We all have our “To Do” lists. Whether written down or in our heads, we generally know the things we need to get done in a given day. But what about the things we don’t need to do and do anyway? These can range from bad habits to unnecessarily time-consuming activities, to things we should be delegating. I call it my “To Don’t” list. It includes things like, “Don’t have my email inbox up on my screen all day long.” Why? Because email is basically a black hole for productivity. So, it’s better to plan on specific times to look at and respond to emails rather than having it constantly distracting me all day.
So, what should be on your “To Don’t” list? As a pharmacy owner or team leader, what are the common things that waste your time and destroy your productivity? Or worse, hurt your outlook? If you’re not sure where to start, here are some easy “To Don’ts” to think about.
Don’t answer the same question over and over again.
Have you ever picked up the phone and had someone ask you what your hours were? Or if you carry a specific product? Those calls might only take moments to answer, but they are unnecessary interruptions. You might not be able to stop them completely, but you can reduce those calls by putting answers to frequently asked questions on your IVR and website. And you can make it easy for customers to know what you carry when they search online. (Hint – you don’t need an eCommerce platform to make it happen!) Also, if the questions are coming from your staff, it’s time to invest in training to help them be more independent.
Don’t write off your front end.
Is your front end really something you need to actively participate with every day? Maybe not in the strictest sense of the word, but if your front end is smaller and not a primary focus, it won’t hurt to remind yourself that there is money to be made in your front end. Small, large or in between; the front end is one place in your pharmacy where you have granular control over price and margins. Even if you carry less than 100 SKUs, those SKUs need to be performing for you. Which means you do need to give it regular attention.
Don’t get attached to products or departments.
While you have to make a habit of giving your front end TLC, you can’t fall in love with it, either. Hanging on to inventory that’s not selling is a mistake. Even if it’s a product you personally love, or your buyer was really excited about, or something you think everyone needs. If a product isn’t selling, you have to make a change. Remind yourself that inventory is an investment and needs to turn and sell so you can reinvest and grow.
Don’t overpay for credit card processing.
You might be overpaying for credit cards every day. If you’re stuck with limited credit card processing options, you might be paying some unnecessary fees. Having your fees evaluated regularly based on volume and average ticket size means you can end up paying less. Which also means your processing fees won’t eat up as much of your profits. This is a small change, but a powerful one. Make sure you ask your POS provider if they can help you save money on credit card processing fees.
Don’t decide without data.
Your "To-Do" list likely includes regular decisions that have to be made. Don’t make decisions without data to guide you when possible.
Complaining is something we all do every once in a while to vent, or make ourselves feel better. It’s not bad to vent. Pharmacy owners have more reason than most to do so. Complaining becomes a problem when it becomes a habit, and when a complaint becomes an excuse. So, if you find yourself talking negatively all the time, put this on your “To Don’t” list and try to flip your narrative. Figure out why you’re in a rut and how you can start to work your way out of it.
Don’t ignore problems.
It’s been said that doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result is the definition of insanity. Even if that’s a bit of an exaggeration, too many pharmacies live with the status quo. They work around problems. Learn to live with them. Make concessions for them. If you see a problem, start making changes to resolve it. Encourage your team to get involved and bring broken processes to light, too.
Don’t work in the business.
This is a tough one. It’s hard to change the day-to-day work habits and start working on the business instead of in the business. For a ton of reasons. But filling prescriptions and running the register all day doesn’t leave time to make the changes that actually help your business grow. Delegate tasks where you can, streamline decision making, and invest in technology, training and processes that will help your pharmacy run smoothly without you. If you don’t use Med Sync, get that started. Then, you can begin to branch out and work on growing your business, rather than getting lost in the day-to-day.
Which of these tips will you be using? What else would be on your “To Don’t” list? Share in the comments below!