March 20, 2015
You might wonder why you should spend time and money away from your pharmacy to attend an industry event. After all, your patients are your top priority, and as an independent community pharmacy owner or manager, you should be focusing on networking in your community, right?
But attending conferences and events is beneficial for your pharmacy business, too. In a few days away from your pharmacy you can learn new strategies to help your patients, get ideas on how to engage your community and learn more about essential business skills.
Here are 10 reasons why you should attend conferences and events. Head to a conference with these goals in mind, and your time there will be well spent.
It’s easy to get caught up in the everyday issues and responsibilities at your pharmacy, but it’s important to step away from those concerns, too. By attending an industry conference or event, you’ll get a break from your work while doing something that advances your profession and your business. You’ll return to your pharmacy refreshed, with a new energy and outlook that can only help your pharmacy grow.
Conference fees and travel expenses are tax-deductible. While there are some rules and restrictions you need to be aware of, in general, you can deduct airfare, hotel expenses, local transportation costs, conference fees, and 50 percent of the cost of meals, so long as you can show that attending the event benefits your business.
Are you considering a technology update in your pharmacy? Do you want to find a marketing consultant to help you maximize profits? At industry conferences and tradeshows, you can talk to different suppliers and companies that will be ready to help you. You can also talk to other pharmacists to find out what products and services have worked well for them. They could even refer you to a trustworthy accountant or an affordable marketing service.
Both the role of the pharmacist and the pharmacy industry are constantly evolving. By attending an industry conference, you can stay up-to-date on what’s new, what’s working and what’s coming up. You can get ideas for a niche that could work for your pharmacy, learn how to bill for new services, and find out which new technologies are worth the hype.
Attend as many continuing education sessions and workshops as you can to maximize your time at the conference. Even a topic that might not seem relevant could teach you something new about your business, or point out potential opportunities you didn’t know about before. Take notes and ask questions, and you’ll walk away armed with knowledge and skills that can grow your business.
At industry conferences and events, you won’t just hear from industry leaders during their CE sessions and workshops—you’ll most likely be able to meet and talk with them, too. Their expertise can give you insights into improving your business, and they might be able to connect you with others who can help.
If you research the conference speakers and other attendees ahead of time, you’ll be able to focus on meeting those whose expertise you can directly benefit from. For example, if you’re considering focusing on a specialty area in your pharmacy, such as diabetes, you’ll want to know who the diabetes experts are before going to the event.
One of the best opportunities available to you at industry conferences and events is meeting other pharmacists who have experienced the same issues as you. Ask questions, and take heed of lessons they’ve learned. You can solicit recommendations, learn from their mistakes and successes, and take their approaches back to your own pharmacy.
Chances are, someone has helped you out in your career. At industry conferences and events, you have the chance to help others, too. Make introductions, referrals and recommendations that can help others improve their businesses, too. If, for example, someone asks you about getting into specialty pharmacy, introduce him or her to the pharmacist you just met whose specialty business is booming.
Networking is one of the most important reasons to attend industry events. You can make invaluable business connections just by sitting next to someone new during a CE session or chatting at the coffee stand. These relationships can improve the bottom line of your business, so put forth your best effort to connect with those around you. Bring your business cards, and be sure to hand them out to everyone you meet, and that you collect theirs, as well. You never know how someone you meet today could help your pharmacy tomorrow.
An industry event is an environment conducive to great ideas. Hearing about others’ success, making new connections and becoming aware of industry happenings is sure to get you thinking, too. You never know when your next business-changing idea will come, but you’re sure to get at least a few great ones at these events. Even better, you’ll be able to get instant feedback on your ideas from the industry experts and pharmacists who surround you.
Start making connections and learn how to take your pharmacy business to the next level at the 2017 Synergy conference, hosted by PBA Health, Pharmacy Providers of Oklahoma (PPOk) and the Oklahoma Pharmacists Association (OPhA). The event will take place June 23-25, 2017 at the Sheraton Kansas City Hotel at Crown Center in Kansas City, Mo. Register to attend, book your hotel room and learn more at pbahealthconference.com.