When I decided I wanted to be a veterinarian, many moons ago, I never really thought about owning my own practice (or two). In veterinary school they taught us a ton about all the different species of animals, but there was never any mention of how to run a business. Hey, we all just wanted to help animals be healthy.
So, here I am, 27 years later, trying to run a business. It was easy being a practice owner at first, because I was a minority partner and my partner handled all the business aspects of the practice. When I bought the entire practice in 2007, I had no clue what I was doing. I just paid the bills and tried to keep the staff and clients happy, having no idea there were so many government agencies, insurances of twenty different types, rules and regulations to follow, etc, etc, etc. By 2008, I realized I had no clue what I was doing from a business standpoint. Rude awakening.
As luck would have it, I was approached by a management consultant (do these guys have some inside track that tells them who needs help or do they just get lucky?). I was so shell-shocked at all the redtape involved with running the business, I figured I had better hire them. We still use the same consultants and they have helped us over lots of hurdles. I discovered I needed a new accountant, as well, when I found out how many different taxes and fees have to be paid to different governmental agencies. It sure is better to plan ahead than to be hit with a big bill and no way to take care of it.
So, two weekends ago, I decided to take Kathy (my Office Manager) to hear another business manager speak about running the perfect practice. We are always trying to improve our service and hoped he would have some new explosive piece of advice for us. Sadly, he didn’t have anything new that our first consultants had not already taught us. It was more a sales pitch for his incredibly expensive training in pain management for chiropractors. Now I see why he’s worth millions – charge people a ton of money to sit through lectures and follow that with another ton of money to learn his techniques through a ten-course series, each costing thousands, followed by advanced courses for thousands more. Unfortunately, these kinds of seminars occur way too often. Sort of reminded me of listening to a time share pitch (and how many of us got sucked into those?).
Anyway, what I did learn, is that our most important asset is our clients. We love our clients and want to take incredible care of them, and their pets. I am going to make a huge effort to really offer stellar service and the first thing we are going to tackle is waiting times. I realize everyone has too much to do and can’t afford to spend hours in our office. So next time you have to wait, let me know. Help us fix anything that bothers you. Help us to offer better service.
And, yes, we do want you to send your friends with their pets. Help us turn them on to a different kind of veterinary medicine, where it’s more about good food and good health, and less about pills and vaccinations and chemicals.
- Dr. Judy Morgan, DVM, Owner and Head Veterinarian at Clayton/Churchtown Vet