Canadian Veterinarians are well-primed to care for the health of their patients.
It’s taking care of business that seems the higher hurdle. With competition elbowing in and clients demanding ever more value for less money, it’s tough to stay on top and keep a practice growing. Taking care of business and being a good vet can put you on a relentless treadmill that takes the fun out of being a Veterinarian. You might wonder why you didn’t take a business degree after your DVM.
If you feel this way, you’re not alone! I’ve conducted in-depth studies of 500 Canadian Veterinarian practices over the last nineteen years. And although people and situations vary greatly, there is one common theme: vets have put a lot of time and money into getting trained to treat their patients clinically, but relatively little into other important aspects of vet practice.
Perhaps like many of your colleagues, you feel much more comfortable in a lab coat than a suit.
Running a practice means wearing a dizzying number of hats. You must be boss, human resources department, salesman, financial wizard, and marketer – all on top of being a good vet!
The key to a successful practice is getting trained to manage all of these jobs so that they become as rewarding as the clinical work. Making all aspects of your practice work for you will bring you many rewards, including the financial reward of higher practice income.
Consider this … What kind of a boss are you? Are you a good leader and an effective executive? Do you think you are too nice or too tough in managing your practice? Do you find yourself doing things you know you should have delegated? Do you hold staff meetings that generate increased productivity?
What about your personnel management skills? Are you hiring the right staff for the job?
Studies show it costs an average of $11,000 when you hire and train the wrong person.
Do your front desk staff greet clients warmly and courteously? Do they know how to handle the “shoppers” who call to ask about your services? (Studies also show that every time someone calls in but doesn’t come in, you lose an average of $1,500.)
How good are you at sales? Do you have trouble communicating treatment plans or getting clients to accept the proposed treatment? Do you have high-tech equipment gathering dust because you don’t know how to incorporate it into your practice?
How often do you get referrals? How many new patients are you getting?
How about a practice newsletter and a marketing plan designed to cultivate goodwill and feed your practice?
What about the financial side of the practice? Do bills run up out of control? Has your Accounts Receivable balance gone sky-high? How high is your overhead?
Any one of these questions can have as much impact on your bottom line as the treatment you provide your patients. Here is a real-life example that illustrates the growth that takes place when management skills are introduced into a veterinary practice:
A Veterinarian approached us in 1999 with concerns about his practice, working all hours of the day and evening, getting personally tired and run down, staff driving the Vet crazy, and of course, not enough net at the end of the day to justify all the hours of work and effort.
We met and analyzed the situation and found areas that could be fine-tuned and a plan was put in place that would result in an increase in productivity and income.
The positive side of the practice, when we started working together, was that the Vet had an excellent reputation in the area and the visibility of his practice was terrific.
…it was necessary to replace a few of the staff in order to get the right team players…
In the first phase of working with this practice, it was necessary to replace a few of the staff in order to get the right team players, and then organizing the staffing so that the job loads were in balance. This improved the Vet’s productivity dramatically. The reminder system was revamped as one part of the improved internal marketing.
Next, we trained the Veterinarian on managing by statistics which taught him how to track his statistics, know which ones to track, and know what to do to improve them. He learned when to panic, and when not to. This is a time saver and stress reducer every time.
The result of working with this practice was a happier Vet, clients better serviced, a great team with excellent morale, and a major increase in the Vet’s net income of about $15,000 per month
All in a day’s work for us!
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