• LATEST PHARMACY NEWS AND EDITORIAL

    LATEST PHARMACY NEWS AND EDITORIAL

Our latest thoughts and inspirations on buying a pharmacy, starting a pharmacy, and ongoing pharmacy operations

Starting, Buying or Own a Pharmacy? Read These Books

Every year I set a goal for the number of books I want to read during the course of the year (last year it was 24 and I read 27) and try to ensure at least ¾’s of these books will help us make a positive impact on the pharmacies we own, our consulting practice or our clients. The below list outlines some of my favorites and the lessons learned from each. Hopefully these will help you too.

The E-Myth Revisited by Michael Gerber – this book outlines why individuals with a technical skill who start businesses tend to fail or not grow. This applies directly to the pharmacy industry where pharmacists start pharmacies because that is what they know. In many cases, however they are not as successful as they should be. He outlines what technical professionals “pharmacist” need to know to be business owners within their field. I would highly recommend this to anyone interested in buying or starting a pharmacy and any current owner of a pharmacy.

Ready, Fire, Aim by Michael Materson – what I really like about Michael is he simply outlines what you as the owner or CEO need to do to grow your business and the barriers you will face along the way. For this reason it is the best business book I have read in many years. For me it made it very clear what we need to do to take our businesses to the next stage of growth and what we can do to help our clients grow into extraordinary pharmacies.

The Lean Startup by Eric Ries – Both Eric and Michael Materson take similar approaches to innovation. The concept is to introduce new products and processes quickly and with very little cost. For any business owner, including us, it is difficult to create change in the organization. There are a million reasons, you may not have enough cash, not enough time, your employees are stretched too thin or maybe you are just a new startup. This book will provide you insight and guide you through constant innovation which will lead to profits and growth.

Traction by Gino Wickman – As an entrepreneur and leader every day it is difficult to find time. For me it was always difficult to know what 2 or 3 items I should focus on and how to get our team to focus on them as well. Gino provides the Entrepreneurial Operating System (EOS) and it will allow you to not be overwhelmed, have fun and improve your business.

Bold by Peter Diamandis – this book is about big ideas, some of which seem crazy. But I think it applies to pharmacy today because the industry is changing, being disrupted and we as entrepreneurs within the industry must think differently in order to thrive in the future. Go into this book with an open mind and be prepared to think how could we as a company do something completely different.

Solution Selling by Ed Wal – if you have ever spoken with me or seen any of my other postings about books, this book is always on the list. First Ed, personally taught me much of what I know about how a business works and how to sell to any organization. I consider him a mentor to me and many others. But also it is my opinion (and Michael Materson’s) that as an owner of a business you must also be its number one salesperson. This book will teach you how to sell, follow it, try everything in it and you will sell!
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Buying a Pharmacy? Don’t Fumble the Football during the Transition

No matter if you have worked at a pharmacy for 10 years or have never worked there a day, the transition from one owner to another is hard. It is also very important to the success of the business to the new owner.

Many new owners we work with are entrepreneurial, as such have great ideas and they are excited. They want to make changes to improve the business, put new energy into the brand and the employees. All of this is important and should be done but the most important transition strategy is something we call not fumbling the football.

What is this concept? The idea is that in many cases you as the buyer have purchased a business that has operated profitably for many many years, so let it keep doing that at first. Spend a month observing, getting to know the customers that make the pharmacy profitable, get to know and understand the strengths/weaknesses of the staff. This will allow you to really grasp what the business does well and what it does not. Then once acclimated to the business you can focus on the improvement that makes the largest impact to the business!

Seems simple but it is hard to do, so good luck!
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The Most Important Position in the Pharmacy

I was talking with a client recently and we hit upon a very frequent topic, personnel management.  We were going over each person and position and when we got to the clerk who waited on the customers he told me "she used to be a tech but she was recently demoted to clerk".  I said to him don't you mean that she was promoted?

I think we can all agree the most important thing in our pharmacies is our relationships with our patients.  Yet we continually trust that interaction with the least experienced member of our staff.  Think about the last time you had a new hire.  What was the first thing they were taught?  It's usually how to run the register.

Most technicians feel the data entry and dispensing positions are the top positions in the store.  We feed into that by placing our most experienced people in those spots.  But since patient relationships are so important wouldn't it be great to make the rule that all staff members have to "earn" the right to talk to customers?  Think of the value of having someone at the front counter who can get to know each person, solve problems, and be the face of your pharmacy.  What if everyone would understand that waiting on the patient is really the most prestigious position?

Obviously everyone in the store should strive to have great relationships with the patients, but you will only develop that culture if you consistently walk the walk not just talk the talk.
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Why Buying a Pharmacy is a Good Financial Investment

People ask us all the time is buying a pharmacy a good investment.  Of course have owned pharmacies and have entire business around consulting pharmacies so we say yes.  But why?  Below we have outlined some reasons:


1.   Return on Investment – as an investor myself I always ask myself what is the return?  And if you buy a pharmacy the return is better than any investment I can find.  I can put $100,000 into buying a pharmacy and in the first year return $100,000 plus gain equity in the business.  If I put $100,000 in the stock market I would at best make $12,000 on that same money, in a bond $3,000, in a savings account $1,000, in real estate $20,000. 

2.  Knowledge – why invest your money into public companies, real estate and other investments when you have no knowledge of these businesses.  I personally have been in pharmacy all my life and that is what I know so shouldn’t that be where I put most of my money?  Same with you as a pharmacist, it is what you know most so shouldn’t you consider putting your money toward a pharmacy?  
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Improving Operating Efficiencies: The Pharmacy Back Office

Check out our CE with NCPA on pharmacy operations.

http://www.ncpanet.org/innovation-center/education-opportunities/ce-webinar
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