform to grow our business. What Caroline has achieved is amazing.” Indeed, the McSharry Group has been successfully nominated for numerous awards by its retail peers in the last decade.

Furthermore, all of this is combined with an impressive range of clinical services across all stores, including fertility treatment dispensing, Methadone dispensing, ‘NewWeigh’ medical weight management, smoking cessation, Blood Glucose and blood pressure monitoring, Influenza and soon Covid-19 vaccination services. “Plus, in line with our commitment to preventative healthcare, we implemented a very successful pre-diabetes screening programme with Diabetes Ireland,” says Ray. “We helped identify those patients with a high risk of developing diabetes, and we supported them to make lifestyle changes to prevent the onset of the disease.”

‘Doing all that’s possible’

With palpable enthusiasm, Ray explains his conviction in the Alitam model. “Our future rests on expanding the role of the pharmacist, fully utilising our knowledge and skills to help provide an improved primary healthcare service. At the moment this service is clearly struggling to meet the demand. I was at Feisal’s first presentation in Dublin and found his financial model and vision for the future of pharmacy utterly convincing. And this belief has only grown with the establishment of a fantastic head office team and Executive Board.” Of particular resonance for Ray is the emphasis on innovation and technology. “I know how powerful even small improvements can be,” explains Ray. “We already use data analytics to gain vital information such as stock levels, profit margins and so on. With Alitam I can explore this further with tried-and tested business intelligence tools, a pharmacy app and much more. When it comes to services, I can finally set about providing more Point-of-Care tests such as PSA prostate cancer screening, cholesterol and bone density testing to reduce the burden on our hospitals.” He smiles, “Before, I did all I could with my amazing team; now we will be doing all that’s possible.”

Pioneering partners

By | * Alitam Press Release

South London pharmacists Kehinde and Bolaji Oladuji.

Serving a large swathe of the Lambeth community are husband and wife team Kehinde and Bolaji. Through their six pharmacies they have become household names, proudly offering superlative service and support for all their customers. “Kehinde and Bolaji ensure every customer is welcomed with a meticulous level of care,” says Alitam founder Feisal Nahaboo. “They are deeply rooted in their diverse communities, and totally committed to the efficiency and innovation which Alitam will bring to their pharmacy business. They both contribute enticing ideas, born out of many years’ pharmacy experience. We’re delighted they are part of this vital movement.”

Back to back support

Kehinde and Bolaji both qualified in Nigeria then, after arrival in the UK in the early 1990s, they achieved their UK pharmacy qualifications and worked for several of the large multiples. Kehinde takes up the story, “Then in 1999 we acquired our first pharmacy in Brixton SW9, near the popular Oval cricket ground, and went on to acquire five further stores in strategic locations throughout the Lambeth area. I work as the Superintendent Pharmacist, while Bolaji is the pharmacist prescriber, professional service director for the group and PCN lead of the Fiveways Primary Care Network.”

“We provide back-to-back support for each other,” smiles Bolaji. “And I think this lies behind a lot of our success. We can pick up where the other left off, we dovetail nicely. So we can always offer customers a great deal of care.”

Going above and beyond

From the beginning, the focus was on providing services hitherto unavailable in the area. “From day one we’ve been offering a free delivery service and also a personal shopping service for those patients who are housebound or have restricted mobility,” explains Kehinde. “We also have a variety of clinical offerings to meet many needs, including the smoking cessation service, emergency contraception, flu vaccinations, a Travel Clinic, supervised methadone consumption and now Covid-19 testing. A very popular service is ear piercing, as customers know they can trust us completely.”

He continues, “All of our 25 staff have been trained to get to know customers, calling them by their first name. They go above and beyond, meaning we have excellent relationships with our loyal clientele. We ensure no-one ever runs out of a medicine they need, and if collecting the prescription is an issue, we’ll take care of delivery. There’s no problem.”

The pandemic was a challenge met magnificently by all the staff, and the Oladujis couldn’t be prouder. “We literally doubled our hours overnight,” explains Bolaji. “We had so many people coming to us, as they couldn’t access GP services. But we coped really well, we took it as proof of the trust our community has in us. We could provide that confidential, professional advice they so badly needed, and our familiar faces offered reassurance.”

The orbit of Alitam

“Alitam has come at the perfect time for us,” says Bolaji. “If you don’t improve you die. There is so much expertise in this group, so many bright minds in our orbit, we know we can achieve all we need to take the business forward – and more.”

Kehinde agrees, “Technological advances are my big passion, specifically dispensing robots which will free up a huge amount of our pharmacists’ time. With Alitam behind us, and all the experience and advice we can draw on, we’re in a brilliant position to implement this now. There are many more ideas we have, and there’s lots of discussions happening as we speak. The momentum is enormous.”

Bolaji adds, “As soon as we saw Feisal we were convinced this was the way forward. Now we’ll be able to compete with the big pharmacy groups in the UK, but with an added personal touch as our unique advantage. We can bring cost savings to our community through Alitam branded products; and address the needs of our community more with initiatives to involve them in their healthcare provision. It’s a grassroots movement, based on our local standing and professional expertise. We’re honoured and proud to be a part of it.”


The beauty of family pharmacy

By | * Alitam Press Release

Introducing Ravi and Ruchika Ganatra of Muswell Hill Pharmacy.

Step inside the spacious and stylish Muswell Hill Pharmacy in London, and one could be in Paris. Husband and wife Ravi and Ruchika, together with their indomitable pharmacy manager Nikesh Gudka, run one of the largest ‘shop pharmacies’ in Muswell Hill; offering superior levels of care for their community, together with highly sought after hair and beauty products. “The core of what we do is helping people with their health needs,” explains Ruchika. “However, following a trip to Paris, we were inspired to follow a similar layout and retail offering to pharmacies there. And now we have the best of both worlds – health and beauty.”

‘Setting a new standard’

The couple complement each other perfectly, with Ruchika being a pharmacist for over 13 years, and Ravi (a dental surgeon by profession) running the business development and financial side of things. They acquired the pharmacy in 2014, but there was no time to waste with the refit. Ravi explains, “The store was very rundown, dark and unwelcoming. So very quickly we redesigned the space to be much more appealing to walk-in trade, and to showcase a range of skincare and beauty products.”

“We set a new standard, locally,” continues Ruchika. “Soon premium brands were eager to be stocked by us, with some even offering exclusivity.” The store now boasts a huge range of high-end skincare, including brands such as Bioderma, Roger and Gallet, Frezyderm, Klorane and even a specialist French brand for children, Mustela. “We also feature the established English brands such as Yardley, Bronnley and Mason Pearson. And a comprehensive range of vitamin supplements,” explains Ruchika. “Before the pandemic, we had representatives from these companies offering free skincare consultations and sampling. We even had a trainee nutritionist offering instore advice to customers. We soon garnered real popularity, and now people come to us for many of their personal items.”

Serving the local community

The couple, and their manager Nikesh, work tirelessly to meet the needs of their community. “Nikesh just doesn’t stop,” enthuses Ravi. “He cares so much and adds to the ‘family feel’ of the pharmacy, which people love. He set up a volunteer group during the pandemic, and made a huge number of extra deliveries on foot. Our ethos is basically that, if people need help, we’ll help them. We’ll often stay after hours and let people in. When our doors close, we don’t stop helping people.”

Ruchika nods, “We’re really busy providing a range of services, such as prescription hayfever medication, UTI antibiotics, a Travel Clinic, and the pneumonia and chicken pox vaccines, to name a few. We’re about to implement Vitamin D and Ferritin testing instore, as well as an ear wax removal clinic. We dispense for two nursing homes and make up lots of blister packs for the elderly.”

They’re no strangers to innovations, such as online GP consultations either. “We have an iPad here, and a private room, where patients can receive their diagnosis, walk out and pick up their prescription,” explains Ravi. “Many customers will pay for this convenience, and it makes great business sense for us.”

‘United we stand’

The prospect of building on their current success, through Alitam membership, is a source of great excitement for the Ganatras. “United we stand, divided we fall,” says Ravi. “Collaboration is the way forward, and absolutely the way to counter the perceived threat of online pharmacies. With economies of scale we will benefit and so will our patients. We’ll be able to access deals and products which we can’t source ourselves – and this impact will be felt by the public. Group accounting is also a huge advantage of this model. As a single unit, we can only spend so much on professional services support. Now we’ll have the best professional brains behind us, and more time to focus on patient care, and identifying the emerging requirements of our community.”

“I’m really enthusiastic about TV screens instore,” adds Ruchika. “We have huge numbers of people walking past, and the screens will beautifully advertise the breadth of our offering to a big audience. We’re also able to expand our services now. For instance, we’re looking into providing a phlebotomy service, with the support of fellow Alitam member Gam Amar. Anything like this, which we wish to introduce, we do with the knowledge, connections and cost efficiencies of Alitam behind us. It’s unbelievable how quickly you can get things off the ground in this environment.”

A ‘one-stop health shop’

Ravi rejoins, “A website, with an e-commerce arm, is another such example. Our skincare and vitamin ranges fly off our shelves, we know there’s a huge market in the wider world for them. We also have the room in store to offer complementary health therapies, or whatever else our community needs. This is a tremendous opportunity to realise the full potential of our pharmacy, becoming a ‘one-stop health shop’ for our neighbourhood.”

Says Alitam founder Feisal Nahaboo, “There’s such dynamism in this talented young couple, their hard work and intuition has really paid off. The potential of the retail side of pharmacy is vast, and their contribution to Alitam will be enormous. In turn, I know they will reach dizzying heights steered by our experienced members. I can’t wait to see what this means for them, and their loyal community of customers.”


Rising to the challenge

By | * Alitam Press Release

We meet Alitam Operational Director Dinesh Ganatra.

Masterfully meeting the demands of the pandemic across his 6 pharmacies, Dinesh Ganatra, owner of Rosemead Trading Ltd, epitomises the resilience and creativity of the community pharmacist. His team of 44 staff, including area managers, have won many accolades from their customers and local GPs for the constancy of their service. “It fell upon us to take up the slack when the surgeries and other medical establishments struggled,” says Dinesh. “It was an enormous challenge, but one which has been highly instructive. Now, more than ever, we feel equipped as pharmacists to exploit our knowledge and talents, bringing our communities the health care they deserve.”

Going to the next level

From Yorkshire to the London suburbs, each of the pharmacies sits within a health centre, offering all the benefits such proximity brings. “We can liaise with GPs, advise on drug interactions and more,” explains Dinesh. “And during the pandemic this service was taken to the next level. We stayed open 7 days a week, receiving 4 times the usual number of enquiries, as calls to the GPs were diverted to our pharmacies.” He smiles, “My staff (some of whom have 15 years service) are amazing, they rallied magnificently. Although we felt the impact of Covid, as staff members fell ill or had to isolate, still we met our flu vaccination targets and customers continually tell us how grateful they are. We were literally the only port of call for many. When one of our health centres had GP staffing problems recently, they relied on us again to advise patients. Their gratitude is heart warming.” In addition to supporting his health centre GPs, Dinesh and his team run a full range of clinical services, including a Travel Clinic, blood pressure testing and diabetes checks.

Their delivery drivers number 7 in total, and the Norfolk pharmacy is ranked number 2 for flu vaccinations in the county.

‘Alitam community spirit’

Dinesh is passionate about his new horizons with Alitam. “As pharmacists, everything we do is about how we can give more to our communities,” explains Dinesh. “So with this fantastic model of integration, sharing of ideas, a wonderful mix of younger talent with highly experienced figures, there’s no limit to what we can do.”

“We’re all keeping a significant stake in our business, so the motivation to succeed is huge. I know that 40 or 50 minds together is far more powerful than anything any individual can achieve. This is a tried and tested approach to growth which will not fail. If anything, I think we’ll be constantly surprised by what we can do.”

One area of particular interest to Dinesh is the drug procurement process, which he feels is convoluted and unnecessarily time consuming. “One of my dispensing managers spends a minimum of 8 hours a week comparing the prices of generics,” he says. “There are enormous price fluctuations, and you can’t even stock up as products are kept in short supply. With the vertical integration that Alitam affords we can win back this time – in my pharmacies this equates to regaining 15% of working time a week. This time can now be invested back into patient care. Across the entire Alitam membership, you can see what a difference this will make to people’s health and well-being.”

‘The future pharmacy deserves’

“I couldn’t agree more,” says Feisal Nahaboo, Alitam Founder. “Procurement is just one aspect of the pharmacy business which will be hugely enhanced, liberating our talented pharmacists to do what they do best…care for patients. Dinesh is a highly valued member of the Alitam team, with his community spirit and forensic focus on the bottom line. He’s a key player in taking pharmacy into the future, a future it so greatly deserves.”

A jewel in pharmacy’s crown

By | * Alitam Press Release

Getting to know Yogin Patel of Baywood Pharmacy.

200 yards from the world-famous Portobello Market in London’s Notting Hill sits the stylish, and welcoming, Baywood Pharmacy. Established by Yogin Patel 38 years ago, it occupies a special place in the heart of all residents – famous and non-famous alike. “Whether a household name who’s been on TV the night before, or a complete stranger, walks through our door we treat everyone the same,” says Yogin. “And that treatment has to be of the highest quality at all times.”

Style and substance

Alongside his core dispensing service, Yogin has a brisk retail business and is passionate about creating the optimal retail experience. He explains, “We are in a very affluent, fashionable area; so our pharmacy is a world away from a typical suburban chemist. Our interior boasts impressive shelving and display units made from glass and wood. We stock high end French and German skincare brands, such as Caudalie, Avenne, Guerlain, and La Roche Posay, niche brands which are trending, and many other premium items such as specialist shampoos. I keep the store windows clear in order to celebrate what’s in store. And we pay great attention to the merchandise, ensuring link sales through displaying related products together. As I always say, ‘Your shop is your display.’”

Yogin’s team meet the demands of their local demographic by running a busy Travel Clinic, offering the full array of vaccinations, plus Patient Group Directions, including Strep A testing and Erectile Dysfunction. And his PCR testing service is incredibly busy. “All in all, we offer the services and the retail experience which people really like,” says Yogin. “I’m proud to say we are highly popular, with a very loyal customer base.”

Trust above all

“Trust is more important than anything else,” he continues. “You need to make people feel secure and confident in you. We make time to properly attend to people, whether that’s in the consultation room or in a specially created area on the counter, which has a screen for privacy.” He continues, “So if I’m talking through a new medication with a customer, I will be checking if he or she understands what to do, whether they look concerned. We have close links with several local GPs and can liaise with them over patients in common. This is the kind of one-to-one experience which no online outfit will ever be able to provide. And this is what lies at the heart of pharmacy. You build up a following and the people I saw as kids are now adults with their own kids. We are incredibly close to our community.”

Excellence at large

Yogin relishes the bright future he faces with Alitam. “It’s about disseminating ideas, learning from each other. Creating a much more efficient working environment through sharing the back office jobs and implementing time and cost-saving technology, meaning there’s more that can be done remotely. And all the benefits of being part of a big brand are available while keeping our own core, community pharmacy identity. It’s genius.”

He smiles, “I’m really enthusiastic about stocking Alitam own-label items, and creating a loyal customer following behind these. Not to mention a really slick online presence, which will enable us to lead the way in pharmacy e-commerce. I’m talking to the Alitam board about introducing a comprehensive instore testing service. If customers can walk in, get their blood tests done and receive results within 24 hours, this will revolutionise a whole area of our current healthcare model. As pharmacists, we are in the perfect position to occupy this territory and give customers an efficient, trusted testing service.”

Feisal Nahaboo, Alitam founder says, “Yogin is showcasing a premium, ‘French-style’ pharmacy experience and, in doing so, exemplifies how community pharmacies evolve to meet the unique needs of their community. Not only is he a respected and highly experienced pharmacist, he’s also a formidable businessman with a keen eye for untapped markets and retail trends. With Alitam he’s building on his firm community foundations and helping lead the way for pharmacy. We’re all inspired by his track record and keen to learn from his wisdom. He’s a real gem.”

The power of change

By | * Alitam Press Release

In conversation with Bipin Patel of Broadway Pharmacy.

Embracing change has been the constant in Bipin Patel’s 38 years as owner of Broadway Pharmacy, Bexleyheath. His personal philosophy of always improving in increments has yielded remarkable results for his patients’ health; as he counsels them on making small behavioural adjustments to help with weight loss, giving up smoking and addressing many health challenges. “I tell my patients to have faith in the process,” says Bipin. “When you make a small improvement, you might not notice any difference, but you’re adding to the scale of change. Then suddenly the pendulum swings, and people are delighted to see results.”

Built on a foundation of care

“While I believe in change, our service is built on knowledge, confidence and old fashioned values of care,” smiles Bipin. “We’ve looked after fathers, sons and now their grandchildren; we know people really well and patients trust us completely.” Bipin’s pharmacy is deeply embedded in the community, wherever his store needs to be. “When circumstances change, we change too,” explains Bipin. “I’ve relocated twice in response to new developments on the Broadway; by putting ourselves in the right place we ensure we’re there for customers.” Bipin further positions himself at the heart of his community by speaking at the Local Pensioners’ Forum and chairing his local LPC branch. “Taking a little time to show people what you do, and exchanging information, is worth its weight in gold.”

‘The team is the key’

Bipin is fulsome in his praise of his staff. “They are key,” he enthuses, “we have a diverse range of ages, ethnicities, backgrounds – which means we bring so much experience to our working life. I credit them with almost all our success, because no matter what I do or say, without my team behind me I am nothing.” In return Bipin’s team rewards him with tremendous loyalty. “I have a very low turnover of staff, which again inspires confidence in our customers. One member has been with us for over 28 years.”

Alitam: the ultimate team

Bipin’s inclination for teamwork feeds into his passion for Alitam. “As soon as the concept was introduced, I could see the benefits,” says Bipin. “For the first time, we have top clinicians learning from each other, developing our skills and making improvements – big and small. We can add to our clinical services, learn what’s best practice in all areas, increase our efficiency and strengthen our relationship with customers through technology. I’ve seen how our app can enhance that relationship, enabling us to keep in touch with customers and follow up on things. With Alitam this is going to be taken so much further. It’s so exciting, we’re going to develop at a rate of knots.”

Bipin is enjoying collaborating with his Alitam peers. “We all have different experiences and skills, and already we are learning from each other in small ways. But this in itself leads to major improvements. By pulling together, learning about and implementing adjustments, we will build something very powerful.”

And for Bipin the endgame is always better patient care. “We’re here to make a change in people’s lives. There’s nothing more satisfying than a glowing review, or a patient telling you that you made a difference to something they were struggling with. Our instincts are based on years of experience of being on the ‘frontline’ of healthcare. One elderly patient asked for cough medication, for example. However the picture didn’t seem right so I told him to see his GP. Six months’ later I heard that the doctor had detected a shadow on his lung, the man was treated and went on to live another six years. This is the difference a pharmacy can make, and it’s what we’re here to do.”

Feisal Nahaboo, Alitam Founder says, “The superlative level of care offered by Bipin and his team is astonishing. His understanding of the benefits of continual improvement are in perfect alignment with Alitam values. I know with Alitam he will provide even greater support to his community and enhance many more lives.”

Bipin adds, “There’s such huge momentum behind Alitam. Very soon the pendulum will swing and knock the pharmacy world for six.”


A flagship pharmacy

By | * Alitam Press Release

We meet husband and wife team Susan MacMillan and Brian O’Reilly.

At the forefront of pharmacy in Kildare, and modelling many of the innovations at the heart of Alitam, is CarePlus Pharmacy. This inspiring business is run by pharmacist of 35 years Brian O’Reilly, and his wife, the entrepreneur and business maestro Susan MacMillan.

The perfect complement

Susan and Brian are the perfect team. “Brian’s passion in life is to be a pharmacist helping people every day,” says Susan. “He’s the face of the pharmacy and what I call the ‘intellectual property’ of the business. He’s very kind, gentle and compassionate – but with a great sense of humour, and he makes time for everyone who comes through the door. In fact, people go to him instead of the doctor because of his depth of knowledge and compassion, and also for what we in Ireland call ‘the banter’. He recognises the importance of bringing a smile to people’s faces, and to see customers visiting just to say hello is a common occurrence. We’re the perfect team because I keep an eye on the profit and Brian keeps an eye on the patient!”

Brian rejoins, “Susan is an astonishingly talented business person, who’s proved herself in many other enterprises. But never more so than in this venture. Early on she recognised the huge advantage of opening a CarePlus Pharmacy in terms of the technology available, the strong branding and marketing support, and the merchandising and business intelligence tools. The biggest advantage that Susan saw was the buying power that afforded us the opportunity to avail of huge discounts, resulting in exceptionally high profit.” Susan established the pharmacy in a greenfield site, targeting CarePlus and a location adjoining the largest private GP practice in Naas, and handled all matters pertaining to the set up of the business. All I had to do was turn up.”

The New Model Pharmacy

Susan and Brian, together with their close-knit team of staff, are resolutely focused on customer care. “We benefit from such a huge range of business support, which frees up the team to spend quality time with each and every customer,” explains Susan. Said support includes business intelligence tools regarding stock management, ordering systems and trend reports; national and local marketing campaigns and the creation of a top class retail experience in store. “All of that side of the business is taken care of,” says Brian, “so I’m free to consult in-depth with patients. Meanwhile, Susan manages the entire business, the vast majority of which can be done remotely due to the systems in place .”

This astonishing freedom afforded by comprehensive technological support extends to customers, who can use a dedicated app to book consultations and access pre-filled forms and health advice. As such, it serves as a model for the Pharmacy of the Future, and makes Susan and Brian’s pharmacy a natural fit for Alitam. Feisal Nahaboo, Alitam founder, explains, “The CarePlus pharmacy has adopted many of the initiatives we champion with Alitam. However now, as part of our extensive and highly talented group, this remarkable couple can widen their offering and reap the rewards of even greater buying power, technological expertise and clinical services. It’s a symbiotic relationship with Alitam members benefitting from Susan and Brian’s track record here, and remarkable energy. I’m very proud to have them on board.”

‘Total admiration’

Much of this energy has recently been invested in building a 10 bay vaccination centre, so the pharmacy is ready to administer a high number of Covid-19 vaccinations when given the go ahead. “It’s a great example of how well Susan and I work together – combining logistics and clinical expertise,” says Brian. “And now, as part of Alitam, I’m really fired up about all the other possibilities we can explore. I’d love to expand our homeopathic offering for instance, I look forward to information exchange with all members of Alitam.

Susan nods, “On the business side the benefits are enormous. We can grow our business, and profit, while maintaining a fully active role and enjoying challenging careers. There’s such an eclectic mix of talent among the membership, and the management team is a force to behold. So we will never stop learning, and of course Feisal is an incredible entrepreneur, he’s the real deal. I have total admiration for him. He’s clever and creative, and a real gentleman. We couldn’t be more thrilled to be a part of this extraordinary movement.”