A Business Is Nothing More Than An Asset

Mario Toneguzzi

When Ryan Kennedy looks back on his journey of selling his pharmacy business in Atlantic Canada a few years ago, he thinks he tried to do too much by himself in his business.

In this interview, Kennedy, who is a panelist at the upcoming Atlantic Business Transitions Forum, talks about:

  • His entrepreneurial journey as a pharmacist and selling his business;
  • His advice to people if they are looking at divesting their company; and
  • The key lesson he learned in the process.


When Ryan Kennedy looks back on his journey of selling his pharmacy business in Atlantic Canada a few years ago, he thinks he tried to do too much by himself in his business.

“I think I really tried to control too much of the business. I didn’t want to delegate enough because I really felt I was the best to be driving it forward,” says Ryan Kennedy, who is now President, East Coast Private Lending and Director of Operations, Compass Patient Solutions.

“And that led to a pretty good path to burnout. If I was less chronically burnt out in that 2014, 2015 when Jean Coutu (Pharmacy) came around, I probably wouldn’t have been quite as defensive and maybe feeling quite as defeated that I had such a big box opponent coming in.”

About a year ago, he started a private lending mortgage brokerage. The other business he’s involved in Compass Patient Solutions, a platform that assists health professionals in the provision of optimal patient care. It offers various solutions aimed at increasing access to high-cost and complex medications, improving medication adherence and compliance, and educating patients about drugs and diseases.

Kennedy will be a panelist at the Atlantic Business Transitions Forum on April 4 at the Westin Nova Scotian in Halifax.

Kennedy is participating in a panel discussion on Effectively Structuring Your Company For Transition. When you sell or transition your business you may face a significant tax bill. If you’re not careful, you could find yourself with less than half of the purchase price in your pocket.

Fortunately, with the right preparation and enough time to implement, there are a number of opportunities to limit or even eliminate tax. This is the ideal session for CEO’s and CFO’s to attend.

This session will look at real-world examples:

  • How to structure your company well in advance of a potential sale or recapitalization
  • What options to consider to reap the benefits and avoid pitfalls
  • Tactics to avoid major post-sale surprises
  • Options for how to manage what are no longer business expenses in your life post-transition      

The Moderator is Alan Chettiar, Partner, M&A Advisory, FirePower Capital Pane and other panelists include Levi Lawrence, Partner, Iron House Pro; Mike McIsaac, CEO & Managing Director, Baker Tilly Canada Corporate Finance; and Brian Wood  CFP, FMA, CIM, Regional Vice President, IG Wealth Management.

Kennedy is Co-Owner/President of East Coast Private Lending – Corp. and Co-Owner/Director of Operations of Compass Patient Solutions, both of which are in the Maritimes. He completed a BSc at the University of New Brunswick in 2000, a PharmD at the University of Maryland in 2004 and an MBA at the University of Baltimore in 2007. A pharmacist by trade, he spent the first four years of his career working with CVS/Health in New England before relocating to Saint John, NB in 2008 to open his own independent pharmacy.

Kennedy grew the pharmacy from a 2,000-square-foot location with two employees to a 14,000-square-foot location with 35 employees at the time of its sale in September, 2021.

He lives in Saint John with his wife, Karen and their two children, Carson and Nolan. Kennedy is also a founding Board member and current Board Chair of RECAP Health Services Inc, a non-profit harm reduction centre in Saint John. He is an active volunteer in his community and helps run a 19,000-square-foot commercial real estate complex that he and Karen co-own.

“A business is nothing more than an asset. They are bought and sold everyday. Remove the emotional and identity attachments that you have to the business, employees and customers and do what is in the best interest of you and your family,” says Kennedy of the key lesson he learned in selling his business.

His advice for people if they are looking to sell their business?

“Start planning very early and make sure that your accountant and lawyer are acquainted with you and your goals so that the transaction is well planned and executed.”