Many people would no doubt love to start a successful business like yours from scratch but are there any downsides?
Oh yes! There is no safety net. You are either successful or you go out of business. It is so far removed from an employed job that it should not be underestimated. You may feel like you have little time to yourself as an employee but as a business owner, there is no separation between when you think about business and when you do other things. It all becomes one. That can be exciting but it can also be very challenging to manage.
When you think of Community Pharmacy, what one word immediately comes to mind?
Opportunity. To care for patients. To have a varied career. To be part of something important.
Do you think there is something in a Pharmacist’s training, background or cultural understanding of the role that holds us back as a profession?
There is nothing deliberate in our training or background as pharmacists that hold us back. In fact, we have a lot of advantages and skills that other healthcare professions don’t have. We have however evolved to fill a place in the healthcare system that to those outside doesn’t appear to be very healthcare based. Being fair to them many of us spend our time in retail units and carry out repetitive tasks that closely resemble ordinary retail transactions. That is how it has evolved for a range of reasons. The windows of those units advertise retail offers. They are next to the newsagents, mobile phone shops, card shops etc so it shouldn’t be a surprise that at times we are mistaken for shopkeepers. Of course, being located in those places is one of our strengths as well. Accessibility and a quick response are both things that make us special. However, we mustn’t underestimate the downside. People value what they can access freely less than that which is hard to access. Equally, patients visit the GP or dentist to find out what is wrong with them as their primary carer and then us to pick up their medicines. We are later in the process. If we can work to adjust our position to become more involved in treatment as independent prescribers or something similar that might help to redress the balance. I’m not suggesting that we become diagnosticians but there may be a more significant role for us as treatment managers later in the process.
I’d ask everyone to re-focus on the profession rather than any individual organisation. It feels like the profession exists at a bigger level than we are able to hold in our minds at present and that our various representative bodies, although doing good work, are restricted by their own remits. At times I worry that no one is caring for or nurturing the profession as a whole and that it will only survive so long in that situation.
What projects are you working on at the moment?
I have just launched the Pharmacy Marketing Formulary (PMF) which is the first book to be published by DOSE Publishing. It is about marketing for pharmacy people. It is written to be easy to read, specific to Pharmacy and provides a simple process to help people build a sound marketing strategy. The process can be used for a multi-site business, an individual pharmacy, a new service and even to help promote the profession more effectively.
What’s next for you?
DOSE Design is spreading it’s wings and working with healthcare professionals outside of pharmacy as well as within the profession. That is an exciting development and one that we are looking forward to seeing evolve. I am also in the process of writing the next book for publication by DOSE Publishing which should be due early next year. Lastly, I am enjoying getting back to the coalface with some locuming.
Gavin and DOSE publishing recently published the Pharmacy Marketing Formulary. To buy your copy click on the image below.