Positioning Your Future-Proof, On-Site Pharmacy with the Right Strategy
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Useful Terms from Business Administration
Define your pharmacy strategy
Heraclitus was certain of it as far back as Ancient Greece: “The only thing that is constant is change!” This age-old truth has lost none of its validity even today – quite the contrary, in fact: customers’ buying habits are changing, as are the legal parameters. In this age of digitalization and e-commerce, it is becoming harder and harder to define the pharmacy strategy to remain competitive. In order to keep up with the competition, each pharmacy needs to adapt to the market situation continually, developing a strategy which evolves along with the requirements and can react flexibly to the new challenges encountered on a daily basis. In day-to-day pharmacy life, there is often no time left for thinking about a corresponding strategy – the focus is on serving customers and the ideal general conditions are lacking. However, the right strategy is often the key to long-term success, so it is time well spent and that always pays off in the end.
Step by Step to Success
Below you can find a brief guide for a personal strategy that will get your pharmacy ready for the future.
- Mission statement
- Strengths and weaknesses
- Opportunities and risks
Before starting to develop a strategy, the pharmacy first needs to be clear about its mission statement.
Mission statement and strategy
A mission statement comprises a mission, a vision, and the common values. The mission sets out the pharmacy’s goal, the reasons for its existence, and the corporate philosophy. The vision paints a picture of the future: How should your pharmacy develop? Would you like to market additional homeopathic products or are you focusing on a specific clinical condition? Common values are important for good team spirit and form the focus of day-to-day work. Formulate the individual aspects of a mission statement as succinctly as possible. Remember that you want to arouse emotions and motivate your employees.
Got your mission statement? Then you have now established the ideal basis for the development of your strategy.
Fundamentally speaking, the goal of a strategy is to use suitable measures to steer the company in such a way that it outdoes the competition when it comes to securing customers and their purchasing power. The USP (Unique Selling Proposition) is the keyword here.
Developing a corporate strategy isn’t exactly one of a pharmacist’s principal duties, which is why decisions are often taken based on instinct and therefore very intuitively due to the lack of resources and expertise. This, in itself, is not a bad thing, and, more often than not, also results in success. However, the times are becoming increasingly dynamic and changes in the market are occurring with ever greater speed. A hunch on its own is rarely enough to help you proceed or get you to where you need to be nowadays. Downtimes are ever riskier and can even threaten the very survival of a business.
So why not combine your instincts with tried-and-tested measures for a good corporate strategy? Right from the very beginning, you will be able to see more clearly where your pharmacy is now, where it should be in the future, and the best route to take.
“Be the change that you wish to see in the world.” – Mahatma Gandhi –
To be able to identify potential for change and need for improvement, you should begin by listing and analyzing your own strengths and weaknesses, before matching them up with possible opportunities and risks. A so-called SWOT analysis (strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats):
Strengths and weaknesses can be utilized to determine the pharmacy’s current situation and potential. Strengths have mostly become a matter of course, but you should also be conscious of your individual strengths, as they form the basis for shaping your future.
It is often difficult to admit to weaknesses, but once you’ve identified them, they open up the potential to boost the pharmacy’s performance. Identifying them generates the motivation to improve.
While the strengths and weaknesses refer to internal factors, the opportunities and risks concern external factors originating from the world outside the pharmacy. They can be divided into two spheres of influence: the microenvironment (e.g., direct competition in the neighborhood, suppliers, substitutions, and innovations) and the macroenvironment (e.g., political, economic, sociocultural, and technological factors). The pharmacy cannot influence them directly, plus it is often difficult to determine clearly what points translate more to an opportunity and more to a risk – in some cases, it can be both.
Develop concrete measures
Now you need to use these findings and develop your strategy – taking your mission statement into consideration, of course. Formulate the strategy as clearly and unambiguously as possible so that all members of staff can subsequently work with it. The best thing is to bring the whole team on board. This helps you ensure that everyone is also behind the new corporate strategy and the resulting measures.
When working through the measures, avoid the mistake of trying to implement all the changes at the same time. Remember that your staff will need to realize the intended measures alongside their normal daily duties. Unrealistic goals are bad for motivation. On the other hand, you also shouldn’t think too small – ultimately, you are trying to bring about a change after all. The key is finding the perfect middle ground. Be brave, but also stay realistic.
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