Your best business strategy for 2017

Pharmacy owners who are anxious, overworked and ill equipped to plan and take control of their business are not alone, says Linda Miller

Christmas trading often forces planning to the background and the “mop up” afterwards can feel like a great party where there’s been some mess left behind that- lucky you- you get to clean up.

Clean up the mess, get your staff back on track with normal tasks and hint that something exciting is coming….your grand plan for 2017.

Setting goals in marketing, sales, gross profit, expenses and net profitability is critical for your success. The first two provide revenue and the second two ensures the flow of revenue leads to a strong flow of net income for you, the owner. Whilst you’re serving your community, you should make a decent living too, right?

Get on track by setting 12 month goals for your total turnover, gross margin percentage, percentage or dollar reduction in expenses.

Choose marketing strategies to attract the right type and volume of customers and identify the products and services they want and need. If you do your research well, your buying will be optimised, creating better stock turn, less dead stock and maintain or increase your gross profit margin.

All this while building a robust marketing funnel to bring in a steady stream of regular, loyal customers who spend more and take your professional advice.

Review your marketing, sales, operational and purchasing processes. How can they be improved, streamlined and/or made more efficient? Calculate time, labour and dollar savings. What changes should you make to meet your expense reduction goal?

Planning how best to incentivize your staff (hint: monetary reward isn’t a motivator for everyone) and checking on their selling skills is key to maximising your sales. Do they know how (or want) to sell gracefully and with integrity.

Engage, motivate and inspire your team by communicating the big goal openly, getting them involved in setting the targets and provide them with KPIs and feedback to measure success.

The last frontier for many pharmacies  is engaging staff in the activity of selling.

Here’s a common scenario I see among my clients. “Mel” is in her late 40s and worked in pharmacy for 15 years. She’s well meaning and kind hearted. Customers often pop in for a chat but Mel has substituted good customer service for selling, which she considers underhanded and focused on profit not customers’ needs.

“Kerry” is enthusiastic and passionate, just like Mel. She too genuinely cares for customers but she understands that to really make a difference to her customers’ health she needs to ask questions beyond “how are you today Mrs Jones?” to uncover what she can really do to help. Kerry believes in what she’s doing so she’s authentic and congruent with asking the questions, identifying the customer’s needs and providing solutions, even overcoming any objections because she knows how much the product will help her customer.

What the pharmacy owner observes is that Kerry’s customers come in more often than Mel’s, not for an idle chat, but to get advice and buy products, increasing revenue.

Combine a motivated sales oriented team with clear goals, optimised productivity, marketing systems and lean expenses and you’re set for an awesome 2017.

The golden opportunity is here and now is the time to grab it. Are you prepared and ready to give it your best shot?

Linda Miller is a Pharmacy Business mentor and organisational psychologist with 30 years’ experience in pharmacy. Linda reinvigorates and increases pharmacy profitability by transforming front of shop sales performance, productivity and profits through proven sales & marketing strategies and by motivating and teaching pharmacy staff how to sell with integrity and maximise their efficiency. She uses proven systems to ethically increase customer base, customer loyalty and basket size. If you’d like to achieve this for yourself, download your free Pharmacy Breakthrough Checklist

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