Where You Spend Your Time Can Make or Break Your Pharmacy Business


There is a nearly 100% correlation between where you spend your time and the results you get.

Believe it or not, there is a nearly 100% correlation between where you spend your time and the results you get.

Your independent pharmacy business can be divided into 3 distinct types of activities:

  • Technical work
  • Business maintenance
  • Business building

Technical Work

The process of filling prescriptions is considered technical work. By law, it requires that a pharmacist’s license be present.

Filling prescriptions has nothing to do with business maintenance or business building. It can accurately be done by any pharmacist in any practice setting.

Business Maintenance

Business maintenance encompasses activities that must absolutely be performed within the scope of your business. These processes are oftentimes necessary to protect profits, but they have nothing to do with creating new business or making the business more profitable. Some examples of business maintenance activities are ordering product and bookkeeping.

I want to make something perfectly clear: there is a big difference between bookkeeping and analyzing numbers. The bookkeeper keeps the books (or should), but you, as the entrepreneur, analyze the numbers. The first is a business maintenance activity, while the second is decidedly business building.

Business Building

This is what really differentiates an independent pharmacy owner from a store manager. You are the entrepreneur, so you are the one who should take responsibility for business-building activities. That’s what you’re all about, or at least it should be.

Can someone else do the bookkeeping? Yes. Can someone else fill prescriptions? Absolutely. Can anyone else direct the destiny of your pharmacy business? No, only you can.

The Art and Science of Business Building

Business building covers a wide range of activities. Here’s a partial yet critical list:

  • Recruiting and hiring. The individual you select to fill your next job opening could make a critical difference in your sales. The level of your services will also be highly affected by your choice.
  • Training personnel. Your devotion to this activity is critical for developing employees into superstars. It requires some of your time, even if you have a manager devoted to it.
  • Supervising personnel. This is a natural adjunct to training. It is the point where you can ensure that the training has taken hold and the individual is performing each and every task the way he or she should. Simply put, supervising means inspecting the work of any team member until you’re satisfied that the specific task is being performed the way you want it done. Just as there is no substitute for good training, there is likewise no substitute for good supervision.
  • Motivating personnel. Want to get your employees to come into work with a fire in their bellies to help you achieve your goals? How you respond to different personnel issues will determine how motivated your staff will be.
  • Advertising. To reach new patients, it is necessary to advertise. However, what you advertise and how you advertise it can make all the difference in the world in whether it becomes a business-building tool or just an expense.
  • Educating patients. This is the point where you can create a huge amount of your profits. Patients can and should be the biggest source of new revenue and growing profit. Knowing what to sell and how to sell it is critical information that you need as an entrepreneur, and you should also share it with your staff members.
  • Detailing/calling on prescribers. This is a very important element of business building that can be done well in as little as 4 hours a week. However, it should be integrated with other marketing actions in order to maximize results. You are your own best salesman and you’ll get biggest results by doing it yourself, even if you have to do it before or after pharmacy hours.
  • Other marketing. This consists of anything from conducting seminars to creating brochures, leaflets, reports, or other handouts that will not only lead to the creation of new sales, but also help build your brand name.

As you can see, many business-building activities require your time. The more time you put into them, the better results you will see.

My experience dictates that at least 90% of your time should be devoted to business-building activities in order to get your business from where it is to where you want it to be. Keep in mind that the time you spend on the other 2 areas—technical work and business maintenance—robs you of time that you could be spending on business building.

How to Better Focus Your Time

  • Make a list of what you don’t like doing.
  • Make a list of what you’re not good at doing.
  • Make a list of what you’re doing that’s not in your job description.
  • Delegate all of the above.

By simply reallocating your time, you will make a difference in your pharmacy’s results. One thing is certain: if you cannot delegate, you cannot lead, and leadership is an essential ingredient in your success story.

Please note that if you are opening a new pharmacy, you may have to wear many hats. As your business grows, however, the information contained in this article will become critically important to you.

The Pharmacy Sage can be reached at (518) 346-7021 or Lester@ThePharmacySage.com

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