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An Entrepreneurial Approach
Adam Ferrier
Adopting successful behaviours depends on their ease and your own motivation, says Adam Ferrier, but specific personality factors and actions can assure success.

Adopting successful behaviours depends on their ease and your own motivation, says Adam Ferrier, but specific personality factors and actions can assure success.

As a psychologist, there is one genre of book I really dislike – and that’s ‘self-help’. It’s kind of like those ‘get rich quick’ spruikers – if you’re the kind of person who’s going to be rich, the last thing you’ll attend is a get-rich-quick program. The same with self-help, and with businesses I see a similar thing.

Many business coaches write books or give seminars that say to their flock, “Just do this, just do that, and you’ll develop an entrepreneurial attitude”. However, they have no real understanding of how hard it is to change the habits of a lifetime.

For those of you who were at APP and saw my talk (wow, I had no idea how loudly a pharmacist audience can heckle!), you would have seen that behavioural change is a function of two primary variables: motivation and ease. The more motivated you are to do something and the easier it is to do it, then the more likelihood that behaviour change will occur.

So let’s say you wanted to develop a more entrepreneurial approach to your pharmacy business. How would you do that? Well I’m going to leave the motivation side of this equation alone – who doesn’t want to be more motivated?

How to build entrepreneurial culture


Some of you may be aware of the Big Five Personality Factors – the main variables psychologists use to understand someone’s personality. They are:
• Introversion–Extroversion
• Neuroticism–Stability
• Agreeableness
• Openness to change
• Conscientiousness

Guess which of these five personality variables are most often associated closely with success? The first is easy, it’s conscientiousness. That is, if you don’t work hard and stay dedicated to the task, you won’t succeed. The second, however, is a little more interesting – it’s openness to change.

Successful people are not only open to new ideas and new concepts, but they get a bit of a thrill each time they learn something new.


“Behavioural change is a function of two primary variables – motivation and ease.”

So what actions can we take that are ‘easy’ and trigger our desire to learn new ways of doing business, and get great health outcomes for our customers? Here are three that I’d love you to consider implementing:

1. Talk to the person next door: go next door to whichever businesses surround your pharmacy – a Pancake Parlour, a Foot Locker, or a dentist – it doesn’t matter. Just strike up a conversation with them about their business. Ask them what they do to improve things in their business; which are the good days, and the bad? What tricks have they used to engage their customers – which have worked and which haven’t? Years can go by without residential neighbours talking to each other and I’m sure it’s the same with small businesses – yet they could end up being your greatest ally.

2. Build an ally: think about all the support services at your doorstep, to which you could refer people for better health outcomes. For example, if a customer needs to lose weight, let them know of a 10% discount rate you can give him for the Foot Locker next door. You’ll be helping your customers too.

3. People watch: if actions 1 and 2 were too much, here’s something even easier. Just watch your customers. Mystery shop. Take off your white coat and step out from behind the counter and walk around your shop with them. Imagine what they are buying and why? What was the last night’s sleep like for the parents coming in for children’s cough medicine – it must have been hell, up all night? What else can you offer them or their child to help with their predicament? Filling the script is the most mechanical part of the job – understanding the person who needs the script and why is where you can further assist your patients.


If you’re still reading, you’re interested enough to do this, can I make one final suggestion? Do it right now.

Go next door and have a chat, or follow your customers and try and understand their motivations. Behaviour change is also like trying to solve a murder – if investigations happen straight away, the more chances the murder will get solved; the longer you leave it, the less likelihood that you’ll find the culprit. Do it now.

I would never suggest what I don’t practise myself. The building in which my business is located is a brilliant source of referrals, and we refer others to them too. Proximity is a wonderful motivator to make things happen.