Inside: Make pharmacy goal setting easy. Get your independent pharmacy on track with these step-by-step instructions to set goals that drive results.
Do you know what you want your pharmacy business to look like in the next five years? The next 10?
Statistics show that most owners don’t have a clear vision for their business. The 2010 Staples Small Business Survey revealed that more than 80 percent of small business owners don’t keep track of their business goals. And the 2014 survey showed that 63 percent of small business owners don’t have a five-year plan.
Now’s the time to change this.
By setting goals for the future, you can strengthen your independent community pharmacy and increase its potential for future success.
It’s important to take the time to craft pharmacy business goals. But you don’t need to think of it as a painful exercise. Use this step-by-step pharmacy goal setting guide to set business goals for your independent pharmacy.
Step 1: Reflect on your pharmacy’s vision
Don’t come up with goals yet. First, reflect on your independent pharmacy’s overall vision.
If you don’t know your business’s vision, then you can’t plan for the future.
Think about why your pharmacy went into business—and why you’re still around today.
“Small businesses need to be honest about their strengths and opportunities for improvement,” said Susan Hosage, Senior Consultant with OneSource HR Solutions, which provides premium employment solutions for both employers and job seekers and frequently assist companies of all sizes to establish goals for their businesses.
“They should spend less time on what their competitors are doing and focus more on what makes them unique in the marketplace. It may not be price, so optimizing the customer experience, personalized service, and relationship building are generally points of differentiation for small players.”
Step 2: Set long-term pharmacy goals
Now that you’ve reflected on your pharmacy’s vision, the next step in pharmacy goal setting is to look forward to the future.
Set specific, long-term goals for your pharmacy. You can look to other businesses for ideas, but don’t lose sight of your unique business in the process.
“Take what you can from the big pharmacies but don’t wedge them into your small business culture,” Hosage said.
She said a long-term goal means something that will take over a year but often gets expressed in three or five-year increments.
If you’re stuck, Inc.com suggests classifying your long-term goals into one of these four categories:
1. Service (improving customer satisfaction or retention)
2. Social (giving back to the community, volunteering, philanthropy)
3. Profit (increase profits by a certain percentage)
4. Growth (expanding the company, more employees, new locations)
Step 3: Set short-term pharmacy goals
Now, set short-term goals to meet those long-term goals.
For example, if your pharmacy has a long-term goal to become more patient-oriented, then a short-term goal of doubling your scripts might not make sense. But a short-term goal of expanding your immunization services does fit.
Step 4: Add actions to your short-term goals
Having goals is important. But if you don’t take steps to achieve your goals, then they’re not useful. Break down those short-term goals into achievable steps.
For every goal you set, list two to three actions with it. This will give you a clear plan to follow throughout the year.
If your goal is to gain more followers on social media, for example, then think of ways to do that, such as including your social media information with prescriptions or offering special front-end discounts to followers.
“Almost every business creates a revenue goal, cost containment goal, customer satisfaction goal, safety goal, and people goal,” Hosage said.
She suggests breaking down these goals into steps and assigning necessary steps to employees. That way every employee has meaningful actions to complete to help the business reach those goals.
She suggests scaling your goals depending on the size of your business. And she said to model performance evaluations around company, department, and individual goals to ensure you’re reinforcing a goal-oriented culture.
Step 5: Make sure your goals are specific and realistic
You want to set goals that are attainable. The key to doing that is setting goals that aren’t vague or overly ambitious.
“Set goals that will have small, positive incremental business changes every month, so you’ll see results that compound monthly without overextending your goals,” said Stacy Caprio, Founder of Accelerated Growth Marketing, which provides marketing and business growth services.
Hosage said small businesses often make the mistake of setting goals but not “living” them.
“Every action and every decision in a small business either positively or negatively affects goal achievement,” she said. “Goals need to be written (quantitatively), understood, and incorporated in the language that’s used every day with management and employees alike until the vision is so clear that impact and consequences of activities are considered without thinking about it.”
For example, instead of saying you want to be more efficient, identify ways you can do that, such as cutting out unnecessary steps in your pharmacy workflow.
Step 6: Follow through and follow up
Continue to take small steps toward your goals as the year progresses.
If possible, set dates in advance to regularly measure your progress.
“Establish periodic dates to monitor progress to ensure that corrections, if needed, are expeditiously implemented before time and money is wasted,” Hosage said. “Metrics should be utilized whenever possible to remove subjectivity.”
If you’re having trouble holding yourself accountable, try sharing your goals with others, such as your employees or even your trusted patients. And encourage them to ask about your progress.
Having someone to report back to can help keep you moving forward.
Step 7: Consider hiring a professional
If you’ve set goals but aren’t seeing the results you want, consider hiring a professional to help with pharmacy goal setting.
“Most small business people don’t know how to start setting goals and professionals can help,” Hosage said. “Inexperienced people tend to confuse activities and goals. Activities are tactical; goals are strategic.”
She said a professional can also help keep the discussion productive.
“There will generally be many ideas for goals, but having more than five a year, especially for a small company, can have a dilution effect,” she said. “Focusing on fewer initiatives will always yield better outcomes than spreading resources and attention in too many directions.”
A Member-Owned Company Serving Independent Pharmacies
PBA Health is dedicated to helping independent pharmacies reach their full potential on the buy-side of their business. Founded and run by pharmacists, PBA Health serves independent pharmacies with group purchasing services, wholesaler contract negotiations, proprietary purchasing tools, and more.
An HDA member, PBA Health operates its own NABP-accredited warehouse with more than 6,000 SKUs, including brands, generics, narcotics CII-CV, cold-storage products, and over-the-counter (OTC) products — offering the lowest prices in the secondary market.