If you own a natural health store, then you know that patients need the right medicine at the right dosages. You also want to ensure that you have a steady supply of the medicines and that they are not expired.
Managing and maintaining such a store requires expertise and compliance with laws on medicine. That makes running the business both a medical and logistical challenge. That should not drive you out of business.
In this post, we are going to talk about how to open a natural health store as well as how to manage it for optimum profits. Ready? Let’s go!
Determine Customer Demands
In the health industry, the needs of patients are paramount. As such, you need to have a clear line of communication with your suppliers to ensure that you have the right remedies at the right time. However, the pharmaceutical supply chain is prone to issues and is complex as well. You also want to keep in mind that health regulations are quite strict and there are limited suppliers of natural health solutions. In that regard, you do not want to stock products that are not in demand. You may have to carry out market research to determine what most of your customers need.
Once you do this, you will have taken the first step as far as how to open a natural health store.
Pick the Right Selection
As you contemplate how to open a natural health store, you want to remember that the location of the store will play an important role when it comes to maintenance. You need to pick a location based on the number of customers you are likely to get there. For instance, it would not be advisable to open your health store that stocks natural products in an area where a higher number of the population believes in conventional medicine. That means you should avoid urban areas and lean more towards the country.
The location of your store will also determine whether you will have to deal with burglars or unfavorable weather conditions. Ensure that the area you pick is safe and with favorable climatic conditions.
Do Not Overstock
As a health store owner, the temptation to overstock your facility is always there because you cannot imagine buyers coming in and missing what they want. Nevertheless, the cost of healthcare equipment and natural medicine is quite high and you do not want to waste your finances overstocking on supplies that you will not sell.
To avoid overstocking your store, you need to manage your relationship with suppliers. By understanding what your customers want, you will be able to communicate that to your manufacturers and suppliers to regulate the volume of stock that comes in. Ultimately, the goal should be to minimize wastage.
Manage Repeat Prescriptions
A common issue with health stores around the world is repeat prescriptions whereby patients come for the same medicines regularly. As you think of how to open a natural health store, you want to keep in mind that putting in place a streamlined process for such prescriptions will deliver accuracy as well as save money and time.
Another challenge is when patients fail to collect their repeated prescriptions or return them. You can choose to change that for the better by taking a proactive approach. By doing that, you get to return the drugs to the manufacturer or resell them.
That said, the ability to do that will be determined by the relationships you forge with trading partners, contracts, and lines of communication.
Keep your Facility Clean
You cannot think of how to open a natural health store without considering the cleanliness of your store. Since you are selling natural health products, hygiene plays a key role when it comes to convincing potential and existing customers alike that your store is the right one to buy from.
Remember that most people associate health and health products with cleanliness. As such, you cannot have flies flying around your waiting area, dusty countertops, or chipped walls.
The least you can do is to ensure that the floors are clean and that surfaces are dusted and sanitized. A commercial cleaning company can do that for you. You also want to keep your facility clean in compliance with health laws. The last thing you want is to look for lawyers to plead your case in court once your facility is closed simply because it is unhygienic.
Make the Most Out of Technology
When it comes to how to open a natural health store, managing your inventory can be complex and overwhelming. Yours will not be a credible store if you cannot deliver the right medical supplies and medicine at the right time, to the right people.
To guarantee the accuracy of your inventory, you can take advantage of software to automate the procedures in your facility that have to do with handling and moving medicines. A combination of shipping speed and accuracy can be achieved by using cloud-based software.
Business Tips for Natural Health Store Owners
Here are some things to keep in mind as you think of how to open a natural health store.
Employees are not Your Friends
You would think that building your business on friendships would be advantageous, but the opposite is true. Even if you employ family members, remember that they automatically turn into your employees once you have that agreement. It doesn’t matter if they do garbage pickup at your facility or handle your finances.
Therefore, if your brother works for you and you are not ready to take disciplinary action whenever he makes mistakes just as you would other employees, then you shouldn’t have them working at your health store.
If you want your business to flourish, you want to make sure that the rules you have in place apply to everyone, including friends or family, as long as they work for you.
Have a Clear Line of Command
Besides avoiding having family or friends as your employees, it is important to have boundaries and make it clear about who calls the shots as far as your natural health store. When you are thinking about how to open a natural health store, you want to have a clear line of command.
That said, you do not want to micromanage every move that your employees make as that is one way of de-motivating them. Granted, everyone needs to know that you are the boss, but if you micromanage, you are essentially destroying a culture.
You cannot own a business and not want people to call or reach out in any other way. Therefore, you cannot afford to be inaccessible.
Patients may want to get a hold of you to consult about something as simple as the natural painkiller you have in stock, or as complex as IV infusion tubes. If you are not there to answer questions when needed, chances are that existing and potential customers will lose trust in you and your products.
Even as you think about how to open a natural health store, it is important to remember that you cannot handle everything. This is particularly true if your business is constantly growing. Delegate duties as much as you can. If you need to carry out customer support recruitment for staff that will handle customer questions, do it. The same goes for marketing consultants who will help you increase your business’s visibility.
In the end, your focus should be on growing your natural health store and not everything else about it.
It is easy to procrastinate and while no one is giving you a hard time about it, it can be detrimental to your business. This is especially with respect to letting go of employees, whether as a disciplinary measure or simply because they are redundant.
It sounds cold but you need to do what needs to be done at the right time. This also extends to ordering and getting your supplies on time.
Damage Control is Necessary
You are human, so you are bound to make mistakes, and this applies even to your staff. As such, you should never pass the buck. That means that you want to be the kind of business owner that accepts blame and responsibility whenever your customers complain about your services or products.
When such things happen, accepting and trying to salvage the situation may be the only way you get to retain your customers. Endeavor to fix issues and make sure that they do not happen again.
Invest in Customer Care
Before customers get to buy your natural health products, they get to see how you receive and serve them. To that effect, you don’t want to have rude front-office personnel who will not do a good job of welcoming your clients and making them feel that they can rely on your store for all their health supplies.
With great service, customers are likely to keep coming back even if your prices are higher compared to other similar stores. What’s more, they can refer other people to you. Just by smiling and being helpful, you attract and retain valuable customers.
Automation is your Friend
How can you think about how to open a natural health store without considering technology and automation? The world is going digital, and so should your business. Therefore, you want to have a database for your health store as well as other things like the pricing list digitized.
This will also come in handy when it comes to payment methods. You should have a credit card processing machine in case some of your customers want to use that payment mode. With digitization, your staff and your patients get access to an infinite amount of information, which is good for your business.
You Don’t Have to Earn the Most
Sure, you probably opened your natural health store intending to make money. But just because you are the owner, doesn’t mean that you should intentionally enjoy all the profits. This can be damaging to the store.
Pay your staff what they deserve and be sure to reward good behavior, loyalty, and performance. For instance, your well-performing store attendants should be paid accordingly. Allow them to make more money and stay motivated.
That way, they look forward to work days and work with motivation. After all, your business will not thrive without them.
Business is a Competition
Even if you are a good person, you cannot avoid the fact that your competitors want your business to fail so that theirs can thrive. Therefore, you need to decide whether you want to be a step ahead of them, or you will just watch them crush you.
The way the world operates, there will always be winners and losers. You get into business to win, otherwise, you will not survive. Just ensure that the competition tactics you employ will not require you to enlist business law attorneys service.
Work on your Store
Your natural health store has to look good unless you want to be mistaken for a joker. Make sure that it’s well painted with all the amenities you may need, like a washroom and running water. If there are any repairs to be made, do it before launching your store.
If you need roofing services because yours is leaking, go for it as well.
There are health stores, and then there are natural health stores. If you own the latter, you want to implement some things to ensure that it thrives. Remember that you will have competitors in the market, so you need to put your best foot forward.
With all the information in this article, this should be easier.