June 5, 2017
This month, we get to know Paul Mayberry, award-winning pharmacist, experienced entrepreneur and now CEO of Pilltime.co.uk, a revolutionary new pharmacy disruptor that enables Patients to received their medication delivered to their home in pre-sorted, easy to open pouches.
With over 25 years of experience in Pharmaceuticals, Paul shares his experiences and insights in growing both his Pharmaceutical businesses as well as his recent new business called Pilltime.co.uk.
As a teenager, I didn’t know what I wanted to do as a career. At a schools careers fair I said I was interested in Business & that my favourite subject was Chemistry. The careers advisor suggested I combine the two and go into Pharmacy, so here I am!
I had ambitions early on to own my own pharmacy and even whilst I was doing my pre-registration year I was looking to buy a pharmacy business. It’s very difficult to open a new pharmacy anywhere because you need to obtain a NHS contract. To be granted you have to prove that there is a ‘need’ or ‘desire’ in the community for an additional pharmacy which means you need to be at least a mile away from an existing one. So really, the only way to own a pharmacy was to acquire it from an existing Pharmacist.
Eventually after being qualified for 4 years and with several failed contract applications, I had an offer on a pharmacy accepted. The banks didn’t want to lend me any money because I didn’t have a big enough deposit. Luckily the owner was prepared to lend me the money himself, at a higher rate, until I was in a position to refinance with a bank two years later once I had built up enough equity in the business.
Initially my strategy was just to have one pharmacy but once we started trading successfully then my concerns changed and I didn’t want to have all my eggs in one basket. 95% of your business as a pharmacy comes from local NHS prescriptions from local GP’s so if a GP moved or closed down, a pharmacy business wouldn’t survive so I wanted to mitigate the risks by having several sites in different locations.
I had a business called Mayberry and Morris Pharmacy with my then Business Partner, Gwyn Morris. We had 2 pharmacies that we decided to sell so that we could concentrate on our own businesses so we approached bigger pharmacy groups and soon got an offer.
We went through the process on our own without an advisor which was tough as we didn’t have anyone to negotiate and get the best deal for us, field questions and provide information. Going through a process was like a full-time job without an advisor.
How long did this take as you weren’t using an advisor and trying to answer all the queries yourself?
Months and months – from start to finish it took at least a year. It was very difficult to get all of the information that was required by the buyer, we had no proper plan in place for the due diligence.
If you could do it again would you use an advisor to get a better price?
Definitely. An advisor would help us get everything needed by a buyer to be in place before a sale. For instance, making sure that any contracts in place, big or small were fit for purpose. Which would mean that due diligence wouldn’t be so onerous and also, more importantly to negotiate the best deal for an exit.
To build a business for sale, you’ve got to begin with the end in mind. One of the key parts of this is to not build a business that is reliant on yourself. It needs to be scalable and needs to be able to continue long after you’ve gone.
I had noticed in my pharmacy business (Mayberry Pharmacy) that even our most loyal patients weren’t coming in to collect their medication every 28 days. That is typically the standard amount of medication that is dispensed on a single prescription. When we started digging deeper into the analytics we realised that these people were only coming in 9-10 times a year for their prescriptions– not 12 times you would expect. This was because they weren’t remembering to take their tablets every correctly every day.
With this data, I realised that if I could get Patients taking their medication correctly they’d get better control of their condition, making them feel better in themselves, and they would be less likely to have long term chronic conditions or catastrophic event later in life like a stroke or heart attack. That’s good for patients, but also it means that it reduces the need for expensive interventions by the NHS. So by making it easier for Patients to take their tablets it means there’s less of a burden on the NHS. That was a catalyst, amongst other things, for starting PillTime.co.uk.
Pilltime are utilising the electronic prescription service (EPS) which allows any GP in England to transmit prescriptions. So far 90% of GPs in England are using this service. We are also using robotic technology enabling tablets to be dispensed into individual pouches which are personalised for each Patients needs. We then have optical checkers which double check everything has been dispensed correctly.
Patients then receive their medication dispensed in clearly labeled, easy to open pouches with packaging clearly showing the time of day the medicine needs to be taken which means Patients won’t forget to take their medication. Everything is posted to the Patient free of charge. The complicated and frustrating process of managing and taking medicines is replaced by a simple, easy and safer way.
Working with Dr Hilary himself is great as he’s very enthusiastic about the product. As soon as we showed him the pouches he could see straight away how PillTime would benefit patients. He is also very passionate about how we can help people with certain specific conditions. For example, he suggested that we should promote PillTime to people with arthritis who find it harder to open normal pharmaceutical packaging. Dr Hilary is also a trusted, experienced Doctor that people know and this helps Patients to trust PillTime from the offset.
I think it’s the future – because of the technology that is available. We are embracing the electronic prescription service and robotic dispensing, we are giving patients a much better experience as we are managing their prescriptions, taking away the frustration or re-ordering and making it a much simpler and easier process.
Last year at the National Chemist & Druggist Awards, Mayberry Pharmacy was named Independent Pharmacy of the Year. These awards are the biggest awards in the community pharmacy world and to win and be recognised nationally was my proudest moment professionally (so far!)
I suppose my biggest role model was my Dad. Although he was a School Teacher he was very entrepreneurial and he set up various businesses outside of teaching which he got me involved in from a very early age. He encouraged me to set up was a small clothes shop in our local mining town in South Wales, at the age of 16. At the weekends, we would set off at 4am to travel down to the warehouses in London to buy clothes, then return to Wales, pricing all the garments in the evening, ready for us to put them on the rails ready to sell the next morning. I think that it was his work ethic that drove me early in life and still does now!
Nothing significant – I think I have been very lucky in my life and in my career
Marmite – love it or hate it?
If you could get have a yacht what would you call it?
Lady Jane after my Wife.
If you could go anywhere in the world where would you go and why?
I would love to go and watch the Lions play in New Zealand this month!
What is one of the things you would put on your “bucket” list?
Learn to play the guitar / learn to fly.
Don’t sweat the small stuff!
“We were delighted with the services that Bluebox offered us. Bluebox’s attention to detail through their Diamond Programme ensured that we were well prepared for when the business was taken to market and that the sale process itself was managed expertly.
We challenged Bluebox with finding the right strategic buyer and thereafter negotiating a deal that met our requirements. In helping initially to identify and to secure the deal with Mountville Mills they accomplished just that. Communication throughout was excellent and professional, managing each stage of the process. I would have no hesitation in recommending Bluebox to any corporate shareholder or private business owner looking to divest their business.”
Richard Millward, Former Client
“We were delighted with the services that Bluebox offered us. Bluebox were challenged with finding us the right strategic investor and, thereafter, negotiating a deal that met our complex requirements. In identifying and securing the deal with LGC they have done exactly that. The process itself was efficient and smooth, largely due to the excellent communication from the Bluebox team, who also demonstrated excellent experience at managing a very engaging auction process. I would be delighted to recommend Bluebox to any corporate shareholder or private business owner looking to divest a business.”
Helen Dickinson, Former Client
It has been a real privilege working with the team at Bluebox over this last year or so. Bluebox’s attention to detail ensured that we were well prepared for when the business was taken to market and the sale process itself was managed expertly. Starting the process, I had no idea exactly what this would entail and the volume of work that has been produced by everyone and the result reached today is nothing short of brilliant.
Hugh Morris, Former Client
We are delighted with the services that Bluebox was able to offer. They showed an intimate knowledge of a deal cycle, managed a tight auction process and were highly communicative from the start. I would happily recommend Paul and his team to business owners contemplating a sale of their business in the next 24 months. Experience is key and this has paid off for us.
Laurence Seward, Former Client
Aligning ourselves early with Bluebox, and entrusting the team to guide us through their process proved to be a highly rewarding investment from all viewpoints. Bluebox’s support significantly enhanced both the value of our business and its ‘saleability’. I would highly recommend Bluebox to business owners contemplating an exit in the next two years. The earlier the engagement the better so far as I am concerned.
Mike Minett, Former Client
We began working with Bluebox in early 2015 through their Blue Diamond Programme, as we were contemplating an exit. We found that the process focussed our minds on the key areas of growth in the business, and prepared us well for the inevitable rigours of due diligence. During the sale process itself, the advice offered by the Bluebox team was invaluable. We found them to be helpful, straightforward and honest.
David Stokes, Former Client
When selecting our adviser, it was extremely important that they had access to international buyers and were experienced in cross-border M&A. The team at Bluebox proved to be invaluable by identifying a strategic acquirer from America who was not known to us and by negotiating an excellent deal for all parties. I was also impressed with the process management from Bluebox, which ensured that the deal was closed in a timely fashion.
Jeff Weinstein, Former Client
When I first engaged with Bluebox, I was hesitant as to the benefits of using an advisor to firstly, find a buyer for my business and secondly, to get a deal over the line. However, now that the deal has completed with KPM, I can honestly say that the finer negotiation points handled by Bluebox and their overall management of this process has been nothing short of first class. I would be delighted to recommend Bluebox’s services to any entrepreneur contemplating the sale of their business.
Bill Ballard, Former Client
Bluebox worked closely with us over the following six months and helped us to implement some key initiatives which made InferMed a more attractive acquisition target. Once we decided to sell the business, the Bluebox team were very diligent in ensuring that no stone was left unturned. They negotiated expertly on our behalf to ensure we got the best deal possible.
Alan Montgomery, Former Client
The pre-sale planning programme that we signed up for with Bluebox made us develop our strategies and focus on the bigger picture. It proved to be a very rewarding investment from all viewpoints and significantly enhanced both the value of our business and its ‘saleability’. I would highly recommend Bluebox to business owners contemplating an exit in the next two years.
Nigel Parsons, Former Client
I have experienced first hand the value that can be created through highly structured pre-sale planning. It amazes me that it is not something that everyone does. It is so disappointing to see around 90% of transactions collapse before they complete and pre-sale planning will not only enhance your price, but also significantly enhance your chance of a closed deal.
James Caan, Investor
We worked incredibly closely with our advisers who provided expert knowledge of the sale process with which we were not familiar. We were truly delighted with the results.
Marten Nielson, Former Client
We appointed advisers to manage the sales process after we had received a number of unsolicited approaches for the business. I was incredibly impressed by the immense value that could be created by expertly negotiating with a group of already interested parties.
Paul Duckworth, Former Client
I was delighted with the service that the team offered and their real attention to detail. The deal was not without its complexities and it was reassuring to have such experienced advisers assisting me throughout the negotiations.
Peter Bennett, Former Client
Truly delighted with the way my sale process was managed. The fact that the team I worked with achieved such a great multiple is testament to their experience and their ability to create some true competitive tension.
James Averdieck, Gü, Former Client
The team at Bluebox provided invaluable support in negotiating this complex transaction. Their access to international purchasers, and exceptional knowledge of cross border M&A ensured that the deal was concluded efficiently, achieving a highly successful outcome for us all.
Jon Parslow, Former Client
“We selected Bluebox after a fairly long round of evaluating potential advisors because of their scientific, yet challenging approach to maximising value. During our initial meetings they showed us how far short of “ready” we were and consequently we completed more preparation in the early stages which meant we were equipped for what was to come. We were delighted with our choice of Corporate Finance partner. I do not hesitate in recommending Bluebox for any SME to consider.”
Simon English, Former Client
Bluebox provided invaluable advice in managing the negotiations with incoming investors. Their skills in handling these discussions were evident from the outset and the vital interface that they provided between the incumbent team and the incoming investors was truly beneficial.
Henry Braham, Former Client
Bluebox have a professional, dynamic and experienced team that is greatly assisting me with my focus on my exit within the next 24 months. Their structured approach is very refreshing and their ‘Blue Diamond’ programme is adding immense value.
Matt Evans, Former Client
The team at Bluebox provided me with a seamless service from the start of the engagement until our deal was completed. Attention to detail was commendable and their understanding of corporate M&A very impressive. I could not recommend them highly enough.
Victor Lewis, Former client
Having tried to sell my business previously – and failed – I was only too aware of the importance of pre-sale planning. This is a talented team offering a service that most people find out about, but too late.
Simon Hulme, Former Client
Bluebox are a quality outfit. Their access to International acquirers and relationships with the highest quality domestic investors was impressive. My shareholders and I received excellent service from start to finish and it was refreshing to be dealing with a senior team throughout the sale exercise.
Michael Clapper, Former Client
I cannot recommend the team at Bluebox highly enough. Their expert guidance throughout the entire sale exercise resulted in my shareholders securing an excellent deal with which the entire team was delighted.
Mark Rodol, Former Client
I’m really pleased with the service Bluebox provided. The team demonstrated excellent knowledge of the process to follow and led negotiations for the hospital in a way that allowed us to ensure we received appropriate value whilst focusing on reputational risk. Communication and service were of a very high standard.
Steven Davies, Former Client
With Bluebox’s expert advice we were able to find the right buyer that will benefit our business strategically. We’re delighted with the outcome and look forward to starting our new chapter
Clive Hillier, Former Client
The advice offered by the Bluebox team throughout the process was invaluable to the shareholders. We strongly believe that participating in Bluebox’s pre-sale planning programme was a significant driver behind the success of the deal. Their project management and negotiation skills throughout the sale process itself resulted in an exceptional deal being delivered to all parties involved.
Harpal Singh, Former Client