As a pharmacy owner, you are used to striving for perfection in everything you do on a daily basis, both in what you do and what you expect of your team. High expectations are important in this industry as people depend on you when it comes to better health care outcomes for themselves and their families.
It has been exceptionally busy, and the demands have been high of you and your team over the past three years. There is a shortage of staff, and the threat of burnout is real. Right now, it is easy to get caught up in the day-to-day of your schedule and lose the ability to focus on where you can improve in your business. To help highlight some of the areas that could be looked at in Pharmacy here are five of the biggest personal challenges that have been identified across the industry right now. Please note, we are first looking at challenges that are within our control to curtail and benefit long term from in a quick and succinct manner.
As mentioned previously, it has been super busy and now there is a shortage of pharmacists and pharmacy assistants in many areas across the country. If you feel you are getting “caught up” and don’t have time to be planning for the future, then it means you are in a reactive state, not proactive. It may feel like it’s out of your control, but then we need to ask ourselves is this what is going to benefit our patients and the business in the long run? How long can we continue to be in a reactive state with proper planning for the future?
Long-term success depends on planning. Developing and sticking to achieving short- and long-term goals is a core part of leadership and team morale that will have a direct impact on health care outcomes for your patients.
Often it is easy for us to regress into a state where pharmacy operations become transactional. A customer will walk up, purchase something, you or your team member smiles and gives them their product, they leave. If it sounds a little bit too simple, that’s because it is - the customer gains no value from choosing your business, and you have missed an opportunity to upsell and help them further.
To gain the trust of our customers, we need to use our expertise to help them. Many people working in customer service roles—and especially in pharmacy— fear rejection. They worry about “what if I ask the customer a question and they say NO?”
We need to flip that mindset around. It’s each team member’s responsibility and duty of care to ask those sales questions: ‘How can I assist you today?’ Or ‘do you know that you might get a bit of heartburn with that medication, so you may want to consider taking Omeprazole with it?’, As an example only.
Recommend products or treatments that you know work well for their condition on top of what they’ve been prescribed, and this will boost their trust in you, and have a positive effect on your bottom line. No patient should be walking in your pharmacy without being asked questions relating to their health, general needs and offered the opportunity to purchase all relevant items addressing their needs they may not be aware of. If your team misses these opportunities to serve, the patient is most likely to go to the grocery store or go online and stock up on products they should be getting from you. The more you make, the more you can give back.
As a pharmacy, you are serving the entire community, addressing the most important needs and solving the biggest problems for your patients.
However, operating the pharmacy as it should be operated - as a business, can sometimes be neglected. We need to remember that strategic business practices provide benefits for you, your team, and your customers. Accountability of business goals for you and your team is important to help you stand out from the rest and grow your business.
Ensure that everyone in the team is accountable for what they say they are going to do. With the right training, structure, operating rhythm, accountability and support in place, you will execute with great results.
Resistance to change is one of the biggest mistakes anyone can make in business, not just in the pharmaceutical industry. Technological innovation is a natural and healthy part of operating a business, as it is a requirement to upgrade our tools and processes to grow and keep up with modernity.
Many businesses including pharmacies reject change, and often the reasoning is “we’ve always done it this way”. If you’ve always done something one way, that is the best reason to try something new! Fear of the unknown stops us from improving how we connect to our customers and streamlining our processes. This was a point that was made very clear at APP 2022 by the Pharmacy Guild itself.
This has to be mentioned a number of times as it’s likely that adversity in your personal and professional life has reached record highs in the last few years, with unprecedented events causing uncertainty and disruptions that we never could have anticipated.
The pandemic has brought issues across the board including staff shortages, burnout, unpredictability around our health, and doing more for the community that is not being reflected in your financial compensation to the levels it should be. The toughest but best way to respond to these hardships is to find resilience and take action. Finding the strength to step up and take ownership of your business and your team in the midst of a chaotic period will help you on the road to success.
Start by outlining your goals and plan, with your team, as a way of putting yourself on the road to where you truly want to be despite the circumstances. Together, you can create structure, motivate each other, and come up with exciting new ideas to overcome all the challenges. The harder and busier it gets, the more imperative it becomes to engage with your entire team to find strength together. Resilience is one of the key leadership traits that will keep you moving in the right direction and there are specific steps you can take to turn it all around. They say that success is 95% mindset, 5% strategy… The best strategies can only work with the right mindset and you are only as strong as your weakest link.
Every day is a chance to make positive changes. Get in touch with Reem Borrows and her team at Dreem Coaching & Consulting today to see how her custom-built workshop can help grow and develop your business and create lasting success.