BIG MYTH: Having a Veterinary degree is enough to make me ‘successful’

Thursday, August 21st, 2014 11:26 pm

BIG MYTH: Having a Veterinary degree is enough to make me ‘successful’.

Once upon a time (back in the 60s, 70s, 80s and 90s, a Vet degree might have been enough – but no longer….

Before we go any further let’s quickly define what ‘success’ actually is. I’m not sure what it is for you, but for me it’s; being able to make the lifestyle choices for my family and myself that I want to be able to make, without having to worry about the money, how to get it or where it’s coming from.

To have Veterinary ‘success’, to effectively work in, run, own and/or manage a Veterinary practice successfully and profitably, you need to understand and address The 5 Keys To Veterinary Success.

These are;

  • Team
  • Leadership / Management
  • Clients
  • Finances / Key Data
  • Programs

EVERYTHING that you need to do to develop a successful Veterinary practice falls under these five areas.

You can’t do it on your own. The Team is there to support you and your job is to support your Team. And it’s critical to your practice success that you help your Team to achieve what they want to from their career and their lives. When you help them achieve this, then they’ll support you to an awesome Veterinary business. There’s an old saying; ‘the more people that you help get what they want, the more people will help you get what you want’.

You need to find the right people, attract them, hire them, train them, motivate them and then retain them.

Put your Team first and foremost and magic will truly happen.

To be truly successful, every practice needs a DEDICATED Leader and a DEDICATED Manager – each with a documented Job Description (to which they are accountable).

Don’t confuse DEDICATED with FULL-TIME….

Put simply;
Leaders – look outwards and are the visionaries guiding their practice into future possibility
Managers – look inwards and ‘herd the cats’. They put in place the systems and process to ensure that the leader’s visioning comes to pass

Some practices owners can be both Leader and Manager – however most cannot and this becomes a significant stumbling block to practice success (financial, personal satisfaction, work-life balance, etc.).

Some people have innate leadership or management skills and capabilities, however most of us do not.

Don’t panic - it’s a falsehood that you MUST be ‘born’ with leadership or management skills. Nearly ALL of us can attain competence and even excellence in both leadership and management by determining to acquire those skills – they are easily learnt and acquired.

You can’t be everything to everyone – but you can and should be everything to a small group of clients.

You need to define your market niche – your ‘core’ or ‘A’ clients. Then attract them and service them like crazy, giving them EVERYTHING that they need to look after their pets or farm stock in the manner that they want to.

You then need to retain them for ‘life’ and have them refer you to their like-minded friends.

It’s not about attracting more ‘unqualified’ clients, it’s all about keeping your ‘A’ grade clients.

Remember; a 5%-10% increase in client retention results in a 50%-100% increase in practice profits.

It’s all about the 80:20 rule. When you really dig deep into this rule, you’ll see and understand that as few as 50 or at the most 100 of your CORE clients give you over half your profit. Focus on those clients and ‘love’ them with your service levels.

Finances / Key Data:
To move forward and improve, practice managers and owners need to track and measure the key data drivers and metrics that measure ‘success’ for them.
Typically, a ‘successful’ practice would measure a mixture of data that allows them to track and measure whatever ‘success’ means to them.

In successful practices this data includes an appropriate mix of;
patient care outcomes,
client satisfaction outcomes
team satisfaction outcomes
practice financial outcome

An ‘unbalanced’ practices that focuses only on one or two of these areas, rarely achieves sustainable, long-term success.

Key Point: Far too many practices focus (almost) exclusively on one of these areas of practice, never or rarely paying attention to the other three parameters.

These practices are doomed to long term mediocrity or perhaps even ‘failure’ – where failure means either; a ‘revolving’ door of staff, poor financial outcomes for the stakeholders, a lower quality of client care or clients who are neither consistently satisfied by or loyal to the practice.

‘Programs’ come as various types and are the final key to a successful Veterinary business. ‘Programs’ may also be called ‘systems’.

Documented programs and systems in which everyone is trained allow the practice to truly leverage great performance from every team member. A successful practice will have literally dozens of programs and systems which are responsible for running the practice and the various departments and areas within the practice.

The programs and systems run the practice and the people, the team run the systems and the programs.

This distinction is what ensures that the practice runs and functions whether the owner is there or not.

This distinction is also what separates the true Veterinary business from just a Veterinary practice.

This distinction is what ultimately results in the Veterinary practices’ independence from the owner and results in the owner’s FREEDOM.

These programs and systems include;
Client based programs – new client attraction, client welcome protocol, lost and lapsed client, client education, client ascension, client retention, etc.
Team based programs – this is the way we do it here, team motivation, team retention, team training, hiring and firing, phone answering, etc.
Systems include – patient and client care systems, hospital maintenance system, financial system, marketing calendar and system, referral system, complaint handling, etc.

It’s a big topic, a big challenge, but it’s not insurmountable. Many, many practices have focused on and overcome these areas and developed and awesome Veterinary business that has given them all the success and the freedom (work-life balance, profitability, lifestyle, retirement), that they are after.

Your challenge is making it happen and you can do this in a number of ways.

You can go it alone and undoubtedly, with the investment of enough of your time and effort you will have some degree of success.

That being said, I’m mindful of Steve Jobs’ philosophy. He said; “The wise person invests a small amount of money to save themselves a whole heap of time and effort. The not so wise person invests a whole heaps of personal time and effort to save themselves a small amount of money.”

Being the wise person you are, therefore, you have two options available to you;

Talk to me about joining my 10 month mentoring program (I pick 5 clients every year with whom to work), during which we will implement The 5 Keys To Veterinary Success (Team, Leadership / Management, Clients, Finances / Key Data & Programs) into your Veterinary practice.

Use a tried, true and tested practice growth program and implement it. The one that I would recommend is the UVP (Ultimate Veterinary Practice Program).

But whatever you do, don’t do NOTHING.

By gaining your Veterinary degree, you achieved HEAPS. That’s put you on the first steps of the ladder to success. Now it’s time to take action and start your journey UP that ladder to success so that ultimately you become truly successful; being able to make the lifestyle choices for your family and yourself that you want to be able to make, without having to worry about the money, how to get it or whee it’s coming from.

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