NCPA Executive Update

NCPA Executive Update delivers insights on legislative, regulatory, policy, and industry developments from NCPA CEO B. Douglas Hoey, Pharmacist, MBA, to NCPA members and pharmacy leaders every Friday.

Can You Wring More Profit From Your Business? | NCPA Executive Update | September 30, 2016

by NCPA | Sep 30, 2016

Can You Wring More Profit From Your Business?

Dear Colleague,

Doug Hoey

It's no secret that profit margins in community pharmacies are thin. In fact, according to the "Least Profitable U.S. Industries" chart below, a typical community pharmacy would be envious of the net profit margin of gas stations and lawn and garden equipment and supplies stores!

Every single percentage point that can be squeezed out counts.

According to the 2016 NCPA Digest, sponsored by Cardinal Health, every year community pharmacies get more efficient at reducing expenses—but there may still be more profit dollars to wring out. That is why NCPA developed the Back Office Dimension as one of three educational tracks at this year's Annual Convention in New Orleans.

Let's face it: all businesses have to pay taxes, balance finances, attract new customers, manage changing technology and, well, do business, and our pharmacy school training made us proficient in our medication knowledge rather than business experts. Accounting and finance, for example, may not be fun for all pharmacists, but it is necessary to understand how to make your capital work as hard as possible for you.

If you're like most pharmacy owners, accounting, finance, legal, marketing, and technology are all areas you suspect that your business might be able to gain efficiencies. But frankly, after a full day of filling prescriptions, taking care of patients, and dealing with vigor-draining PBM problems, you likely don't have the time or the energy to deal with some of the business building blocks.

That's not atypical. And, it's why NCPA is bringing you programs presented by speakers who work with people like you and will help you address areas of your business that might be leaving some profit dollars on the table. These experts work with community pharmacy owners year-round and have extensive knowledge of the unique challenges and opportunities community pharmacies face.

Where else can you get access to all of these business experts together in one place? The NCPA Annual Convention Oct. 15-19 gives you the opportunity to pick their brains and ask questions.

The convention kicks off Saturday morning with the Technology Seminar, with sessions covering topics like geolocation marketing and pharmacy management systems. Grab a cup of coffee and get there early for a good seat—these popular sessions fill up.

Marketing—it can be a money pit or it can be your best friend. Your pharmacy always needs to be prospecting for new patients as current patients move or pass away. "Guerilla Marketing" is led by Bruce Kneeland, who just completed a 12-pharmacy roadshow through America's Heartland (check out Part II of his trip in the October issue of America's Pharmacist) and learned many marketing lessons from successful pharmacy owners along the way. Pharm Fresh Media's Chief Marketing Officer, Wayne Glowac, will show you how to develop a branding plan and messaging strategy to communicate with patients and providers.

In this week's Presidential debate, Donald Trump famously (or infamously) replied, "That makes me smart" to Hillary Clinton's accusation that he had not paid any federal taxes. I won't comment on that exchange other than to say, most small business owners are willing to pay their fair share of taxes—no more, no less. If that describes you, you may be especially interested in learning whether you are overpaying Uncle Sam when tax time rolls around. Speakers Ollin Sykes and Scott Sykes are teaching a session on Saturday afternoon on how you can avoid getting "taxed to the max."

Our Second General Session on Monday morning will feature three speakers (myself included) discussing "Strategies to Combat DIRs" that impact your bottom line. You'll find plenty of educational sessions on growing your front-end profits and expanding clinical opportunities and niches in our other two programming dimensions as well. The Convention Program Guide is available on our website so you can start planning how you will spend your time in New Orleans now.

Here's an added benefit of coming to the convention: the Exhibit Hall. Yes, these vendors want to sell you something—something helps you make money and care for patients—otherwise you won't buy it! The exhibitors are a big key to your business success.

There's still time to register at (tip: register before rates increase Oct. 8). NCPA's hotel deadline has passed, but hotel rooms are still available to book on your own. I hope to see you in NOLA in just two weeks.

Doug Hoey

P.S.– Hot deals keep rolling in for the convention—we're up to $45,000 in discounts for convention attendees offered by 53 vendors in NCPA's Exhibit Hall. If you're looking for new technology software, for example, this is the time and place to get it and save $$. But you need to be there to get the discounts!