Pharmacy Owners: What Is Your Mission?

One of the most influential tools I use when working one-on-one with independent pharmacy owners is the concept of a mission.

One of the most influential tools I use when working one-on-one with independent pharmacy owners is the concept of a mission, which decidedly lends direction to their business.

Here are a few examples of the mission statement in military terms:

  • The mission of the infantry is to destroy the enemy in battle.
  • The mission of a combat patrol is to test the enemy’s strength.
  • The mission of an information patrol is to gather the information and report it back to a higher command.
  • The mission of a ranger team is to infiltrate enemy lines and take out infrastructure.

At no point does the mission state when, where, or how it will be done. When it is completed, however, there’s no question about its achievement.

The mission statement is also brief and very much to the point. No specific goals or objectives are outlined in it.

In order for your pharmacy to succeed, you must use your mission statement as an all-encompassing directive. Far too many independent pharmacies lose their way because they fail to understand their mission.

What Should My Mission Be?

Your mission as an independent pharmacy owner has nothing to do with filling prescriptions and everything to do with patients’ health. As you grapple with this concept, you will discover that your mission is to “help patients feel better and live longer.”

That begs the question: what if you’re capable of doing all that, but you’re still a deep, dark secret within your community? In light of that, perhaps your mission statement should look more like: “disseminating information about how patients can feel better and live longer.”

If your store offers gifts and cards, ask yourself how they fit into your mission. In one situation, I had a pharmacy owner whose gift department took up one-third of his pharmacy’s total space. I asked him how much the gift department contributed to the total profitability, and his answer was “about 40%.” A distribution costs analysis showed that he was actually losing money in that department.

Rest assured that the more you focus on your mission and the narrower you make your selection of what truly fits into it, the more successful you will be. On the other hand, the larger the assortment of departments, the more you dilute the messages about your pharmacy.

Your patients don’t need to know your mission, but they will get to know it, feel it, and understand it if your marketing clearly discloses that your pharmacy has solutions for their aches, pains, and maladies that they cannot get elsewhere.

Your mission not only keeps you focused, but also sets parameters beyond which you should not go. Far too many pharmacies disperse too many of their resources to areas where they cannot get results.

The Pareto Principle states that 80% of your results come from 20% of your activities. Its corollary can also make you painfully aware of the fact that 80% of your costs and your problems evolve from only 20% of what you are doing.

When you put all of this together and conduct a thorough analysis of what works and what doesn't, you may reach a very valid conclusion that some things need to change, especially with regard to your mission.

The Pharmacy Sage can be reached at (518) 346-7021 or