As the thoughts turn to negotiations for the 7CPA in Australia and many similar changes are taking place around the world, some pharmacists are holding their collective breaths, still waiting for a miracle, hoping for some advantage or benefit to offset the hammering that many in community pharmacy have taken, over the last few years.
There are others though who either don’t notice, or mostly ignore these less than ideal circumstances. Dare I say it, I’ve even met pharmacists who are excited by the current market conditions and forging ahead with plans to grow, making a bigger difference to more communities, offering innovative and new customer service and services.
Some pharmacists have been massively successful, and it may long continue. There are proven strategies which are working for successful pharmacies right now, but you must be open minded. You must be willing to make a few small yet critical changes.
Bottom line, either you’re waiting for the planets to align a.k.a. living in hope or you can continue to grow, create better more flexible time saving systems in your pharmacy, and not only fend off the negative impact in our current market, but you can thrive. Don’t die wondering where all the great customers are going, ensure they come to you…..
What I’m going to say next may ruffle a few feathers, but I’m going to say it anyway: what are you waiting for? For the moon to be in Venus and the stars and planets to be aligned before you accept the reality that competition will increase and support from the government will likely continue to decrease?
Every industry has had to cope with tough times, disadvantageous changes to rules, regulations or market conditions. Sometimes all of them, at once. Only the tough survive.
Are you one of them?
How do you know?
Well. Here are the indications:
• If you spend your time looking for solutions rather than complaining or talking to your mates about the good old days…then you’re tough.
• If you tend to zig when others zag… Then you’re tough.
• If you take action and a calculated risk and especially if you’re one of the first to take action instead of waiting and hoping for things to get better….then you’re tough.
The fact is that whether or not you’re tough, for pharmacists, things are not going to get better. Business is more competitive and challenging than ever before. It’s time to get with the program, if you haven’t already. The good news is, you have a golden opportunity to create some of your own precedents and rules. You can still be ahead of the pack and ahead of those annoying competitors snapping at your heels trying to overtake you. The smart operators will survive and indeed will flourish as the competition shrivels and falls by the wayside.
There will always be a place for pharmacies that offer real value to their community. And I don’t mean the cheapest prices. Customers still want your expertise and advice.
The basics still apply. Care for your customers and patients. Look after your staff. Reward loyalty from wherever it comes. Keep an eye on all your numbers, not just your costs. Invest in products and services for your pharmacy that have measurable return on investment.
Too many pharmacists don’t recognize that in fact pharmacy has been a comparatively protected sector for a long time. An unpopular view for me to express, I know, but one that is accurate. I have worked in a number of industries over the years and there has been consolidation and natural attrition in all of them.
It’s the evolutionary process. Only the fittest survive.
Now it’s the turn of pharmacy.
Are you ready?