4 Essential Business Skills for Independent Pharmacy Success

business skillsOperating a successful pharmacy takes more than the mastery of a single clinical or business skill. The complexity and evolution of the industry have made it so extended hours or higher prescription volume are not enough to drive impactful pharmacy growth. Between declining reimbursements, ambiguous DIR fees, and a competitive pricing environment owners are faced with unique roadblocks not found in other industries. The surest approach to staying competitive is to hone skills that make you and your business better. So, where do you start? Which business skills are the most relevant to successful pharmacy ownership? We’ve got that answer!  

Below are the four business skills we frequently see in the most successful independent pharmacy owners.   

Business Skill #1 – Facing Failure

Pharmacy Owners: Learn to Fail

Failure may not seem like an indicator of success or a business skill but accepting unexpected outcomes with grace forges resilience. What matters the most is your reaction and next steps when the disappointment from a loss still stings. Do you throw your hands up and move on or do you analyze what went wrong and try to figure out how to improve the situation? Experiencing failure makes you a more resourceful, flexible and empathetic leader. The most successful pharmacy leaders respond with an open mind; choosing to see the moment as an opportunity for growth.  

Business Skill #2 – Grit

Build a Thriving Pharmacy Business in the Face of Adversity 

Regardless of industry; the top performers have grit. Though often intangible, it is an easy trait to recognize when someone possesses it. Passion, determination, and motivation to achieve is a unique and undeniable combination. With the state of the industry and the challenges pharmacy entrepreneurs face, grit is a requisite for creating sustainable growth in your pharmacy. Unfortunately, over time and in the face of industry roadblocks — it can fade. Surrounding yourself with passionate and like-minded colleagues while building an empowered and mission-aligned pharmacy team can make all the difference when the going gets tough. 

Business Skill #3 – Develop Meaningful Mentorships

Pharmacy Mentors: Independent Doesn’t Mean Alone

Experience is a pricey and critical asset when it comes to running a pharmacy. Clinical skills aside, becoming an entrepreneur requires a business education that most pharmacy schools don’t have in their curriculum. Forward-thinking pharmacy owners must be proactive about gaining this knowledge.  

With the pharmacy industry in constant flux, the concept of mentorship is ever more critical for success.  

At PDS, we believe that when independents share insight into what works and what doesn’t with a trusted network — our collective strength to influence change and affect the future of our industry increases exponentially. Learning to grow and leverage a trusted network is a business skill that cannot be overlooked.

The Value of Mentor Relationships

New pharmacy owners benefit from the wealth of knowledge that only comes with years of running a business. Long-time owners benefit from new information and different perspective of a younger generation. Mentorship a two-way street and both parties need to keep a few things in mind to create a mutually beneficial dynamic.   

  • Be Clear. Define and refine your goals, whether you’re writing a call agenda or setting quarterly objectives. 
  • Give As Much AYou Get. Bring enthusiasm and energy to your sessions. 
  • Stay Mindful. The advice you give will be taken to heart. If you’re venturing into unknown territory; don’t pretend to be an expert.  
  • Drop the B.S. Embrace candor within your mentorship. Honest feedback leads to real improvement. 

Business Skill #4 – Maintain an Innovator’s Mindset 

Meet Challenges with Innovation

Identifying areas to innovate should be a regular part of your business strategy. These opportunities can manifest in many ways. The employee that oversees your medication synchronization program may have ideas on how to add more patients to the program. A vendor you work closely with can introduce you to a new technology that changes everything. Keeping an “innovators mindset” is a critical business skill.We are all familiar with the saying,  

“If you are the smartest person in the room, you’re in the wrong room.”  

As a business leader, you must see and nurture the value that your network brings to the table. Including your pharmacy team and trusted colleagues in this process will amplify your success.  


We can’t buy Aetna; we can’t merge with Target. But if we unite on a few key fronts, you are going to see an entirely different industry, ripe with opportunities. Read our latest white paper that outlines a Strategy for Independent Pharmacy to save itself. For 20 years, Pharmacy Development Services (PDS) has been helping thousands of owners across the country shift their business into high gear. We know firsthand what it takes to keep you operating at the top of your license.

 

 

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