Strategy for pharmacy business in Africa (3 min read)
Business is war and like war, without the right strategy, you cannot win
Africa business strategy and venture capital expert
Pharmacy owners need to define their strategy and stick to it while remaining flexible to changes in their community- these changes could be demographics, earning power of patients and competition.
You can define your strategy across three dimensions-
a) Your competencies:
What are you very good at delivering- is it clinical care or advisory based on nutrition?
Focus on your key strengths and make sure your community knows this. This is focus strategy.
b) What your competition cannot do:
Listen to feedback from customers who complain about your competition. Focus on doing better what they are poor in delivering. This is differentiation strategy. Make sure your community knows what you do differently.
c) What do your customers want?
Are your customers looking for low prices? Give them low prices by running an efficient and low cost business. This is the low-cost strategy.
Are your customers looking for value and specialty care and attention? Give them premium attention and home service. Be respectful and serve them. Make sure they pay extra for the value you offer. This is premium strategy.
Do your customers like low prices but some extra service? Provide them with basic services such as checking of vitals and counselling after dispensing products. They will always come back to you. This is the value strategy.
You can pursue a mix of strategy across the three categories e.g. having a paediatrics focused and value strategy. In this case, people will come to you for counselling about the health of their children and to buy low cost paediatric products.
Whatever strategy you pursue remember that price is the lever you move between the total cost of your operations and the value that patients are willing to pay for what you offer.
Your strategy should define how much you sell your products. There are people who make money selling at high prices e.g. Healthplus because they have defined their strategy based on the type of customers at their location and the value these customers are willing to pay for. Never always focus on lowering prices to win market share as a first resort unless if this is your strategy. Think broadly along the three dimensions discussed earlier before setting your prices.
In conclusion, if you want to improve your flexibility in strategy choice, you need to have good cost control. Since product prices constitute the bulk of costs of a pharmacy, always look at reducing the costs associated with sourcing for your products and shipping them.
Use platforms such as www.rxallng.com that help you save money and you can then pursue a mix of strategy that improves your profit.
About the Author
Adebayo Alonge is a pharmacist and business strategy and finance expert with experience in sales, digital marketing, venture capital and entrepreneurship. He is passionate about using strategy and finance to improve health delivery in Africa.