Entrepreneur Profile: Peter Koshland. San Francisco Business Times

What it does: Makes customized, prescription medications for a variety of practice areas, including hormone replacement, pain management and veterinary care.

HQ: San Francisco.

2013 projected revenue: $1.8 million.

Employees: 13.

Founded: 2009.

Source of startup capital: Self-funded.

Background: Previously, director of pharmacy and compounding with Elephant Pharmacy, based in Berkeley.

Age: 41.

Residence: Berkeley.

Web site: KoshlandPharm.com
Big picture

How’s business: Business is booming. We haven’t stopped growing since we opened in 2009.

Biggest challenge for your business: Managing our growth and continuing to grow while making sure we maintain relationships and feel connected to our customer — and that they feel connected with us.

What’s going to change at your company in the next year: Doubling our square footage. Our new space will have room for seminars and events, and we will have clinic space so we have private areas to talk to patients.

Hiring: We hired three people this year. We may hire an additional pharmacy technician.
Business moves

Reason for starting business: I loved compounding pharmacy, and this allows me to practice pharmacy the way I wanted to.

Most difficult part of decision: A lot of fear about the state of the economy. It didn’t prepare me for the rapid growth we experienced.

Biggest misconception: How rapidly we could grow in a general environment that was not conducive to growth.

Biggest business strength: One is our quality assurance, the second is our close relationships with people.

Biggest business weakness: Doing what we need to do — like maintaining the web site, providing seminars, and things like that — has been a challenge.

Biggest risk: Just opening the pharmacy — and finding pharmacists who knew about compounding. We didn’t know if there was a large demand for it.

Biggest mistake: Not hiring additional staff as quickly as I should have.

Smartest move: Investing in quality. We put lot of time and money into equipment and quality products. We became the first accredited compounding pharmacy in San Francisco from the pharmacy accreditation board.

Biggest worry: There’s a debate going on in Congress about how to best regulate compounding pharmacies and a suggestion to give broad regulating powers to the FDA. We’re currently regulated by the state Board of Pharmacy, which I think is better able to do that than the FDA.
Work routine

Most challenging task: Multi-tasking as a business owner — managing accounting, employees, the business and still making sure to talk to patients, which I do every day.

Favorite task: Talking to patients and practitioners and using the tools we have to come up with some novel customized medications that improve the quality of their lives. It’s very rewarding.

Least favorite task: Clearing out my email inbox every day.

Biggest frustration: Being pulled in a hundred different directions daily.

Source of support in a business crisis: My wife and business partner, Krista.
Dreams

Key goal yet to achieve: I believe every doctor, dentist, vet, and any practitioner can benefit from having customized medication for their patients.

How will you know that you’ve achieved it: When I go to a new doctor’s office to introduce myself, and they know what a compounding pharmacy is.

Inducement to sell: At this point, if someone could convince me that they could take better care of patients than I could. But that’s a tough sell.

First choice for new career or venture: I can’t imagine doing anything else.
Personals

Most-admired role model: George Roentch, a real pioneer in this type of pharmacy. He’s an inspiration to me.

Favorite pastimes: Surfing, jazz guitar.

Favorite book: “Cloud Atlas,” by David Mitchell.

Favorite restaurant: Gather in Berkeley.

Favorite Bay Area business: Blue Bottle Coffee.

Favorite music: Alt rock and jazz.

 

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