Early bird gets the worm | Setting yourself up now for a Successful 2018
With the busy holiday season fast approaching, now is the time for pharmacies to start thinking about their goals for the upcoming year. It is not the time to switch off but to start setting targets for 2018.
The pharmacy industry has had an interesting year with big box discounters further disrupting the market, the King Review, the WA Community Pharmacy Ownership Review and other government reforms. However, in the following 12 months other events will shake up pharmacy even more. For example, in February the codeine up scheduling will take place which will require some serious conditioning for customers and pharmacy owners. There is always change.
To be ahead of the game, pharmacy owners should take what they’ve learnt this year and start considering their goals for next year. You need to be on the front foot and creating the pharmacy business you want. You don’t want the future of your business determined by others.
Sadly, in pharmacy thinking forward, setting goals and creating a vision is missing in a lot of businesses. It takes time, research and planning. It requires creativity, it requires you to dream a little and think of what is possible. To help you along the way we have highlighted some points for you to consider:
Look at your current position.
Sometimes the only way to look forward is by looking backwards. Ask yourself, where is your pharmacy financially? Did you achieve last year’s goals? Did you even set goals last year? Are there still some issues that need to be considered for the following year?
Take the time to look at your wins and losses. Assess what you could have done better and review what was a true success. Discuss this with your team. They will see things differently from you, they will respond to issues with a different set of filters and interpret things differently. Collaborate with your team to truly understand where you are now, what is working and what is not. Also work with your key trusted advisors whether that be your business partners, lawyer, accountant, mentor, financial planner and so forth.
By gathering this information, you have a starting point from which you can realistically plan the path for your next set of goals.
An important note here. You need to be focused on those issues which are directly under your control. Those in-store factors such as team structures, team values, marketing strategies, training, product and service strategies etc.
After you looked at the elements which you control within your business, it’s now time to look at outside factors. Evaluate what economic, political and competitive factors might shape the way you create goals for the future. If you’re a Guild member we recommend taking the time to chat with them about upcoming issues and opportunities for your pharmacy. In this digital world, there is a wealth of information where you can look at economic and social trends (both nationally and local). Ensure you have a fair understanding of any upcoming issues that may affect your pharmacy.
One of the biggest planning tools for business goal setting is competitor research. You can see what they’re doing and how you will do things differently. This way you understand how competitors are performing, their marketing strategies and whether you can foresee any changes to their business model in the new year.
Another important note here. Pharmacy is not the only industry that has discounting elements and competitive pressures. I think it would be very naive to think community pharmacy is an isolated case. These issues exist in nearly every industry. An important part of your research is understanding other successful business models that compete against discounters. What do they do? Use this knowledge. Don’t become too insulated in just pharmacy. There is a whole world of business models out there you can learn from and how to compete.
Systems and procedures.
Sometimes without realising we create systems and procedures that aren’t necessarily as efficient as they should be. Let’s be honest with ourselves. There are somethings we are good at, and something we are bad at.
In a pharmacy business, owners must wear many hats from doing administration, human resources, bookkeeping, dispensing, stock ordering etc. There are many aspects to business that we need to control, and often with little training or knowledge. Flying blind most of the time. That is why your systems and procedures are SO important when setting goals for the future. As an owner, you need to be honest with yourself and know what you are good at and can control effectively. Then what you are not good at and need to outsource. We also need to learn that we are all time poor and some functions need to be outsourced to allow us to focus on other aspects that are more important.
For example, if you’re wanting to focus more on your marketing for the pharmacy, you might need to outsource bookkeeping to free up your time to be creative. Know what is important and where your talents are better placed. Be honest and realistic with yourself. You will find sometimes you can control an outcome more and be more effective by not directly doing things yourself. Be wise with your time.
Team and Culture.
Staff are the forefront of your brand therefore affect the livelihood of your business. It’s vital when setting goals for your pharmacy that you consider the team and what their points of view. As stated in point one, it’s important to keep your team involved in the goal setting process. That way the burden of achieving that goal is no longer an individual task but a collective. What we find is goals are more likely to be achieved if the whole team is involved in setting them. People cannot emotionally connect to a goal that has been thrust upon them. They need to be involved in the process.
Host a team meeting to check in with your team. Ask for feedback and share with them your plans for the new year. You will be amazed at the wealth of knowledge they will share. Like you they work in your pharmacy weekly however, they will have a different perspective. They see the world with a different set of filters. Sometimes by sharing you gain so much in return.
We also recommend speaking to your senior staff member separately. In business, team culture and staff can cause issues within your pharmacy. You need to ensure that you have the right team on board to achieve your goals.
It’s never too early to be organised.
These considerations will help you create some exceptional goals for your pharmacy. By being organised you will be able to ring in the New Year with confidence. Be bold, be creative and challenge yourself. Any goal worthwhile will excite you and scare you at the same time.