Gerry Spitzner | Blog


My 2cents for the graduating class of 2016 PharmSci students

Posted by in Business Planning, Leadership, Pharmacy, Retail, Small Business

A lot of people — including many health professionals themselves — tend to overlook the fact that pharmacists, docs, dentists, physio’s, chiropractors, and other healthcare professionals are really small business people.  Learn quickly that the business side is not a “side” at all, but crucial to professional success.  Take every opportunity to visit clinics, other pharmacies and shadow other pharmacists.

Find new revenue streams and think about what you can do in your practice beyond the pill. For example, your pharmacy may find a lecture space would be good for lectures on health and wellness. Whatever one’s specialization or field, success depends on finding the vehicle to drive achievement.

Start by clarifying exactly what your value proposition is; your competitive advantage, the reason the market should choose you and your patient services over anyone else. What are the applied benefits patients can expect from using your patient services? Here are three things to rethink and imagine the way patient services are delivered and also the value of the services themselves.

1. Make the effort to be creative…I think the key is you really need to innovate, and the world rewards people who innovate. The real challenge in retail Pharmacy is that it’s becoming increasingly challenging to win business, and it’s vital to find a way to differentiate yourself. Spend a bunch of time, effort and money to try and specialize. Become a vertical brand.

2. Be prepared…I work with a lot of young entrepreneurs and the biggest issue I see is preparation — and by that I mean a solid plan. I see a lot of people who will rush into something without a road map. They tend to leap to the doing. It’s like saying; I’m going to drive to Mexico and I’m going to get in the car…if I go south I’m going to get there; instead of saying, let me build a map; let me identify the shortest route there, and the alternate route if there are any challenges.

3. Don’t let your job get boring. Keep pushing out the edges of Pharmacy practice. Challenge the status quo. Change is difficult. Not changing is fatal. Don’t get impatient, stay the course of practice change; because change is slow until of a sudden it isn’t!

Overall, the best piece of advice I can give is to work and live by the mantra; “my practice and my business is my ability to leave my mark on the world.” Try to regularly seek, create and seize opportunities to make the world a little better than you found it.

Good luck and all the best for exams, grad and licensing.

I help Pharmacists, Doctors and healthcare practitioners develop winning business and practice management strategies so they can focus on patient-centered care. Gerry Spitzner is the principal business consultant of, a Vancouver-based business management consultancy. For more information: