As a leader in your pharmacy, you have to be a role model and a resource to your staff members. But do you have your own role model or resource that you can turn to for advice and counsel?
To find the support you need, you’ll probably have to look outside your pharmacy for an experienced business mentor. Someone who you can lean on and bounce ideas off throughout the trials and tribulations of running a small business.
Four Reasons to Find a Business Mentor
Here are four benefits of developing a mentoring relationship.
1. Learn from others’ experiences
You can learn a lot from business books, but there is no replacement for lived experiences. When you’re in a mentorship, you don’t actually have to live through all those experiences yourself.
A mentor will help you learn from their successes and avoid their past mistakes. They know firsthand how challenging running a business can be and can offer necessary encouragement during your low points.
Business mentors are typically retired, so you don’t have to worry about any potential conflicts of interest. While having a network of active pharmacists to rely on is important, if your businesses are in competition with each other, your peers may not be totally honest with you about the struggles they are experiencing or the tricks they have up their sleeve.
2. Predictor of success
When people think of small businesses, what often comes to mind is the high failure rate. But business owners who have a mentor are more likely to find long-term success.
According to a survey from UPS, 70 percent of small business owners who use mentorship resources will survive for five years or more. That’s double the survival rate compared to business owners that don’t have a mentor.
Having a mentor can help you build safeguards for your business and avoid potential pitfalls. A good mentor will help you set appropriate goals and check in along the way to make sure you’re meeting them, giving you crucial guidance that will steer you toward success.
3. Expanded networks
When you build a relationship with a mentor, you also build a relationship with their entire network.
A mentor will not only give you advice but also connect you with a wider community of business owners who can share their experiences and expertise. If you’re having an issue in your pharmacy that your mentor has never dealt with before — like a cybersecurity issue — they probably won’t be able to offer specific advice, but they could connect you with an IT professional they know who can give you an expert opinion.
With a mentor’s connections, you can find support for almost any issue your pharmacy is facing.
4. Cost-free advice
There are a lot of ways to find expert opinions about how you should run your business, from hiring consultants to executing coaching programs. But mentorship is the only way to find the guidance you’re looking for that doesn’t cost you or your pharmacy any money.
Mentors don’t build relationships with business owners because they want to get paid. They do it because they want to give back to their community, either because they benefited from a mentorship during their career or because they want to pass on the wisdom they wish they’d had earlier.
And as a result, you have access to valuable business insights for free.
How to Find a Business Mentor
You may already have someone in your life who will make a great business mentor, but if you don’t, never fear: that’s what SCORE is for. SCORE is a resource partner of the U.S. Small Business Administration, and its name stands for Service Corps of Retired Executives.
It provides free mentoring services to anyone in the United States who owns a small business or wants to start one, and there are over 10,000 volunteers in SCORE’s network ready to step up and provide advice to business owners.
There are even specialized programs for veteran, women, Black, and Hispanic entrepreneurs. Here’s what SCORE can do for you.
Mentorship is the main mission of SCORE. Depending on your preference, SCORE can connect you with a local mentor who is familiar with the business landscape in your area or virtually connect with a mentor from anywhere in the US who has the specific expertise you are looking for.
Sessions with mentors can help you develop a plan to tackle your business goals or overcome any challenges you are currently facing. Mentoring sessions don’t have a formal structure and are meant to be a way for you to work on improving your business in an informal, collaborative environment.
Mentorships don’t have a set length, either. You can work with a mentor for a short time to achieve a specific goal or develop a long-lasting relationship.
While one-on-one mentorships are SCORE’s bread and butter, it also offers opportunities to learn from a wide range of professionals through online and in-person workshops, which are typically offered at no or low cost.
These training sessions can give you insights on every angle of running a business, from taking control of your finances to developing a marketing strategy.
The leaders of these workshops can offer you a specific, in-depth expertise that you may not be able to get directly from your mentor.
If the coronavirus pandemic has taught small business owners anything, it’s that sometimes the world will catch you off guard.
For those unexpected challenges, SCORE offers a Resilience Hub, which has resources to help keep your pharmacy afloat in difficult times. From industry-specific disaster preparedness training to connecting you with grants, loans, and other support services, SCORE will help you stay in business through challenging circumstances.
As a pharmacy owner, you probably know that the SBA backs loans for small businesses. You also probably know that these loans are notoriously difficult to get approved for, with many applications getting rejected multiple times before they finally get the green light.
With SCORE, you don’t have to go it alone through the frustrating process of securing SBA-backed funding. Their resources will help you understand what sort of funding you are eligible for and teach you how to create an airtight application package.
A Member-Owned Organization Serving Independent Pharmacies
PBA Health is dedicated to helping independent pharmacies reach their full potential on the buy side of their business. The company is a member-owned organization that serves independent pharmacies with group purchasing services, expert contract negotiations, proprietary purchasing tools, distribution services, and more.
An HDA member, PBA Health operates its own NABP-accredited (formerly VAWD) warehouse with more than 6,000 SKUs, including brands, generics, narcotics CII-CV, cold-storage products, and over-the-counter (OTC) products.
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