Operating 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 As You 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.
This is a philosophy I share with almost all pharmacy owners whenever we speak about employee performance. Why? While managing people is often labeled as daunting, everyone understands the fundamentals of sports.
From the players on your team to the programs, or plays, you implement on the “court,” the same mindset and skills required to craft the best basketball team can be applied to operating a wildly-success pharmacy business.
That’s why I’m thrilled to welcome Earvin “Magic” Johnson, one of the greatest athletes of all time, onto the stage at the 2018 PDS Super-Conference this coming February.
While he was a sensational talent in the 13 years he played point guard for the Los Angeles Lakers, what was magic about him, and still is to this day, was that he understood how to make his teammates look great. He was the consummate team player and understood that while individuals score points, teams win championships.
In fact, since retiring, he has translated that skill into the business world and has continually invested ownership in many lucrative businesses including movie theaters, urban real estate developments, restaurants, an infrastructure fund, EquiTrust Life Insurance Company, ASPiRE television network, professional sports teams and others. Recently, he was named the President of Basketball Operations of the Los Angeles Lakers.
And that’s exactly what I want him to share at the conference — that business is no different than sports. That if you look at your business as a game you want to win, you will see massive results in your business, bottom line, and, ultimately, your life.
- Your front line is your bottom line. The teams with the best players win. Every pharmacy owner wants a superstar team that will generate new business, solve problems and engage with the customers. But the downside is that high-performance people need to be surrounded by other rock stars. The question is… what are you going to accept or tolerate? As businesses evolve, so do the type of employees needed to execute the plan. Just because they were a great employee 15 years ago doesn’t always guarantee they are a high-performer today. You must continually evaluate your team and fill out the ranks with remarkable talent.
- Your Culture Is a Defensive Strategy. Just because you sell the exact same products to the exact same people doesn’t mean you’re in the same business. Your pharmacy’s culture – your team’s bond – is the intangible that’s driving competition wild. It’s almost as if they stick their head in and they look and see, “How much merchandise do you have? How is it merchandised? What’s the price?” Nobody considers “Wow, they make you feel welcome here. They’re knowledgeable. They’re trained. They’re personable. They care.” When you focus on fostering a stellar culture within the four walls of your pharmacy, it actually becomes both an offensive and defensive strategy. After all, your competition doesn’t steal your customers, you give them away.
- Be Coachable and Work the Playbook. Johnson and his team went to the NBA Finals nine of the 13 years he was on the team. They didn’t get there alone. They had numerous coaches with strategies that led them to countless victories. Not only do you need to have top-notch employees, you also need to work with experts who can look at your business from the outside and provide a roadmap to success, access to ideas and programs, that will turn your ideas into a reality and significantly add to your pharmacy’s bottom line. The amount of time you spend thinking about your business – identifying opportunities, evaluating weakness, etc – versus grinding away at your task list, should be just as much as an athlete practices. However, practice doesn’t make perfect, it makes permanent. Work with an expert who can see you shoot and fine-tune your skills along the way.
Simply shifting your perspective can change your reality. From innovative perspectives, extraordinary networking, data-driving solutions, this three-day event gives you the playbook to make you even more profitable. This is where the superstars of the independent pharmacy industry go year after year to continually improve and learn how to win championships. Our pharmacy programs are the industry’s best-kept secret. Come see for yourself why we are so confident in our ability to change your life and improve the profitability of your pharmacy that we have a conference guarantee. If you don’t see the value of the PDS Super-Conference after the first day, we’ll reimburse your travel up to $500 and give you an additional $300 — no questions asked.
Pharmacy ownership doesn’t have to be scary. Sure, the industry is filled with pitfalls and roadblocks, but there’s no need to fear! Here are four pharmacy rules to get you through this Friday the 13th and beyond.
You can survive and come out the other side with a thriving successful pharmacy.
Don’t Go Swimming
What does swimming have to do with running a successful pharmacy? What we’re trying to say is there is no need to jump into the deep lake in the woods when you don’t have the bandwidth or experience — aka if you aren’t ready to leave the pool you know. Focus on what you do exceptionally well and execute (chainsaw pun intended) to the best of your ability. Take the time to improve processes in your Synchronization program, create an excellent patient experience, provide the best customer service in town. Once you have mastered the skill of swimming in one pool, find yourself a new lake to conquer and repeat the process. Take on the lake of RxAnalytics or implement a Clinical Services program. Rushing to do more than what you are realistically capable of will only lead to trouble.
Don’t Run From the Killer if You Can Fight and WIN
There’s a lot of competition out there, but you can’t be scared to compete. The PBM’S, DIR fees, and big chain stores may be intimidating when they are staring you down, but there isn’t any reason for you to run. You have two secret weapons these competitors can’t offer and they will help you beat the competition every time. What is it that will help you succeed in the face of danger?
- SECRET WEAPON #1: You have a network of pharmacy owners out there just like you that are ready and willing to engage in a knowledge-sharing culture.
Our industry-only message board generates hundreds of posts a week that address everything from technical challenges, to the best kind of shoes to wear when working the bench. The PDS Super-Conference is an exceptional opportunity to engage with the industry elite in person. Many are willing to share their wins, losses, tips, and tricks if it means keeping the industry moving forward.
- SECRET WEAPON #2: Your insider knowledge of your community.
You know the healthcare needs of your area better than any box chain ever could, and this information can be leveraged to impact areas like your profitability, team building, and implementing new revenue streams. Next time you’re looking at a scary competitor, reach for the tools you have to stand up to those that want to see you fall.
If You Trip, Get Up and Keep Running
You can’t just give up when you’re being chased through the woods. Running a business isn’t fool-proof, you will make mistakes as you go. Spending your time and efforts on building prescription volume when you could be leveraging the data in your pharmacy is a mistake, and most pharmacy owners have made it. Some just lay down and accept their fate, but those that see success are the ones who got up and figured out where they should be focusing instead.
Don’t Split Up
Power in numbers. This is true in the horror movies and in the independent pharmacy industry. Our members are the top 25% of the industry, the cutting edge when it comes to pharmacy operations and profitability. In fact, some of our members have become such rockstars in the industry, they are training facilitators for PDS to teach their strategies to other owners. Our RxAnalytics program not only looks at your specific pharmacy data but puts it into the context of other member pharmacies. Independent doesn’t mean alone, our network of approved vendors, subject matter experts, and ever-growing industry-only message board keeps independents engaged and connected for long-term success.
Running your pharmacy business should be fun, not scary. If it’s scary for you, that is a red flag. Talk to us! We can help you lay down a plan to navigate your business to make it through the woods. Or better yet, talk to your peers on the PDS Advantage Industry Message Board (it’s free to sign up and start connecting!). They’ll tell you what we already know — there’s nothing scarier than the unknown.
Join Us at The PDS Super-Conference
Come to the place where the industry meets. This 3-day event is the only event dedicated to pharmacy business growth. Our amazing Lineup of speakers, experts and vendors will blow you away — not to mention the lifetime connections you will make with your fellow attendees. What are you waiting for? Click below to save your seat before we sell out! Come see for yourself why we are so confident in our ability to change your life and improve the profitability of your pharmacy that we have a conference guarantee. If you don’t see the value of the PDS Super-Conference after the first day, we’ll reimburse your travel up to $500 and give you an additional $300 — no questions asked.
Between PBMs, DIR fees, MAC pricing and clawbacks, the independent pharmacy owners we work with are hungry for proven strategies to transform their business. And who would blame them? Identifying ways to supplement your pharmacy’s bottom line is more important than ever with insurance companies and auditors regularly skimming from the top.
Our R&D team is dedicated to creating profitable and patient-focused member programs, such as RxAnalytics. This proprietary system analyzes pharmacy data to uncover specific ways to increase profit margins, but success is not just about making money.
Is this a shocking statement from the “pharmacy profit” guys? Absolutely! However, we know it’s just as critical to be an excellent team leader.
Every year at the annual PDS Super-Conference, we unveil the newest ideas and programs
programs guaranteed to push you past the competition, add cash to your pockets, and work on you as a leader. Why? Because that’s the accelerant for turning “We’re having a good year,“ into “Our accountant is asking why our profitability is this high!“
As our founder, Dan Benamoz, says, PDS can give you the tools necessary to start the campfire, but leadership will turn it into a roaring bonfire that warms everyone and everything. It’s the rocket fuel that gets the PDS programs not only up in the air but into orbit.
Do pharmacy owners forget to value leadership?
The short answer is no. Everyone has an idea of “good leadership” or can picture someone they admire. However, the reality is that pharmacy school taught you how to be a competent healthcare provider, not how to be a leader or business owner. And while some owners have a natural ability, it’s not the reality for most in this field.
In fact, there are three areas Dan believes aren’t discussed enough at universities that we’ve found to be a critical element to success: ethics, leadership and culture.
The root of unethical behavior is greed. It’s important to discuss this with pharmacy owners because the reality is that our industry, which is dictated by insurance companies and PBMs, is built on…well, greed.
Of course, we want to do the right things for the right reasons, and do them for the greater good. However, in this industry, owners sometimes find themselves pushing the envelope just to get by. They feel the only way to win is to cheat the game, which is simply not true. You can do what’s best for the patient and your business while still being able to sleep soundly at night.
As one of the most trusted professions, a title we all wear proudly, we’re here to improve society. We as pharmacists need to ensure we’re furthering that reputation, not hindering it, especially as we get closer to being more integrative in clinical practices. We have the trust and confidence of many people in the community, so it’s critical everyone is careful. What took our profession and your business a lifetime to build can be ruined with one small misstep.
Your team wants someone to follow. Someone who has a vision that will inspire them, foster job satisfaction and fulfillment, as though they’re contributing to something bigger than themselves. Being the pharmacy owner, inherently most of you have assumed the role of Leader. It’s a tremendous responsibility, and to succeed, it’s essential you know what the expectations are so you can cultivate the right work environment. You want your team to look forward to coming in and feel good about providing an essential service to patients in the community. Good leadership has a trickle-down effect, and that’s what we mean when we say quality starts in the boardroom.
What would the Philharmonic be without the symphony hall? Culture represents the environment in which you operate and while it can be hard to fully grasp, it’s critical to success. But is culture intentional or unintentional? For many pharmacies, it’s unintentional, which means they’re probably making some mistakes. If they simply knew more about what they’re doing, they could really set their business on fire. The good news is that it’s usually just a few broken links, not the whole chain. When you can identify these weak links, you can fix them and begin to nurture a culture with intention.
After profitability, employees are one of the biggest frustrations for business owners.
If employees are one of the biggest frustrations, how do we make sure we’re addressing the challenges properly? How do we get culture and leadership to work for pharmacy owners rather than against them? How do we get it to bring you joy?
While we have the programs and strategies to help, we still believe they are not discussed enough. That’s why leadership and culture are always a major theme at the PDS Conference and why we’re inviting the foremost experts to speak at the 2018 event. After all, we only want the best for our show.
We tend to keep our schedule for the show a surprise, but this year we’re so excited about the big names we’ve invited, that we couldn’t resist announcing that John Maxwell will join us in Orlando. He has authored more than 100 books, many being New York Times Best Sellers, selling over 16 million copies, and was named the #1 leadership expert in the world by Inc. Magazine in 2014.
John’s philosophy that “everything rises and falls on leadership,” motivates his every endeavor to help individuals reach their highest potential, both in personal and professional settings.
To him, there’s no higher goal than to help others realize their significance. He has dedicated his life to growing and equipping others to do remarkable things and lead significant and fulfilled lives. John will discuss…
- How to become a person of influence
- Develop the leader within you and those around you
- And, most importantly, how to fail forward
As an owner, what is your first instinct when you stare headlong into another business challenge? Do you immediately lay claim to a solution and disregard input from others? Or, are you the type who treats challenges as an opportunity for growth and improvement?
FACT: No leader can solve every problem or claim to have all the answers.
What they can do is harness one of the most important, yet underestimated skills in any professional repertoire. This skill is the underlying current of PDS; it is what drives us to excel. Our most successful members have grasped this concept and continue to run with it to grow their businesses to reach unimaginable heights.
For 2018, we are focusing on one of the most important lessons every successful member knows, and every entrepreneur should learn: Stay Coachable.
What does all this have to do with announcing our first keynote speaker? Simply put, everything. The exceptional speaker we are revealing has been communicating this message for nearly 40 years as a leadership guru and international keynote speaker.
We are bursting at the seams to tell you that our first keynote speaker who will grace the big stage at the 2018 PDS Super-Conference is the legendary leadership extraordinaire himself… John Maxwell!
John has become a household name and has stayed at the forefront of transforming millions of people into exceptional leaders. The core of his message perfectly aligns with PDS’ mantra: it is never too late to start living up to your potential.
How do you recognize if you are keeping a coachable state of mind?
John Maxwell has identified a few key identifiers to help you understand what makes someone coachable.
- Coachable = Approachable | Someone that is coachable has to have a degree of openness and acceptance; they have to be willing to listen to things they may not want to hear, but they need to hear. They have to be willing to actively listen and apply knowledge without bias on where the idea came from.
- Learn-it-all’s, Not Know-it-all’s | As the saying goes, if you are the smartest person in the room, you’re in the wrong room. If you’re running your business without consideration to the type of value others can bring to the table you are missing out on a wealth of information. Closing your mind to the knowledge and ideas others bring is equal to shutting the door on growth.
- Shifting Gears: The Lynchpin of Leadership | The challenges will never stop, if you’ve been in business for more than a day, you’ve likely picked up on that lesson. What’s the key to managing it all? Shifting gears. Taking a critical look at yourself is just as important as taking an objective and analytical look at the situation. After all, is it possible that you could be the problem?
When we say that the PDS Super-Conference is the most important pharmacy business conference of your career, we aren’t exaggerating. The show we produce is a direct reflection of the PDS core values and is tangible in every aspect of our conference.
If you are a pharmacy owner, manager, employee, or in the pharmacy industry, you owe it to yourself to experience this conference that attendees have been calling year after year “transformational,” “magical,” “breakthrough.” You get the idea.
Don’t believe us? See the results yourself. Join us in Orlando, FL on February 22-24, 2018. You will not regret it!
Non-PDS Members: Our September Offer to You
For 19 years, PDS has been working with independent pharmacies, just like yours, and we’ve heard the same complaints and frustrations time and again.
“I’m tired of working so hard for such little return.”
“I dread going to work every day, not knowing if tomorow is going to be okay.”
“I don’t know how to get ahead with everything beating down on me.”
“I’ve opened my own pharmacy; what do I do now?”
And for 19 years, we’ve heard you loud and clear. Pharmacy business development is our thing, and we’re the best in the world at what we do. If you or someone you know has said anything remotely close to what you have read in the lines above, take a moment to collect yourself because now is the time to pay attention. After all, what is 12 minutes of your time when it comes to the success of your pharmacy business?
In this short video we want to show you an open door that will lead you and your team to an entirely new way of thinking about pharmacy ownership.
We get it; we sell access to a premium pharmacy membership for a living, so why would you listen to us when we say our stuff works? Because this isn’t about us selling anything to you; this is about you, the pharmacy owner. It’s always been about you, our passion for the industry, and showing owners, just like you that there is a better way. We’re on a mission to change the industry, one pharmacy at a time.
Listen to the real results that actual pharmacy owners are achieving. The proof is in their numbers.
If you want to skip the video, we get it, you’re busy, so we’ve placed a few highlights below. These results are directly from the mouth of two pharmacy owners. One is a long-term PDS member, and the other has only been a PDS member for under 5 months. Keep that in mind — these results have been acheived in only 5 months.
- New Member Pharmacy Owner (Under 5 months as a PDS member)
- Earned $24,000 within the first 14 days of PDS membership.
- Started with an average profit margin of $9.50 per script, she is now at $17.40 per script all from one program.
- This translates into $11,200 per week; $44,800 per month; $537,600 per year in additional profits.
- She was able to give staff $13,000 in bonuses for the first time. How do you think that boosted team morale?
- Long-term pharmacy owner and PDS member
- Consistently ahead of the curve and he is now an early adopter of the latest ‘golden egg’ programs that consistently increase his profits.
- Started at about $12 average profit margin per script, and he can’t remember a time in years when he has ever fallen below $20 average profit margin per script.
Watch these pharmacy owners share their aha moments with you. It gives us the goosies every time we watch it.