Increasingly, it is becoming more difficult for pharmacies to employ a range of pharmacists.
It is simply because of the diminishing money supply in the system.
This comes about because of the commoditisation of the PBS and the lack of courage by all pharmacy leaders to develop systems and services that are not government funded and do not focus on their complete core business.
Put it down to a lack of planning, but few pharmacies have made the transition to provide an expansion of their core business, and promote clinical services.
As a potential employee, your immediate objective is to work out how to add value to a pharmacy business and communicate the “how” in your job application.
If you are going to succeed in this upside-down mix of activities currently called pharmacy, you need to carve out a niche specialty and package it under your own brand.
Fortunately it is much easier these days because of the Internet, and the ability to economically build an image through the use of an efficiently designed website hosted privately or through a social media “platform”.
Here you can have a permanent “home” and the ability to target a range of contacts external to any pharmacy you may practice in.
This is the permanent home that represents your personal brand.
This also enables you to generate pharmacy patients and create a value flow that can be enhanced and networked throughout the entirety of a community pharmacy.
Envision what you want to be known for, and what words people should utter after they hear about you.
Are you going to be the medication expert, the clinical nutrition expert, the diabetes expert, the e-commerce expert, the social media expert etc.
Be able to communicate a confident approach when talking or writing about your skill niche, but above all, be able to demonstrate a practical competency in applying your skill through patients.
Marketing skills must also be part of your niche offerings because that is a measure of how effective you are in selling yourself and to build a strong and relevant audience.
i2P has often commented on the “old pharmacy” technique (pre-PBS) of relating personally to patients within a pharmacy and how strong that bond became over time.
Those patients always requested that their specific pharmacist dispense their prescriptions personally when they brought them in to the pharmacy.
They were people first (not numbers or body-part or illness-type patients) and their entire “back stories” were known and they knew some of yours as well.
“Word of mouth” accelerated the range of contacts coming into a pharmacy, and similarly “word of mouse” performs the same role over the Internet.
There is no such thing as overnight success; you have to work your way for success.
Access to knowledge and knowledge-storing practice software will be an essential.
It will require an investment in education and an independent platform to develop your ideas and communicate your ideals.
This can include a simple blog, the making of a range of YouTube videos or developing or dominating social media sites, or having your own website that links back to the blogs and other social media sites.
It helps to create a disparate network at a number of levels.
In effect it gets you “known”.
You see examples of all these techniques by people providing a range of niche services as consultants to pharmacy.
Your job is to adapt your activities so that they generate a revenue stream for a pharmacy proprietor in a harmonious and non-competitive manner.
While emulating consultant techniques they must still be adapted and integrated within your employer’s environment in a seamless fashion.
This will be the measure of your management and marketing success while providing a measure of independence and the opportunity to “stand out” in your overall performance.
If you provide genuine value, you will in turn be valued for what is provided.
Emerging new social media platforms (as distinct from existing sites) are also important for you to pay attention to and keep a lookout for.
During the first 6 to 18 months of a platform’s life is when you have the opportunity to become a disproportionate voice of that community or platform; these platforms start small and have a lot of affinity with early adopters.
Joining an emerging platform early gives you leverage to build on your brand.
It is simply just an alternative opportunity.
It is important to have a range of “touch points” across the Internet and social media.
Sticking to a single platform is not enough if you want to build a personal brand; you also have to be active on other social media platforms.
If you are building a personal brand, you have to offer multiple touch points to your fans or followers because not all your fans will be on a single platform or they may prefer to connect with you by other methods e.g. email; particularly if privacy is an issue.
To cater for privacy, you may have to build or buy software that can encrypt messages to ensure private and secure messaging.
As a personal brand, you have to build an honest and transparent brand.
You have to be transparent and honest with your audience because at the end of the day, you want to build relationships with real people.
You need to be honest and authentic; real people connect and trust real people. It’s okay to be vulnerable and have failures–in the long run, your personal brand will end up becoming stronger.
It is time to embrace and adapt to using Internet technologies, including the use of social media platforms.
All successful health practitioners are using various formats and with “seniors” becoming the fastest demographic of smart-phone adopters.
If you are not part of the essential communications process you leave a big hole to fill because you are not seen to be reaching out.
No business can afford to be without these new tools the same as no employee can afford to not think about the needs of a prospective business in which they wish to work.
Sell yourself in terms of filling business need and creating a return on capital.
Your job application may just be the stand-out one that will win for you in this highly competitive market that pharmacy has become.