All pharmacy businesses should have a concise 'dashboard' of key performance indicators that fits on no more than one side of A4 paper, advised Avicenna's chairman, and management accountant, Ian Gray.

Pinpointing the correct KPIs for your particular business will then mean that you can see the profit of your organisation 'on one sheet of paper,' he suggested. He was speaking at Avicenna's annual overseas conference in northern Cyprus this week.

'Every business is different,' he emphasised, and pharmacist managers and owners need to understand key factors for theirs. Monitor areas such as debt – although having the right balance of debt can be a good thing for a business, he advised. Smaller firms can react and respond very quickly to changing market environments. 'Be ahead of your changing marketplace.' And as your business grows, you need to delegate, he stressed. 'You must learn to run smarter, not faster,' he said.

Strong management practice – recognising that not everyone makes a good manager and should be promoted and removing under-performing staff are key, he said. 'Most failures in business are caused by management, and few by external events.'

Incentivising staff through a bonus scheme is good practice, but the system should be uncomplicated and easy for staff to see how they are doing. Avicenna head of retail Maz Meghji said that bonus schemes had been used successfully in the group's chain of 22 pharmacies to motivate staff, and this was one contributor to a growth rate of 6 per cent for the business.

Expect interest rates to rise next year, Mr Gray told P3. Pharmacy businesses should make sure that they are prepared for the change and the impact it could have on the repayments on loans.

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