What will your pharmacy look like in 5 years? You create your future by setting a pharmacy vision and planning your pharmacy goals.
Bring your pharmacy vision, dreams, and goals to life!
Setting a pharmacy vision and goals for your business is essential to creating profit and success. Knowing where you want to go provides short- and long-term strategies and clearly identifies opportunities to help you and your team achieve it all.
“Vision without action is a daydream; action without vision is a nightmare.” — Japanese Proverb
A vision allows you to see yourself and your pharmacy in the future, while goals offer a road map to reach these visions. I like to say a vision is defining what success looks like to you. Goals are the measurable tactics you will deploy to achieve your vision. Put another way; goals are the stepping stones to making your dream a reality.
How Do I Create A Pharmacy Vision
Like any creative process, creating your dream pharmacy begins with your imagination. It’s when you close your eyes and imagine what you want your pharmacy to look like, feel like, and how you want it to run.
Creating and writing a vision can be scary for some people. Why? Putting down your dreams and wants puts you in a vulnerable position. When you clearly define what you want, there’s a chance you won’t achieve it. For high-achievers, this is very scary. However, not determining what you want your future to look like will absolutely ensure you won’t get there. People don’t accidentally fall into their dream life. Pharmacy owners won’t accidentally wake up in 5 years with their dream pharmacy either.
What’s most important is taking the time to think about what you want out of your pharmacy and to make it crystal clear to yourself, your partners, and your staff.
Let’s take a moment to put our positive pants on before we get started because I don’t want you to think you’re limited or bound by your visions. You are in control, so if you want to change your vision, simply change it. There is no wrong vision. Your dream is your own. Make it easy, make it hard, make it fit you.
Setting Your Pharmacy Vision
You want to think about your pharmacy and your personal life. Think about all aspects, not just profit. Here are some probing questions to get you started:
- What does your pharmacy look like in the future?
- How many employees will you have?
- What will your revenues and profits be?
- What will your daily life look like?
- What needs to happen for you to be happy with your pharmacy results?
- What is your business known for?
- What is the reputation of your business in your community?
- What type of programs do you offer?
- Who are your customers?
- What is your exit strategy?
Don’t forget; you can always adjust your pharmacy vision.
If you’re struggling with long-term visions, that’s okay. This process is new to many pharmacy owners. We tend to be very analytical, and it takes some effort to turn on the creative part of our brains.
Many pharmacy owners get stuck in how do I document my vision. Again, there is no wrong way. Some pharmacists have created vision boards. If you are crafty or tactile, this option is probably for you. Other pharmacy owners like to mindmap or write down what success looks like. Do what works for you.
Ideally, you want to be specific. If you are having trouble, you can start more general with statements such as these. “I want to improve my gross profit 5% every year,” or “over the next three years, I want to expand my services to include annual wellness visits and chronic care management.” Once you have the general statement, it will become easier to create a specific vision statement. Here’s an example: In 3 years, I want annual wellness visits and chronic care management to be 50% of my profit and spend three days a week doing them.
One Year Goals
Once you have your vision set, you can start identifying steps to make the vision a reality. Narrow it down to what you want to accomplish each year, keeping an eye on the dream – determine what must happen to make your vision into reality.
Setting one-year goals is an excellent way to begin breaking down your dream pharmacy into actionable steps.
Let’s say your vision includes hiring two pharmacists and three technicians within five years. What steps are required to make that happen? You might want to increase your profitability so you can afford additional staff. You may need to appoint a manager to run day-to-day operations so you can focus on the pharmacy. I like to think of these milestones linearly. You can start at the beginning and work your way forward or begin at the end and work backward. Often you will find that one of these ways will work best for you.
One-year goals for the above vision might look like this:
- Increase net profit to 6%
- Send staff pharmacist to leadership training
- Create a training process for pharmacists and technicians
These goals won’t get you to the 5-year finish line, but they will make you much more likely to get there. If you don’t have a destination in mind, you don’t have a path to get there.
Setting S.M.A.R.T. Goals
Maybe you’ve heard of the phrase “SMART” when it comes to setting goals. SMART is an acronym for what your goals should be. It stands for:
A specific goal might be to increase your gross margin. That’s specific, but it’s not measurable. So, let’s assign a number. Increase gross margin by 25%. Now it’s measurable as well as specific. But is it attainable? Maybe 25% is unrealistic, so let’s drop that to 15%. Now that is attainable. But is it realistic? Perhaps you look around and find yours is the only pharmacy within a five-mile radius of the local medical center. With that information, 15% is a realistic goal. Lastly, set a time frame for your goal. You want to increase the gross margin by 15% over the next 12 months. That is a SMART goal.
After finishing your one-year goals:
- Share them with your staff and post them someplace visible to everyone, like in the breakroom.
- Get your employees on board so they can help you achieve them.
- Review your goals often.
Like your vision, goals are flexible; adjust as you need to, so long as you are SMART about it. Sit down and put words on paper. Decide when each item gets completed and by whom, write down completion dates, and who does what.
Once you have your one-year goals outlined, plot the route to get there, you wouldn’t take a road trip without a destination, and you wouldn’t start driving without having a path.
Quarterly Action Plan
90-day action plans are prevalent in the business world. The next three months are a manageable timeframe for our brains to grasp. Ask yourself what accomplishes need to happen in the next 90 days, so I am closer to reaching my one-year goals.
First, you need to know where to start, and the best place to start is to understand where you and your business are right now. Calculate metrics or key performance indicators (KPIs), run any necessary reports, figure out what to focus on first. Then I recommend involving your team. When they help create the end goals, they are more likely to be enthusiastic about reaching (or even exceeding) them. Sometimes your staff will help keep your goals in check. They will tell if something seems impossible but don’t be afraid to give them stretch goals too.
Calendar – Set The Dates
When you use a calendar, you can lay out each step necessary to move your plan forward and when each task needs to happen. If you’re someone who makes a list or gets handed a “honey-do” list Saturday mornings, you already know the satisfaction of crossing items off the list when you finish them. Here, you get to do the same thing.
I like to use controlling calendars for assigning tasks to many employees and keeping track of whether they have done them or not. You can also notate for each job due date. Controlling calendars are a great way to keep your entire staff focused on the tasks they must do. You can learn more about them in this past article; Employee Management Made Easy.
The Cardinal Rule
Just get started. Yep, it is that simple. Just start. You didn’t learn to ride a bike in one try, so don’t be hard on yourself if you don’t get it perfect with setting a vision and goals for pharmacy on the first try, either.