Growing a business can be one of your biggest challenges, but what happens when you are faced with the unique situation of having your business grow at a faster rate than you initially anticipated? I recently had to answer this question when my company quickly outgrew the flagship location I purchased in 2010 when our focus shifted from being predominately retail and local pharmacy services to a specialty pharmaceutical company mailing medications to patients across the state of Florida. The needs of the two business models are quite different, which led me to purchase a second location in 2015 that now houses two of our four specialty areas.
Both my team and I had to go through a major shift as we changed our business model from growing via brick-and-mortar locations to becoming the top mail-order pharmacy in the state. We have had to be flexible, ensure that the right resources are in place to continue to be the best in our business, and have the right people in place to help move us towards this new vision.
It is easy to anticipate growth, but the speed and volume of this growth is only determined once you have been in business for some time. Here are a few things to keep in mind if your company grows in a way that you did not originally anticipate:
Don’t panic. When something unexpected happens, it is in our nature to panic, which, of course, does not solve any problems. It is important to remember to stay calm so that you can establish a clear plan of action and execute it in the best possible way.
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Have the right team. It’s the team that you surround yourself with that is ultimately going to be responsible for steering your company to success. Make sure you recruit and hire the best people to run your divisions and evaluate your current team members so you can then focus on strategy.
Keep your customers/clients in the loop. When we went through the process of moving into the second location, we recognized a certain unease among our customers who wanted to know what was happening, and more importantly, how it was going to affect them. Remember that change can be unsettling, so it is your job to keep customers/clients informed every step of the way. Make them feel like the most important part of your company.
Consistency is key. This goes hand-in-hand with keeping customers/clients in the loop. As long as you stay true to your brand and company culture, then the transition should be seamless.
Business growth is a great problem to have, but it has to be managed correctly so it does no become a detriment to your company. This is why it is important to take the time to put together a clear plan of action, stay focused, yet remain flexible. There is no right or wrong way of doing things, it just has to be right for your company. However, if you follow the guidelines above and adjust accordingly, you will be better prepared to enjoy your success.
Armando Bardisa, Pharm.D., is president and founder of SMP Pharmacy Solutions, which was formerly South Miami Pharmacy. www.smppharmacy.com