Does a world without PBMs seem blissful?
Close your eyes and just imagine what pharmacy would be like without PBMs.
Are you joyous about the lack of audits, headaches, clawbacks, and DIR fees?
Can you imagine your pharmacy profit soaring without PBMs?
This fantasy seems pretty awesome, right?
I am sorry to be the bearer of bad news. Even without PBMs, many pharmacy owners would still struggle.
Yes, that is right.
If you remove the worst thing to happen to healthcare, aka PBMs, pharmacy owners will still have many barriers to success. I speak with pharmacy owners and participate in many forums, and while troubles from PBMs are rampant, there are a plethora of other issues that pharmacy owners need to overcome.
It’s Not All Rainbows And Daisies
As pharmacy owners, we focus much of our attention on the terrible impact PBMs have on our pharmacies. It makes sense. On average, we each lose 6-figure amounts each year to these corporate bullies. It is not only about the money; we lose time, energy, and peaceful nights. Because so much of our attention is on the problems caused by PBMs, other issues can be overlooked or neglected.
Here are the top issues I see pharmacy owners struggle with that aren’t tangled up with PBMs.
- Marketing for your pharmacy
- Hiring and training employees
- Understanding financials and finance strategies
- Managing inventory
- Knowing how to sell products/services to patients
- Buying strategies to lower your COGS
The hard truth is that the issues above probably have a more significant negative impact on pharmacy owners than the BS we get from the PBMs. You might notice that the above list is not unique to pharmacy owners. These are precisely the same issues that every business owner must eventually master to succeed.
Change Is Good; You Go First
When was the last time you focused on improving your skills or changing your pharmacy in these areas? This is a tough question. Take a moment and really consider your answer. Thinking about these problems isn’t the same as taking action.
All too often, the situation goes something like this.
Pharmacy Owner: I have poor cash flow.
Me: Let’s look at your inventory. Oh wow, your inventory is extremely bloated. That is where your cash is.
Pharmacy Owner: Yeah, I know I need to manage it better. I just haven’t had time yet.
Me: Here’s a step-by-step method to allow you and your employees to easily get your inventory under control.
Pharmacy Owner 1-month later: I am running out of cash. No, I haven’t done anything with my inventory yet.
A Little Less Talk And A Lot More Action
Pharmacy owners love to talk and complain. I think this is true for most people in most situations—negative news sells, gossip travels fast, and complaining gets attention. News flash… attending a pep rally against PBMs will make you feel good but probably won’t improve your pharmacy at all.
Taking action is hard. Trust me, I have taken a lot of action in my businesses. It is uncomfortable as you may not have done this task before. You need perseverance, imagination, and grit to be successful. Many times you might have to take action after hours. This means staying late and working long hours. I look at these extra times as investments in my business and future. It will take time now, but it will make your life better in the future.
Don’t Be Afraid To Fail
Failure is a part of taking action. Expect to fail. You will not get it right the first time. That’s ok. Perfection does not belong in business. Innovation is messy. I know it is easy to read these words, and it is much more challenging when you are in the middle of it making a mistake.
We have to learn to forgive ourselves. It is a journey. Every time we attempt something, as long as we grow from it, it is not a failure. Make a commitment to yourself to take action. Use a journal or calendar. We give each of our Pharmacy Badass University members a copy of the business journal Daily Greatness. I use it myself to keep track of my goals for the week and the tasks I need to perform.
Quick Action = Quick Wins
Inside Pharmacy Badass University, we have a pharmacy profit roadmap. The first section of the roadmap is quick wins. Everyone loves quick wins. Employees feel good about accomplishing goals, and you feel good about the boost to your pharmacy profits.
Here are some quick wins you may want to try for these problem areas for pharmacy owners. If you need help with these, please contact us via LinkedIn or Facebook or email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Quick Win Ideas:
- Post a daily video about your pharmacy on social media.
- Change your job descriptions to be fun and about benefits, not job duties or requirements.
- Complete an inventory clean-up to return to your wholesaler and ask for a 1-time override if needed.
- Have cashiers offer an OTC to every patient.
- Create a bag stuffer every month and give them to every patient at every transaction.
- Calculate your most critical 3 KPIs and know which you need to work on first.
- Have each employee send a handwritten thank you card to a patient for every shift they work.
No Change = No Change
The most important thing you can do for your pharmacy is to keep implementing changes. Not all will work as you expect. Others may be more effective than you think. Your employees should get so used to new changes that they ask what’s happening this week.
You can visit the website HERE if you are interested in learning more about our Pharmacy Profit Roadmap inside Pharmacy Badass University.