Making connections

In the third instalment of our special feature find out how you can use professional networks to increase the visibility of your business.

Talking to your customers and keeping up-to-date with the PNA will give you some useful insights, but you can also work to build meaningful relationships with wider primary care organisations and other business professionals to increase referrals and discover service gaps.

One way to do this, according to Ball, is to “deliver the local services that will create communication between primary care organisations”, with key people “contacted regularly to discuss progress and issues”.

Burdon pinpoints local pharmaceutical committees (LPCs) as key to building local relationships as they work closely with commissioners “and promote the interests of contractors to them”, although with the commissioning landscape more complex than ever, he adds that “this requires a coordinated approach”.

For Birchall, the easiest way to do this is to simply “go and meet them”, but he stresses “most importantly have something interesting to say and something useful to offer. Pharmacists do and can so that should not be a problem [so] frankly, imagination is the only real barrier.”

As pharmacy becomes more visible thanks to government support for initiatives such as the Minor Ailments Scheme, Ball suggests that pharmacists can also raise their profiles in the local communities by offering to provide talks to local community groups or schools to “elevate their position within the healthcare teams”.

Are you online? Join us tomorrow as we look at how important it is to have a digital presence.