Are you proud to be an independent pharmacy owner? You should be. Community pharmacies represent a large portion of our country’s health care delivery system, and they are among the most accessible and trusted sources of health related information around. By counseling your patients and providing guidance on a variety of health-related concerns you help contribute to the health of your neighbors. According to the National Community Pharmacists Association, independent pharmacies like yours fill 1.42 billion prescriptions a year, accounting for an 88.8 billion dollar marketplace. While you may be aware of the significant impact of your pharmacy in the community, there may be a few things you didn’t realize. Let’s take a look at a few common misconceptions regarding independent pharmacy ownership:
1) You Cannot Compete with the Chain Stores
This myth prevails in many industries. The news stories are similar, a corporate giant moves into the neighborhood and shortly afterwards independently owned stores close their doors. It would be foolish to believe that this does not happen, but it is equally foolish to accept it as fact. If there are multiple chain pharmacy stores in your area, don’t panic. In fact, many customers prefer shopping small, local businesses versus the big box retailers.Your customers are looking for more than cost savings,they want:
- Excellent customer service
- To support local businesses
- New and niche services
- A convenient location and staff who knows them personally
By focusing on the areas that your pharmacy can outperform larger competition, you can dispel the myth that independents cannot compete with chains.
2) Today’s Customers Only Care About the Lowest Price
Even with our economy gaining steady ground after the recent recession, there are still customers who shop solely at stores that offer the lowest price. For some shoppers stretching their dollars is an absolute necessity. But for a growing number of people, price is not the only consideration. These are the customers that your pharmacy should be attracting. Listen to the conversations happening in your store, study the demographics of your current customers. Interview and get feedback from the ones you cherish the most. Ask questions like: What are they looking for? Why do they visit your pharmacy? What would they like to see in the future? Listen, react, and prove that value is not always calculated in currency.
3) Success is ONLY Monetary
There is no shame in working to make a profit. Without it your pharmacy could not survive. You could not afford to provide for your family, or pay your staff to provide for theirs. But, as any business coach will tell you, success should mean more than the balance in your bank account. There was a reason, maybe a few, that you chose the pharmacy profession. Remember those reasons, use them for inspiration and to ignite your motivation when the hours are long and the days are even longer.
4) It’s Easy to Be Your Own Boss
From the outside, owning a company seems like the best job in the house. With no one to answer to, the ability to make any decision, and the ability to sign checks, what is there not to like about business ownership? Let’s review some of the challenges of being the boss. For starters, there is tremendous responsibility, decisions you have to make that affect your business, your employees and even your family. While you may not have a “boss” to report to , you certainly have a plethora of interests you must protect. Regardless of the industry, owning a company is hard work. (This is where we suggest you revisit myth #2.)
5) You Are in This Alone
We understand if you’re not getting together for dinner with the owners of your competing pharmacies and that it’s hard to relate to the rest of your graduating class who may hold pharmacist positions. But this does not mean that you are alone, or that you have to face the future of your pharmacy by yourself. There are entire communities of pharmacy owners who face the same stresses, concerns, questions, fears, and joys that you are right this very moment. Seek them out and join them. If you’re facing pharmacy ownership alone, you may not know how to connect with your peers. There are many different avenues you can take such as joining online groups, small business owners organizations, and even industry conferences.
What are you doing to make sure these myths don’t ring true in your pharmacy? Start by connecting with others who know exactly the position you’re in- independent pharmacy owners. The PDS 2016 Together Toward Tomorrow pharmacy business growth conference brings together the brightest minds in pharmacy together with community pharmacy owners to move the entire industry forward.
Find out more about PDS 2016, including how you can access up to ten of last year’s speaker sessions, and save your seat below.