The definition of a true consultant is an individual who is able to give you expert and professional advice. There comes a time in every business when an objective, qualified and experienced third party is necessary to help guide, direct or advise the owner or your management team. This is true for most pharmacy operations, especially when making decisions regarding expansion, increasing efficiency, establishing policies and procedures, or choosing a technology system that will best suit the individual company’s needs. Everyone can agree that when it comes to the practice pharmacy and the dispensing of drugs and medications, pharmacists are the experts. Yet knowing one’s limitations is a key to success for many pharmacy owners or managers. One need only take a moment to remember all of the failed pharmacy businesses in the past few decades to realize that running a profitable operation is NEVER a given. In any business, seeking the advice of a knowledgeable expert is often times the most effective way to solve a problem, get the correct solution and make certain that your operation is running as efficiently and profitably as possible. Try thinking about a pharmacy consultant as a coach. Are there any successful sports teams that don’t have a coach? Even professional golfers like Tiger Woods have a coach. They may be the best professional there is at playing their sport, but only an objective coach (consultant) can see what they can’t and help them keep constantly improving their game (or business operation for a pharmacy owner).
How Do You Select The Right Pharmacy Consulting Firm?
When the time comes to actually reach out and identify the right pharmacy consulting firm, how do you make sure that you are choosing the best one for your individual business’s needs? Here are some tips and actions to consider when interviewing consulting firms to help make your choice the best possible decision.
Document Your Project or Needs –
Often times being able to communicate your needs, goals and objectives will make all the difference in choosing the right firm. Write out exactly what you think you need, share details of your past experiences, what you think may be some possible solutions, plus identify what you want and expect from the consultant as best you can. Don’t waste too much time trying to document everything perfectly – after all if you can do that, then why do you need a consulting firm and their expertise? Just keep in mind that the consultant cannot “read your mind” and the better job that you do presenting and explaining your situation, the easier your choice will become in selecting the right firm.
Do They Listen, Comprehend and Communicate Well?
If you did your part and communicated your project expectations or needs, now it is their turn! The best consultants are great communicators. They are able to listen, ask the right questions when appropriate and communicate effectively. After explaining your situation and needs (as recommended above), have the firm recap what you said and what “they think that they heard”. This ensures that they understand your situation and project’s scope. Often times you may find that it doesn’t quite match up, and this can be an indicator that you may be interviewing the wrong agency or firm. After all, if they can’t understand from the very start, what makes you think that they can deliver the right advice, solution or advice at the finish line?
View Them as a Partner –
Honesty is a crucial element in making your selection. However, this is a “two way” street. When you view the hiring of a consulting firm as them becoming a partner, it’s imperative that you give them the total picture in order for the business relationship to be both effective and beneficial for your company. Obviously we expect total honesty from them, so we need to overcome any fear or embarrassment that we may have and give them the total picture. Treating them as a partner and not just as a vendor will ensure that they can achieve the best results on your behalf.
Ask For Evidence –
Every consulting firm will tell you that they can help you solve your problems or help you to meet your goals and objectives. Ask them for proof! Do they have examples or case studies of similar businesses with the same challenges or in similar situations? Do they have references that you can call and talk to? Although everyone obviously will give you references that are satisfied clients, it’s still a good idea to call them. Even if the references are happy with the results they received, it’s a good chance to ask them some important questions:
– Were the consultants easy to work with?
– Did they respond quickly?
– Was the work finished on time?
– Did they meet the budget or cost estimates?
Look For Diversity –
Many times a consultant will be qualified, experienced and knowledgeable in just one very specific area. The best consulting firms have expertise and experience in all areas of pharmacy. This allows them to “see the total picture” of your business and can often lead to suggestions and improvements in numerous other areas of your operation. Having experience in all types of pharmacies and settings allows the consultant to come up with creative solutions for your business that a more limited firm could not produce.
About HealthCare Consultants
From major hospitals and healthcare systems to individual community pharmacies, HCC has been the nationally renowned pharmacy consultant firm of choice for over 29 years now. We work with businesses of every size – from the corner drug store to national corporations and organizations – with only one goal in mind: to improve your pharmacy’s business operations. We can assist with expert advice in any area of your pharmacy business or practice.
We urge you to contact us today to see how our Pharmacy Consulting services can help you improve your business now, plus be ready for the future. With a full-time staff of in-house Pharmacy Consultant specialists, HCC can answer any questions that you may have in all pharmacy settings. Contact us online or call us today at 800-642-1652 for a free consultation.