If you’re not moving, you’re falling behind. Few know this as well as pharmacy owners, whose work thrives in the new and unknown. 

2024 still has some New Year shine, so make this first act a good one. One — or rather, five — way to do this is to reassess your priorities as a business owner. After all, “pharmacy owner” is simply another term for “business owner.” 

Inspired by CCO of RedSail Technologies Jeff Key’s speech at this year’s NCPA conference, let’s keep you afloat with what NOT to do when keeping your business afloat. 

In that spirit, here are five ways to run your pharmacy out of business. 

1. Focus on the Negative 

“The greatest discovery of our time is we can alter our lives by simply altering our attitude.” 

A glass half-empty (or vial half-empty) mentality can take you and your pharmacy places. However, they probably won’t be places you’d want to go. Teams follow leaders who continuously strive for the best and betterment of their community. 

It’s that positivity that encourages your staff to stay with your pharmacy. That positivity also incentivizes your patients to keep coming back to your pharmacy. 

This mindset doesn’t just apply to your pharmacy. Think of it as a prescription (it shouldn’t be too difficult). Make sure you’re living your life in a positive light, not getting bogged down by fleeting negativity. Jeff suggests some ways to live a more positive lifestyle: 

  • Avoid news and social media sites that spread negativity
  • Surround yourself with positive people
  • Get enough sleep
  • Eat healthy foods 
  • Exercise regularly 

Sure, you’ll inevitably have a less-than-great day on occasion. That comes with the program of being an independent pharmacy owner. But you can’t appreciate the sun without a little rain, so make the most out of bad situations. 

From an order shipment not coming in, a tech calling in sick, or even a power outage (PioneerRx has you covered on that front), go with the flow this year to make smooth sailings from even the choppiest of waters. 

2. Don’t Have Goals 

“In competitive markets, well-defined goals are essential to success.”

Innovation is the name of the pharmacy game. It’s what makes the industry go round. If you don’t have goals for your pharmacy, your business will suffer. What’s more, your patient base will also feel the brunt of your lack of ambition. 

A lack of goals shows your community that your pharmacy is okay with the status quo. By extension, your patients’ health journeys might become stagnant due to a lack of urgency. 

Rekindle your pharmacy flame by setting regular goals for your pharmacy. Want to increase your pharmacy sales? Make that a goal. Wondering how you can expand your pharmacy outreach? Commit to attending more community events and expand your pharmacy’s online presence. 

Just like your patients’ health, your pharmacy depends on forward movement and keeping with the times. 

Another brilliant way to stay in the know is by digesting industry-related media, such as the Catalyst Pharmacy Podcast, where we speak with some of the industry’s best and brightest. You’re bound to find a nugget of wisdom from podcasts like the Catalyst Pharmacy Podcast, Beyond the Scripts, and RedSail Technologies’ Amplify LTC Podcast

You can also subscribe to the NextWave Pharmacy Newsletter for weekly updates on the industry’s current comings and goings. 

3. Don’t Experiment with New Ideas

“You don’t always need a big win to succeed. Even small changes can make a big difference over time.” 

Innovation fuels progress, and in the world of pharmacy, staying stagnant is a surefire way to fall behind. But hey, who needs fresh perspectives and novel approaches when the same old routine seems to work, right? Wrong.

By shunning new ideas, you're denying your pharmacy the opportunity to evolve. Experimentation is the heartbeat of growth. Whether it's implementing new technologies for prescription management or exploring unconventional marketing strategies, these experiments could be the key to unlocking your pharmacy's full potential.

Yes, experimentation can be nerve-wracking; not every idea will be a game-changer. Sometimes you have to throw stuff on the wall to see what sticks. 

A way to effectively experiment is to leverage your pharmacy technology, namely your pharmacy software system

Pharmacy systems like PioneerRx can generate reports on anything from vaccine numbers to OTC sales, giving you a roadmap to where you can direct your experimenting (be sure to log in to PioneerRx University to learn more about how you can use your software to its fullest potential.) 

But it's the willingness to try and learn that sets successful pharmacies apart from the rest. Embrace the spirit of experimentation; it might just lead you to innovative solutions and newfound success.

4. Don’t Get Out of the Pharmacy 

“If you’re not getting out of the walls of your pharmacy, those walls are probably closing in on you.” 

Who needs a breath of fresh air or interaction beyond your pharmacy walls? You've got prescriptions to fill and shelves to restock, vaccines to administer, and patients to counsel. Surely, you’re going above and beyond the pharmaceutical call of duty, right?  Wrong again.

Isolating yourself from the world outside can limit your perspective. Sometimes a simple walk outside can open your mind to relax and reset. It can also open your mind to that next great idea to take your pharmacy to the next level. 

Engaging with the community beyond your doors can provide invaluable insights, foster relationships, and generate goodwill for your pharmacy. After all, you can’t be a pillar of the community if you’re not involved in the community.

Attend local health fairs, participate in community events, or collaborate with nearby businesses. Also, get involved in independent pharmacy organizations like NCPA. 

Tradeshows are a great way to receive pharmacy wisdom outside your pharmacy walls. Get connected and collaborate with industry peers to learn more about how you can optimize your pharmacy operations. 

If you haven’t already, register for this year's Catalyst Connect conference on May 16-19 at the Gaylord Opryland in Nashville, Tennessee. As with previous years, this one is set to be full of remarkable speakers and classes to transform how you approach pharmacy work. All you need to do is to get out of your pharmacy. 

5. Don’t Communicate with Your Staff

“Successful business owners know they can’t grow without help, and in today’s economy if you’re not growing, you’re probably on your way out of business.” 

Communication? Who has time for that? Well, if you're looking to create confusion, demotivate your team, and sabotage productivity, then avoiding communication with your staff is the way to go. But if you value a cohesive, efficient workplace, then it's time to prioritize communicating with your staff.

Failure to communicate effectively with your staff leads to misunderstandings, lowered morale, and ultimately, decreased productivity. Even the best pharmacy system can’t get you far without a cohesive unit manning the helm.  

Regular team meetings, open-door policies, and actively seeking feedback can foster a collaborative environment where ideas flow freely and everyone feels valued.

Remember, your staff is an integral part of your pharmacy's success. Engage with them, listen to their concerns, and communicate openly to create a positive and thriving work environment.


Operating a pharmacy demands more than dispensing medications—it requires strategic foresight and continuous adaptation. By understanding the pitfalls we've discussed—negativity, goal neglect, aversion to innovation, seclusion, and poor communication—you can navigate your pharmacy toward success.

Embrace positivity, set ambitious yet attainable goals, foster innovation, engage with the community, and prioritize open communication within your team. The pharmacy landscape is dynamic, demanding adaptability and forward-thinking.

Learning from these potential pitfalls serves as a guide to fortify your pharmacy's foundation. With dedication to progress, community integration, and collaborative teamwork, your pharmacy can not only endure but flourish in this ever-evolving industry.

As you embark on this journey, remember to remain agile, innovate fearlessly, and nurture a workplace that values growth and communication. Here's to the flourishing success of your pharmacy in the years to come!

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