I have had to interact with both pharmacist and non-pharmacist run pharmacies. During these interactions I discovered that the traders who got into drug business have a better business sense than some pharmacists who trained for 5 years plus to become professional and are running their own pharmacy business.

Although pharmacists are trained to be good professionals our business training is limited. I remember we has only a 3 unit course in one semester that taught us Pharmacy Management and this course is essential theoretical. The practicality of the real business world was missing. (I wish that they could review the curriculum to include real life examples.) The drug traders on the other hand lack any profession training but are street smart business men. They know what it takes to run a successful business hence they are making a killing in the pharmaceutical business. They even go ahead to employ pharmacists to work for them as providers of the professional services.

When you look very well as many flourishing pharmacies, a lot of them are owned by non-pharmacists. They employ pharmacists who run the business but strategic business decisions are taken by them based on their business experiences. Are there things we can learn from the non-pharmacists pharmacy owner and drug traders? Of course. The following are business skills we can learn from these non-professionals.

They are ready to take risks in their businesses. Their knowledge of the market trend helps them in taking calculated risk. For example, many of them can more readily stock new products than the most pharmacists. Many pharmacists will not stock new products until they start to see prescription. In other words, they readily trust the ability of the sales representative to promote and generate prescriptions of their products and put themselves in readiness to serve these prescriptions. They have what is called faith and this emanates from years of experience and business savvy.

They spend more time in their business and pay more attention to it. Many pharmacists hardly stay in their business premises. Some work in their pharmacies only in the evening citing a belief that there are more clients at that time. Some others come around to their pharmacies as if they are on a visit. When you spend more time in your pharmacy, you will get to understand what is actually happening in your business. You will be able to proffer solutions to any problems whenever they arise.

They exhibit high level of Interpersonal relationship with their customers. They go the extra-mile to create a cordial relationship with their customers. In fact their customers know them by name. In the case of the drug traders, they even go as far as living in same community or as close as possible to their customers. This further helps to strengthen the relationship with the customers.

They stock varieties of other products apart from drug. They understand that their customers all have other needs apart from drugs as such they also seek to meet those needs. They sell products like beverages, cosmetics and household items. These additional products increase their sales and profit margin. Recognizing the needs of your clients and filling these needs is a great business strategy. Pharmacists should look out for the needs of their clients and look for ways of meeting these needs. You can also create different section within your pharmacy where other household needs of your clients are displayed and sold.

They are more focused on turnover than on profit.  They understand that if they can get their clients to buy more often from them they are going to make more profit in the long run. When a business owner is overly focused on profit, he is likely going to abandon giving good service to the customers. To make our business a success we must be interested in serving our clients in such a way that they become regular customers and we can make consistent profit from them.

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