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10 Ways to Get Ahead of the Competition

10 Ways to Get Ahead of the Competition by Elements magazine |

April 29, 2015

Part of running a successful pharmacy includes paying attention to what your competition is doing. You have to make sure you’re not just keeping up with your competitors, but that you’re getting ahead of them.

Today, independent community pharmacies have more competition than ever. You’re not only competing for patients against other independent community pharmacies, but also against big box store pharmacies, national chain pharmacies, dollar stores and mail order pharmacies.

Being ahead of—and different from—your competition means innovating and exploring services or product offerings your competitors haven’t even considered yet, or can’t do well.

Master niche areas and offer value that you’re competitors can’t match with these 10 tips.

1. Focus on the future

Dwelling on the past can hinder your future development. Put your time and energy into planning for the future. Look for areas where you can improve, such as building your patient base or investigating new services to offer, like compounding, diabetes education or home medical equipment. Set specific goals and work to achieve them. (Learn more about setting goals for your pharmacy.)

2. Pay attention to your competitors

You can’t figure out how to beat your competition if you don’t know what they’re doing. Look at your competitors’ stores, websites and social media profiles, and research their product and service offerings. Make sure to stay innovative in your key areas. For example, if you’re known for offering the most comprehensive diabetes state management program in town and you notice that your competitor is going to start a diabetes education program, make sure your program is better than theirs.

3. Embrace offbeat ideas

Sometimes, the nontraditional ideas are the ones that can put you ahead of the rest. Surpass your competition by adopting ideas that are different from anything else your competitors are doing. Promote your pharmacy with a scavenger hunt or carnival, or work with an unusual partner to promote your services. Differentiating your promotions will separate your pharmacy from others.

4. Adapt to patients’ needs

Adjust your pharmacy’s services and product offerings to patient needs. If you have a program that has little-to-no interest despite repeated promotions, or if there’s a product that doesn’t sell well, adapt your pharmacy’s offerings with choices that appeal to your patients more. Patients will appreciate your flexibility.

5. Seek inspiration

The next great idea for your pharmacy could come when you least expect it. Get outside of your pharmacy to look for inspiration in places your competitors won’t think of. Take a hike in the woods, go to a movie or try a new café. Constantly keep your eyes open for creative ways to set your pharmacy ahead of the rest.

6. Listen to patients

Make time to listen to your patients. Listening to suggestions from patients can give you ideas for new services or products to offer, and their opinions can give you a different perspective on your pharmacy. Their ideas might just give you the key to how you can differentiate yourself from the competition.

7. Invest in your business

To make money, you have to spend money. Be sure you’re constantly investing in improving your business, whether by keeping your storefront looking clean and up-to-date, or finding new items you can give out to promote your pharmacy.

8. Evaluate regularly

In order to get ahead, you have to know where you are now. This means keeping up-to-date on your pharmacy’s business numbers. Once you understand your numbers and set your goals, regularly evaluate your progress and hold yourself accountable. If you aren’t achieving your goals, figure out why, so you’ll know what to improve moving forward.

9. Get expert advice

Rely on experts to handle areas of your pharmacy that you’re not as practiced in, such as accounting or marketing. Hiring experts can help you avoid mistakes and headaches later, and it will free up your time now to focus on staying ahead of the competition.

10. Stay educated

To stay ahead of your competition, you have to commit to keeping up with the latest industry knowledge. Stay up-to-date with trends and new business tools at conferences, like the Next! 2016 PBA Health Conference & Business Seminar.

Find out what’s next in the pharmacy industry at this three-day event, which will take place July 24-26, 2016 at the Sheraton Kansas City Hotel at Crown Center in Kansas City, Mo.

Use these tips to put your pharmacy ahead of the competition.



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