The Rules of Pharmacy Success: Avoiding Business Mistakes


Are your business decisions putting money into your bank account?

You may be the best pharmacist in the country. You may be the most well-educated clinician around. However, are your business decisions putting money into your bank account?

What if everything you’ve learned in the past about business was wrong, especially relating to:

  • which prescriptions you should fill to make money and which ones you should not— and why.
  • what your front end should consist of.
  • what marketing is really all about (no, its not just getting your name out there. That’s way too expensive).

The rules of pharmacy success have changed. What you know about pharmacy is no longer as important as what you need to know about business. Getting business results using business knowhow can put more money into your pockets. On the other hand, lack of that business knowhow leads to costly mistakes.

Here are some examples of pharmacy business problems that you can and should avoid:

  • Failing to differentiate your pharmacy from all your competition. Also, failing to effectively inform everyone in your community about how truly different you are.
  • Failing to directly market to the affluent— the families who have the money to spend at your pharmacy for your high profit products and services
  • Believing that cost-cutting is more valuable than building the business bigger and embracing loftier goals.
  • Closing your eyes to possibilities, especially relating to alternative business models.
  • Not informing and educating your patients— even your nonpatients— using strategic marketing techniques to increase sales.
  • Failing to get close to your numbers on a weekly/monthly basis.
  • Failing to prioritize your time so that you can actually make more money and work fewer hours.
  • Not realizing that if your cash flow is being massacred by the insurance companies, then the cost of NOT doing something different, especially ideas that have already been proven successful, vastly exceeds the cost of doing it.
  • Not having a constantly ongoing training program that upgrades capabilities of your team members— especially regarding selling high margin products and services.
  • Allowing your pharmacy’s organization to have deadend jobs— thus inviting your strongest and best employees to eventually go elsewhere.
  • Not having a motivation system that causes all of your employees to come to work each day with a “fire in their bellies.
  • Becoming all too efficient at doing the 80% of the tasks that contribute only 20% of the profits.
  • Continuing to embrace yesterdays methods, yesterdays bread winners— even sacred cows— thus preventing you from creating a rock-solid plan for the future so that you make the future happen instead of letting whatever comes along affect you.
  • Not having an exit strategy—even if you don’t want to retire for a number of years. Having an exit strategy forces you to do what's necessary at this time and in the coming months to create more profits and increase the value of your pharmacy year after year.
  • Failing to embrace tried and true business principles and practices

These are the more serious problem areas— the ones that lead to disasters, not only to cash flow but to standards of living for the owners’ families.

They may not have taught you about business in pharmacy school; however, your survival depends on your acquiring this business knowhow.

If you’re guilty of even one of those mistakes, perhaps now is the time to get some professional help to enable you to turn that situation around.

The Pharmacy Sage can be reached at

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