July 11, 2018
Inside: Is your independent pharmacy where you want it to be? Use these strategies to jumpstart your pharmacy business into the fast lane.
If you’ve ever seen a Mercedes on the side of the road, you know that even the best cars stall out.
Sometimes, all it takes is a simple jumpstart to get the engine running and set it in the right direction.
Even if you’ve built the best pharmacy around, it could stall out. Many of the reasons why are out of your control, like shrinking reimbursements and rising DIR fees.
But some of the shorts in your pharmacy system may need a little spark. Simple changes can re-energize your business and refresh your outlook.
Try these six jumpstart strategies to rev up your pharmacy revenue.
If the direction you’ve taken your pharmacy isn’t panning out, find a new path.
Maybe that means investing more in clinical services rather than relying solely on dispensing. Or, it could mean developing a niche either in your services or your front end. Or both.
By broadening your offerings, you diversify your revenue. That’s Amazon’s approach. Amazon started as a niche business, focusing on used books. But it found the best path to growth meant expanding its product offerings. And look at it now. It’s one of the most successful businesses in the world.
By narrowing your offerings, you maximize revenue in a few areas. That’s Apple’s approach. Early on, Apple was failing. It offered more than 300 different products. When it changed its strategy to narrow its products to 10, its transformed into one of the most successful businesses in the world.
To help determine where to take your strategy, look at what your competition does. If they’re specializing in a few things, consider offering more. If they already offer everything, consider specializing in a few things.
To figure out which road your pharmacy should follow, answer these questions:
When revenue slows down, many companies start to slash costs.
Although that strategy is sometimes necessary, it could make things worse. Imagine if your battery died and you sold off engine parts to make up for it. That wouldn’t help you get anywhere.
Instead of simply reducing spending, re-direct it into new areas. If you’ve decided to take your pharmacy in a new direction, re-allocate those resources to get your new strategies off the ground.
For example, instead of laying off employees, train them in new roles. Instead of cutting out immunizations, invest in a campaign to heavily market them.
Money invested in the right areas may give you the jolt you need to jumpstart your pharmacy business.
Maybe your pharmacy needs a new image.
A full rebrand can take any company from the sidelines to the fast lane in a hurry.
All three companies experienced declining sales and were in dire straits. They realized that people’s perception of their products had deteriorated.
So, they remodeled their image. And it catapulted their sales.
Before you rebrand, you need to get to the bottom of a few things:
From there you can figure out your best approach.
For example, Old Spice realized its brand wasn’t connecting with younger consumers. Young people associated Old Spice with the deodorant of their grandparents. So, Old Spice created new marketing campaigns and product designs specifically targeted at young people.
Depending on your pharmacy business goals, you’ll need to make changes in your business to change your image.
Here are some of the aspects of your business you may need to revamp as you rebrand:
Your approach will vary based on your needs. For example, Old Spice didn’t completely change its products. It re-designed and re-named old products. Domino’s, however, completely changed its basic recipe and design.
Figure out which approach fits your pharmacy and rebrand your pharmacy image.
If your patient base isn’t growing, your marketing isn’t working. To jumpstart your pharmacy business, you might need to change how you reach patients.
Just as you should re-direct your spending into new areas of growth, re-allocate your marketing resources into new areas.
For example, if your marketing plan has focused solely on radio advertisements, try investing more in social media and email marketing. Or vice versa.
Also, ask these questions to see if your marketing message needs a revamp:
For a rebrand, focus on establishing your new image and capturing your new audience.
For reaching lapsed patients, focus your message on improvements you’ve made and offering extra incentives to come back.
Consider hiring a marketing agency to help you with a complete rebrand.
Your business success depends on how well you meet your patients’ needs.
Independent pharmacies have the unique ability to truly get to know their patients. National chain pharmacies have to rely on high-level data that doesn’t account for its particular demographics.
And every patient base is different. Patients in a rural area without access to other health care will want different services than patients in an urban area surrounded by specialists and physicians. Pharmacies with a majority of older patients will need a different strategy than one with mostly college-aged students.
Use your independent advantage to learn what your patients want in a pharmacy.
There’s only so much information you can get without asking patients directly. Simply asking them in person or requesting that they fill out a survey will help you gather vital information for turning your pharmacy around.
Most patients will be glad to tell you what they want. For more reluctant patients, offer an incentive such as a front-end coupon.
We all know the biggest factor in the decline of independent pharmacy sales.
By now, reimbursement has become a four-letter-word.
The sad truth is that even though you can’t control reimbursements, they affect your business more than anything else. They drastically lower your margins and erode your bottom line.
You can jumpstart your pharmacy with other strategies, but you’ll still be driving around with a nail in your tire.
If you truly want to jumpstart your pharmacy business in a way that lasts, you need to adjust your buying strategy. Because the only way to improve your bottom line behind-the-counter is to pay less for your inventory.
As you look to refresh your pharmacy’s buying strategy, take a look at your primary wholesaler contract. Chances are you could get a much better deal on your cost of inventory.
The negotiation experts with ProfitGuard®, a primary wholesaler contract negotiation and management service from PBA Health, can negotiate your contract to dramatically improve your cost of inventory. It’s a different take on the buying group model and can provide group purchasing power, bids from multiple national wholesalers, and data analytics tools to manage your contract.
It’s the one strategy you need to jumpstart your pharmacy into the fast lane.
Get back on the road. If your pharmacy isn’t where you want it, try these strategies to jumpstart your pharmacy business today.
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