How Connecting With Pharmacy Owners Can Help Grow Your Pharmacy

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Connecting with other pharmacy owners is the single most important marketing and business ownership tool available to any pharmacy entrepreneur. Relationships are the catalyst for success. When you build a strong network of like-minded professionals around you, you will be amazed at the progress you can make together as a group. Building strategic, impactful relationships is completely free and getting started is easier than you think.

Get Business Cards

As a savvy business owner, you know the importance of networking, but you may not realize how influential your business cards can be. The quality of your card will leave a lasting impression on those who receive it. Purchasing quality business cards should be thought of as a critical investment, not an area to save money. Hire a professional agency and find a design that completely captures what you and your pharmacy are all about.

Practice Your Elevator Speech

When you attend a networking event, be prepared to deliver an elevator speech. A clear, brief synopsis about you and your business will allow you to communicate who you are and why you are at the event. In about thirty seconds, you will convey enough information to begin a conversation with your new contact.

Go to Industry Events

industry conference is a perfect opportunity to meet independent pharmacy owners just like you. It provides a unique opportunity to discuss best practices within the industry, learn about new programs and get advice from industry leaders who understand the challenges you face on a daily basis. You will gain a variety of viewpoints from other independent pharmacy owners and you will pick up new ideas to improve your current processes.

Enjoy Yourself

Connecting and networking with other pharmacy owners should be fun, not scary. If you are enjoying yourself, you will naturally attract others to you and the networking will feel much more organic. Many conferences include fun, informal events like lunch socials and happy hours, which are a prime opportunity to easily build new relationships.

There is no limit to how much your pharmacy may grow through networking. As the old saying goes, “it’s not what you know, it’s who you know.” When your network is constantly expanding, so are your chances of meeting industry experts, receiving valuable advice and learning new skills. If you are ready to make new friends and learn from the pharmacy industry’s absolute top leaders, we invite you to join us at next year’s Together Toward Tomorrow Super-Conference

At the conference, we will highlight new ways to grow your business through connection and innovation. We believe that although you are independent, you are not alone. Together, we can make 2016 the best year of independent pharmacy yet and pave the way toward a better tomorrow. Join us!

 

3 Ways Networking With Peers Can Revolutionize Your Pharmacy Business

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Many sacrifices are required along the road to revolutionize your pharmacy business. You probably feel like no one can quite understand how much your business means to you, but what if someone could? There would be camaraderie, idea sharing, support and a place to go for advice.

As an independent pharmacist, it’s easy to discount the fact that you are part of a large, impressive community, which is why networking with peers has proven to be an invaluable tool for thousands of pharmacy owners just like you. Investing the time to attend industry events is certainly worth it in the long run.

Here are the top three reasons you should make connecting with peers a priority:

1. Generate New Ideas

Networking with others is a great way to develop new ideas and gain feedback on ideas of your own. When you spend time with industry leaders, you have the opportunity to eliminate trial and error by hashing out your plans with those who have already implemented similar concepts successfully. Taking advantage of the opportunity to network with other pharmacy owners could save you countless dollars and hours.

2. Gain Emotional Support

Networking is more than just talking. When done right, you are building a community of people who support each other in good times and bad. Speaking with a peer who understands your challenges will provide extra motivation and encouragement when you need it most.

3. Acquire Valuable Business Advice

Owning and operating a pharmacy is not easy. And while you are an expert on the pharmaceutical side of your business, the financial side can be confusing. If you didn’t take business or finance classes in school, you may be taking unnecessary risks by learning as you go. Whether your synchronization program is requiring too much manpower and needs to be simplified or you are in hot water financially, enlisting support from other owners who understand your challenges will surely have positive results.

Nothing can replace a face-to-face networking experience, which allows for new opportunities, unbreakable bonds and a rejuvenated outlook. Pharmacy owners who attend the annual PDS Super-Conference have reported that it is “a breath of fresh air” and will expose you to “more actionable recommendations than all other industry events combined.” To start connecting with like-minded independent pharmacy owners, register now for the PDS Independent Pharmacy Super-Conference: Together Toward Tomorrow

 

2015 Pharmacy Entrepreneur of the Year

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Chris_Cornelison_Pharmacist_of_the_Year“When I started, I just wanted to make a living…”
– Chris Cornelison

Every year, PDS recognizes entrepreneurs who demonstrate excellence in all areas of pharmacy – from innovation and financial performance to personal commitment to their business and community. This year’s Pharmacy Entrepreneur of the Year Award went to Chris Cornelison – the owner of Iuka Discount Drugs and Saltillo Pharmacy and Solutions, who proudly received the award in front of more than 1,000 of his colleagues at the 2015 PDS Conference in Orlando.

What makes Chris Cornelison and Iuka so remarkable?

As a pharmacy owner, for the past 17 years, Chris’s main priority was to do everything possible in order to provide the best service to his customers. His dedication motivated him to develop and launch his own line of supplements called Solutions Rx, which also included a group of nutrient depletion products called Restore. “Drug nutrient depletion is when a prescription medication takes vitamins and minerals out of the body,” he explained. “The depletion of vitamins is what often causes the common side effects of medication. So we created a line focused on offsetting side effects and keeping patients healthy in four main areas – diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol and birth control/hormones.”

The results were amazing: with currently80 customers in 35 states, and more than 5,000 bottles shipped, the demand for Solutions Rx keeps growing. And now, Chris plans to add 10 new products to his line in order to help even more patients overcome nutrient depletion.

Always Pushing to Do More

Steve Jobs once said, If you really look closely, most overnight successes took a long time. The success of Iuka Pharmacy didn’t come overnight either. When Chris Cornelison became a PDS member in 2008, he couldn’t dream about what he would achieve. With climbing cost of prescription drugs and declining third-party reimbursements, Chris struggled making his sales figures. His main goal was to increase prescription volume, so he could look ahead into the future with confidence.

With the help of his PDS Business Coach and Implementation Specialist, Chris focused on three fundamental principles: patient adherence, team motivation and customer service. The Iuka team worked very hard on implementing the cutting-edge programs to get the company vision across the finish line, and the results were truly astonishing:

Gained Solid Control over Patient Adherence

Never-ending workload and inefficient operations was a long-time struggle for Chris and his team. Customers with multiple prescriptions often called several times during the month, minimizing the ability of the pharmacy staff to build efficiencies that would free up valuable time to devote to customer service. The need to help patients easily manage their medication prompted Iuka to introduce the SyncRx program to both store locations. SyncRx became especially valuable with an added Dispill component that offered an adherence packaging solution to all of Iuka’s patients. This allowed them to capture and effectively serve more than 1,500 new patients in 2014 alone.

Improved Team Engagement and Motivation

Chris knew that he always had a great team beside him, no matter how busy their schedule would get. However, the need for operational efficiency and leaner communication between team members brought Chris the idea to implement the 4DI Process, so everyone could stay on track with the company goals and standards. In this process, his PDS Business Coach and Implementation Specialist helped revamp his company uRock program by encouraging more sophisticated ways for the team members to praise each other’s work. As a result of this investment, both locations experienced a tremendous increase in employee morale and customer satisfaction. So much so that, Saltillo Pharmacy & Solutions was voted “2014 Best Pharmacy of North Mississippi” by the readers of the North Mississippi Daily Journal.

Focused on Sales and Customer Retention

The team’s motivation for 2014 was “Don’t miss any opportunities to offer solutions that could solve patients’ problems and increase profits.” With declining sales and third-party reimbursements, Chris wanted to do everything possible to increase prescription volume and open up new selling opportunities. So they focused on removing low-profit margins on OTC products that didn’t sell regularly, and replaced them with higher profit opportunities. They also implemented a customer referral program offering coupons to off-site flu clinic patients. As a result of these efforts at the end of 2014, sales were increased by 20% and the net profit from new business went up by $27,000.

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Desire to do better and set higher expectations for the team is what makes Chris’s pharmacy so successful. “It’s been fun; it’s great,” he said. “But I’ve got a great team around me, good people who know how to do their job well and who work well together. It’s more than me. We’re going to keep doing what we’ve been doing.

We are proud to provide continuing support in making great things happen for Chris Cornelison and his team and look forward to the future success of Iuka Discount Drugs and Saltillo Pharmacy and Solutions.

What were the most impactful strategies your pharmacy implemented that have produced powerful, measurable and tangible results? Let us know in the comments or submit your essay to inspire others.

Have you been thinking about implementing a new program or service in your pharmacy but have no idea where to start? Download our FREE ebook, The Pharmacy Owner’s Guide to an Exceptionally Effective Implementation today.

Subscribe to our blog to receive PDS news and updates! You can also find us on Facebook,TwitterLinkedIn and Google+.

 

Dan Benamoz Featured on the Cover of Pharmacy Times Magazine

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PDS-Dan-Cover-April-2015Whether its robots, microbots, smartphones, or 3-dimensional (3-D) printing, the potential for technology to impact health care and pharmacy excites and motivates Dan Benamoz, RPh, founder and chief executive officer, Pharmacy Development Services (PDS). In a recent interview with Pharmacy Times Magazine, Benamoz explained that technological advancements in the field of medicine will occur faster than most people expect and that part of a pharmacy’s future success will depend on how well it prepares and adapts to change. He predicts that the knowledge gained through supercomputers and mapping of the human genome will lead to revolutionary changes in diagnostics and treatments. “What you are going to see in these next 5 years is twice the amount of innovation that you’ve seen in the last 35 to 40 years collectively,” he said.

Benamoz stressed that cutting-edge technology is already beginning to impact health care. A contact lens that can detect blood glucose levels using tears is undergoing testing. “Microbots” that can swim in a person’s bloodstream are also being tested, opening up the potential for treatment to be delivered in a highly targeted way.

These medical advances could render many in-person outpatient visits nonessential, noted Benamoz. Handheld digital devices are already available that, with a single drop of blood, can identify and detect diseases long before patients become symptomatic. “People will have these [devices] in their home and will pretty much know what’s wrong with them,” he said. Once they receive a diagnosis, patients will be able use their smartphones to contact a physician who could then access their medical history and handle a majority of their problems via telemedicine. Pharmacists could also be accessed remotely, and drones might one day be used to deliver medications. Any equipment a patient needs could be created with a 3-D printer, Benamoz added.

To be successful in this era of technology, pharmacy owners will have to learn to think exponentially, rather than linearly, he said. With the Internet, pharmacists and patients have access to an unprecedented amount of information. Learning how to analyze and use the information is key. “There’s no politics and no emotion in data,” Benamoz said. “If you are making decisions based on your gut, you cannot make good decisions.”

According to Benamoz, pharmacists need to become problem solvers and think more strategically. Data can be used to learn consumers’ preferences and habits, and determine what questions to ask. Pharmacists can know what people need before they do. Benamoz advises pharmacists to focus more on patients who have chronic diseases, interact with them as valued customers, and ask a lot of questions. The business of pharmacy is no longer about how many prescriptions can be filled.

“People don’t buy products. People don’t buy services. People buy solutions to problems,” he said. “We are so busy being busy. One of the most important things you need to do is have special time set aside for thinking.”

Having happy customers is all about creating a good experience for them, noted Benamoz. It is also about knowing that “the little things” make the difference (Online Sidebar). It is crucial to create a culture where people want to excel, and that starts with leadership and hiring the right people. “Great employees make you money; they don’t cost you money. It’s the bad ones that cost you money.”

Five Fundamental Principles of Success

  • People don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care.
  • The more you help others, the greater your own success will be.
  • It’s all the little things done exactly right that separate the extraordinary stores from the ordinary stores.
  • Consistent execution is a competitive advantage.
  • If you can measure it, you can manage it. If you can manage it, you can improve it.

The first PDS conference, which had 42 attendees, was never intended to be a conference. Benamoz sought to help other store owners grow their businesses. Now in its 11th year, the PDS Independent Pharmacy Business Growth Conference attracts more than 1000 attendees. During his opening remarks in Orlando, Florida, this year, Benamoz told attendees that it is an exciting time to be a pharmacist and that there is a great deal of opportunity for those who are willing to embrace change and take chances.

“We’re now tasked with the responsibility of guiding this profession into this new era. It’s our time to step up and accept our roles as pioneers, to improve it, generation over generation, and leave this profession better off than how we received it. That will be our legacy.”

 

Turning Independent Pharmacy Ideas into Action

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 “If anyone did not find their $10,000 it is their fault for not paying attention. Now we have to turn the ideas into results.” 
– Gary Bowman Oxford, NC

For those who attended the Independent Pharmacy Business Growth Conference in Orlando – there were so many big ideas shared and worth implementing into real-world pharmacy strategies. While we can’t cover every concept presented at the event, in the coming weeks, we will be publishing a series of blog posts to lay out our view of the most actionable independent pharmacy ideas that were turned into real tangible results. This isn’t just hype: last year alone many pharmacy entrepreneurs were able to turn innovative ideas into robust strategies worth at least $10,000 of new profits. We are happy to share their success stories with you.

Tom Choquette

BERT’S PHARMACY


IF YOU DON’T MEASURE IT, YOU WON’T CHANGE IT

In January 2014, Tom Choquette of Bert’s Pharmacy bought out a business partner of 31 years and addeda second location to his existing pharmacy in rural Nebraska. The area wasn’t growing and his pharmacy had to compete with eight other pharmacies, including a Walgreens and a Walmart. Tom knew he needed to make a change, but wasn’t sure where to begin. He attended the PDS conference and brought home a handful of ideas he wanted to implement in his pharmacy right away. His best hope was to continue to grow, in spite of mail-order services and declining reimbursements. Tom’s entrepreneurial spirit and desire to succeed inspired him to become a PDS member and begin making baby steps toward his dream.

After the initial discovery call, Coach John Marshall and Implementation Specialist Lisa Baker identified 3 main improvement opportunities and deployed a comprehensive plan for getting Bert’s Pharmacy where Tom wanted it to be. They focused their attention on boosting employee engagement, implementing specialty pharmacy niches and revamping marketing. Additionally, John and Lisa emphasized the need to measure the progress in order to improve the results – because there is no change without measuring.

Employee Engagement

Tom knew he had an exceptional team of employees who were eager to embrace the change and provide support for the new program implementation. They just needed more guidance, so Lisa and John recommended turning what had been monthly birthday parties into “team meetings”, so everybody was able to collaborate on a vision, goals, marketing strategies and other tools needed to run the business more efficiently. As a result, Tom’s team became more productive and he was able to expand by hiring a marketing director and a store manager.

Specialty Niches

At the PDS conference, Tom heard many successful pharmacy entrepreneurs emphasize the importance of developing a “specialty” area to expand revenue streams. This idea prompted Tom to launch an immunization program at several schools in the area and, as a result, Bert’s Pharmacy went from giving no flu shots in 2011 to giving 1,300 in 2014. In addition to providing quality vaccines, Tom and his team implemented an educational program to keep school staff members up-to-date on all vaccinations they needed, including DPT, Pneumovax and Zostavax.

Pharmacy Marketing

As a tech-savvy entrepreneur, Tom understood the importance of incorporating technology into his marketing plan. In a short few months, he revamped his website and created a Facebook page to stay in touch with current patients as well as attract new business. He also added a text messaging service that notified customers when their prescriptions were ready, and the Rx-to-go app with Internet refill capabilities.

On top of the new technology, Tom’s team implemented customer service programs for building stronger relationships with the patients. They launched a Thank You program for sending letters to first-time patients welcoming them to the pharmacy and explaining customer benefits. A new customer birthday program has also been implemented as a way to encourage repeat business.

Progress Measurement

At the end of the first year, Tom was able to measure his pharmacy’s success and discovered that it was even more significant than he had anticipated! As a result of implementing new programs, improving team engagement and boosting marketing efforts, overall pharmacy sales increased by 19% and prescriptions filled were up 7%. In addition to the improved sales and prescription numbers, Bert’s Pharmacy raised enough funds to expand one of its stores into a bigger location.

Tom Choquette agrees that one of the greatest lessons he has learned as a PDS member is that measuring everything is the key to success. He will continue developing specialty programs, marketing, employee engagement and financial data usage; however, setting new goals and tracking the progress of his stores in each of these areas will remain his main focus in 2015.

What were the most impactful strategies your pharmacy implemented that have produced powerful, measurable and tangible results? Let us know in the comments or submit your essay to inspire others.

Have you been thinking about implementing a new program or service in your pharmacy but have no idea where to start? Download our FREE ebook, The Pharmacy Owner’s Guide to an Exceptionally Effective Implementation today.

Subscribe to our blog to receive PDS news and updates! You can also find us on FacebookTwitterLinkedIn Google+

 

[Video – Pharmacy Times] Specialty Pharmacy Programs in Community Pharmacies

 

Rinku A. Patel, PharmD, RPh, founder and CEO of KloudScript, talks about advantages that a specialty pharmacy program in the community pharmacy space offers for traditional community operations. This interview was recorded at the Pharmacy Development Services 2015 conference in Orlando, Florida.

Pharmacy Times] Why Offering Bedside Care is Advantageous to Pharmacists

 

Nicolette Mathey, PharmD, creative solutions specialist for Pharmacy Development Services, talks about why offering bedside care is advantageous to pharmacists.
This interview was recorded at the Pharmacy Development Services 2015 conference in Orlando, Florida.

[Pharmacy Times] Secrets to Pharmacy Success Considered at PDS Conference

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by: Eileen Oldfield, Associate Editor, Pharmacy Times

PDS2The secrets to pharmacy success can be obtained by changing the way in which one views the pharmacy business, said Dan Benamoz, RPh, president and CEO of Pharmacy Development Services (PDS), in his keynote address at the 2015 PDS conference held from February 18-21, 2015, in Orlando, Florida.

In the spirit of leading by example, Benamoz delivered part of his address via a Beam telepresence robot, rolling onto the stage and observing the crowd through the robot’s large, mounted screen. –

See more at: http://www.pharmacytimes.com/news/Secrets-to-Pharmacy-Success-Considered-at-PDS-Conference#sthash.70PWwSDT.dpuf

*Photo credit: Alex Della

 

10 Reasons to Attend the Best Pharmacy Conference

 

The final countdown is on! The best pharmacy conference of the year is less than a week away.

For three days, February 18-21, 2015 you’ll step into a space that will give you the right tools to generate ideas and strategically plan business operations in a way that can’t be done anywhere else. We will dare you to think bigger and better than ever before, to seek opportunities and challenge the status quo.

What’s unique about PDS15?

PDS15 is unlike any other event in the industry. There is no other conference that compares to the quality of content and value that you will be exposed to in these three days.

We’ve invited over a dozen business experts – both independent pharmacy owners and outside-the-industry gurus – to share their ideas and provide strategies guaranteed to save your business thousands in the upcoming years. You will be blown away by the top-notch level of expertise in the areas ranging from entrepreneurial leadership to financial strategy and operations.

This conference is not just for PDS Members, it’s for all independent pharmacy owners looking to take their business to the next level and reap the rewards of pharmacy ownership!

With the conference getting closer every day, we want to ensure that you don’t miss your opportunity to attend and don’t let unanswered questions get in your way. If you’re still on the fence about joining us at the PDS Conference, download our free ebook to reveal top 10 reasons to attend.

Subscribe to our blog to receive PDS news and updates! You can also find us on FacebookTwitterLinkedIn Google+