Practice Start Up
Ready to go out on your own?
We’ll Help You Skip the Risks, Fears, Doubts and Sleepless Nights And Actually ENJOY Starting the Veterinary Practice of Your Dreams
You can’t afford to make mistakes. And you won’t, with us to guide you.
Dear Veterinary Students, New Graduates and Associates,
You’ve had the dream for years… A practice of your own where you could finally do things right. A practice without the mistakes you see other vets making. One that lets you do the most for your patients while bringing in an income that lets you (finally) pay off your school loans and start enjoying life.
I understand. Because I dreamed those dreams, too. And even made them come true (despite some scary missteps and a couple of near-death experiences along the way).
So I also know about the worries. There’s just so much to think about. And starting a new practice is always risky – especially in times like these.
If nothing else, the economic meltdown has proved that the old idea that veterinary practices were recession proof simply isn’t true.
I don’t have to tell you that this time around vets are suffering right along with everyone else. You can see it in the shelters that are filling up with pets their owners can’t afford to care for. And you don’t have to be a mind reader to know what’s going to happen when folks have to choose between paying the rent and taking their animals in for check-ups and shots.
Today there’s just no room for rookie mistakes. If you’re going to succeed, you have to hit the ground running.
Been There, Done That, Made it Work
That’s where we come in. I’m Dr. Keith Webb, founder of Veterinary Management Consultants and I’ve help build several million dollar practices from scratch. So I know how it feels to want something so much you can practically taste it – AND how it feels to lie awake every night wondering if you made the right decision about this or that and what’s going to happen if you got it wrong.
Today, I spend most of my time helping veterinarians like you avoid the pitfalls and build practices that make them proud. But, I have to tell you, getting to where I am now was anything but a sure thing.
I wasn’t born with a silver spoon in my mouth and I didn’t show a whole lot of early academic promise. But I did have great parents, and thanks to their example I made it to college and veterinary school.
Then I graduated – with a truly scary amount of student loans, a ton of great clinical information and NO IDEA WHATSOEVER how to build a successful practice.
I felt like I’d been dropped into the middle of a desert without a single road sign to point me in the right direction. And I would have given almost anything for a guide to put me on the right path, show me how to avoid the pitfalls and encourage me along the way.
Instead I put my dreams on hold for eight long years as I took a job as an associate and went to work learning everything I could about business, management, human resources, marketing – you name it.
And then, one day, I finally had a chance to start a practice of my own. Not a very good chance according to my friends and the local drug reps. There were 11 other doctors within a 5 mile radius of the space I wanted to rent - and it was located in an area that was going downhill rapidly.
But I’m stubborn, if nothing else, so I went for it. And, thanks to everything I’d learned, I ate the competition’s lunch and turned that little clinic into a million dollar plus practice in less than three years.
Tougher than it looks
I have to say, though, it wasn’t easy. Heck, if it were, every vet would have his or her own highly successful practice. And no clinic would ever fail.
Even though you probably think you’ve considered every angle and worried about every detail, there are more pitfalls out there than you ever imagined. Just take a look at some of the things you absolutely HAVE TO get right.
- Location, Location, Location. It’s not fair but you have to make one of your most critical choices before you have any real experience running a clinic. (And trust me, the wrong decision can be deadly.) Because the hard truth is that WHERE you open you clinic makes a world of difference. Locate it in the wrong place and you’re doomed to watch it wither. Choose the right site and you’ll be starting with little or no risk. But how do you know? A well done (and carefully interpreted) feasibility study can give you this crucial information. But how do you do one – or get one done? If you want to choose one thing to worry about at 2 AM, choosing a site for your clinic is it.
- Reasonable Resources. Nothing is more likely to doom a new practice than being undercapitalized – yet inexperienced veterinarians routinely think they can build a practice on a shoestring. And, even if you’ve got a clear idea of how much capital you need, finding it – particularly if you’re still saddled with student debt — can be harder and take longer than you thought. (This is particularly true today, when banks seem to have decided that actually lending money to people is downright dangerous.)
- Finding Your Team. Your employees can make or break your practice. But hiring the right people is harder than it looks. How do you find them without spending way too much on ads? And how do you avoid the ones who are a whole lot better at interviewing than actually working? I was surprised by how hard hiring the kind of team I wanted was – and downright shocked to learn how easy it is to get sued if you don’t do hiring and firing absolutely right. I know it’s ironic but after spending years learning everything there was to know about animals, you’ve hit a time when reading PEOPLE is what counts.
- Planning to Win. Getting good people in place is only part of the job. Now you have to make sure they know what’s expected of them. That means you’re going to need well thought out personnel policies that everyone understands. AND you’re going to need to train your new employees to do their jobs so well they ALWAYS provide great care, delight your clients, make your job easier and contribute every single day to your clinic’s bottom line. You need systems, scripts – and management skills you’ve never had to use before – to get it all done. But without great people doing a great job you’ll end up working far too hard and earning far too little.
- Taking on Technology. I’m sure computers are no mystery to you but choosing the right veterinary software, getting it set up and training your people to use it can be a real challenge. This is one more thing you absolutely need to get right from the start or it will slow you down for years to come.
- Managing Money. Keep in mind that when your clinic opens its doors you’re not only its CEO you’re its Chief FINANCAL Officer as well – a job for which you probably have zero preparation. Being the CFO means you’re in charge of things like coming up with a realistic budget that covers expenses, creates reserves and puts profits into your pocket. And, no, it’s pretty much nothing like a household budget (which in my experience most people don’t have anyway). Then there’s inventory management. Keep too little of some things on hand and you risk not being able to treat patients appropriately — and looking VERY foolish in the process. Keep too much and you end up paying for supplies long before you have a chance to use them. And, of course, you also need to know how to set a price schedule that’s appropriate to the demographics of your area – and lets you make a reasonable profit on everything you do or sell.
- Marketing Effectively. Doing a great job doesn’t count if nobody knows you’re there. Which means you need to understand how to market effectively – without breaking the bank. There’s a fair bit involved here – starting with coming up with a Unique Selling Proposition, AKA what makes you different and why people should choose you rather than one of the other vets in town. (Hint: “We’re nice people who take good care of animals” won’t get you very far.) Once you’ve got that, you need to understand what media will work for you – and how to fend off eager media reps who are much more interested in selling space or time than they are in your future. Plus, you need to know how to measure the effectiveness of your marketing, how to determine what you should be spending to get each new client and how to develop a client retention system that keeps folks once they’re on board. Vets who don’t know how to do these things are doomed to constant insecurity.
I know that sounds like a ton of things to worry about but really it’s just the tip of the iceberg. I don’t want to discourage you, but you do need to know that getting from start-up to success is a long and complicated process. And just when you think you’ve got everything under control some new thing – like what to do if a terminated employee threatens to sue you or if one of your patients bites a small child and the owner wants your help – will leap out and bite you.
Make it Easy on Yourself
Can you do it on your own — teach yourself all the very important things you didn’t learn in veterinary school and use them to create the practice of your dreams? Sure. There are a ton of books, CDs and conferences out there on developing a successful practice. (Many totally useless. A few really helpful.)
But, heck, I’m living proof it’s possible.
Whether doing it on your own is the right choice, though, is another thing entirely. Remember I had to defer my dreams for eight long years and spend pretty much all the time I wasn’t working for someone else teaching myself the things I needed to know. Not a great recipe for someone who wants to have a life.
Which is why we’re offering you a better way – a strategy that combines your enthusiasm with our experience — to get you to the successful practice you’ve dreamed of years faster and with a whole lot less stress.
The Guide I Wished I’d Had
Remember how I said I’d have given anything for a guide to get me on the road to a successful practice? Well that’s what we’d like to be for you.
Working together we’ll give you the confidence – and the tools – you need. So you can focus on providing great care and service and enjoy watching your practice grow.
- We’ll help with the tough parts of start up, including getting financing, negotiating a lease and hiring people – like architects, contractors and staff – to create a clinic that’s efficient, comfortable and reflects your high standards.
- You’ll learn all the secrets and strategies my team and I use to create several million dollar practices.
- You’ll have access to all our systems for running and marketing a successful practice – right down to the exact forms, scripts and templates we use.
- We’ll come and help implement all of our systems so you can do what you do best…practice medicine.
- And, we’ll always be there to encourage you and answer questions whenever you need us. All you have to do is call.
Bottom line: You’ll get through the learning curve faster (and with far fewer bruises than I did) and get a real head start on success.
A Select Few
Now, as you can imagine, helping folks start their practices and move quickly to success takes time. So we’re only able to offer our help to a small, select group of eager and talented vets. But, if that describes you – and if you’d like to actually ENJOY setting up your first practice and watching it grow and thrive –you need to act now. Starting a practice should be exciting, not stressful and enjoying success shouldn’t take years.
Just fill out the “Contact Us” form and one of our consultants will get back with you right away.