Practice Management News and Views from around the World – July 2009

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Review your client database

by Steve Kornfeld and Peter Weinstein DsVM

Once you have a strong marketing message, it’s time to find the right crowd. Let’s now divide and dissect your entire client base into three categories. To make this much more convincing and easy to grasp, we recommend you draw a large triangle on a blank sheet of paper.

Next divide the triangle into three parts by drawing two horizontal lines across it. The first line should cover about 60% of the base of the triangle. The second horizontal line should create a small triangle at the top of the large triangle.

Now write inside the top, small triangle- 10%. In the middle segment write 20% and in the bottom and largest segment, write 70%. Let’s now name these segments. The top one is called: “Tell me and I’ll buy”. The middle segment is, “Convince me and I’ll buy”. The third segment is called: “How much is it?” Let’s now interpret your triangle.

The top segment means: “Dear doctor, I’ll do anything you want me to, just tell me. If you don’t tell me, how am I supposed to know what I need? All I want is to do whatever is necessary to make sure my pet lives a happy long life”.

Can you imagine what the other two segments mean? Think about them for a few days and try to get a sense of what they are.

If you are rearing to find out, all you have to do is visit our website, shoot us an email and tell us you are totally interested to take advantage of direct marketing and have a custom-made program build for you in your practice.

You can click here to visit the Veterinary Success Services website

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UK Small Animal Practice for the period to April 2009

data adapted from MAI consolidated data report



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Create a plan for employee discipline

by Nan Boss DVM

Several years ago I attended a seminar entitled “Employee Discipline and Performance Mistakes.” Afterwards, I wrote up a simple, step-by-step plan for dealing with common employee discipline problems, like tardiness, not following the dress code or standards of conduct, failing to compete tasks or checklists.

It’s simple and straightforward, and best of all it puts the responsibility for improvement onto the employee, not the supervisor.

I like it because it is easy to follow, and it ensures that employees understand what their mistakes are so that they can remedy them. It is not fair to expect your staff to be mindreaders. You need to tell them what they are doing wrong and give them a chance to fix it. This plan assumes you have an office policy manual for your employees that clearly states your rules and procedures.

Discipline shall be dispensed in the following seven-step manner:

  • All employees shall be required to read the office policy manual in its entirety, and sign and date the last page. A copy of this last page should be given to the doctor or practice manager to be placed in the employee’s file. Infractions will be described in the manual and those pages reread, resigned and dated by the employee when infractions occur.
  • The second altercation shall be addressed by a supervisor with an oral reminder. The day, date and nature of the infraction will be documented in the employee’s file. The time and place of the oral reminder, the employee’s explanation or excuse, and response to the reminder about the infraction will also be documented. The Employee must sign the documentation. If he or she refuses to sign, the documentation must be witnessed by a third party. Oral reminders may be repeated as necessary.
  • Any further altercations may lead to a counseling session with a supervisor, who will document the session, and the decision reached by the supervisor and the employee to solve the problem.
  • The employee must sign the document. If the employee disagrees with the supervisor’s write up, he or she may write his or her own. If neither supervisor nor employee will sign the other’s document, a witness must validate and sign both papers.
  • Further infraction will result in a paid decision-making leave. Employee has the choice of whether he or she wishes to remain employed by the veterinary hospital, and if he or she decides to stay must write a written plan to solve the problem.
  • Meeting with supervisor to discuss the written plan. The plan must contain: The decision, How and why they made that decision, An action plan to fix the problem,The employee’s understanding that one more unacceptable but similar infraction within a reasonable time frame will result in self-termination. The time frame will be set by the employer, not the employee.The plan should be signed by both supervisor and employee. Failure to complete a plan is insubordination. The next infraction will result in dismissal.
  • Upon a further infraction within the previously set time frame the employee has made the decision to self-terminate.

Again, the nice thing about this is that if the employee doesn’t follow his or her own action plan they have decided to resign, rather than being fired. It treats employees like adults who are responsible for their own job performance. I hope it works for you, too!

You can click here to visit the DVM360 website

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The London Vet Show, November 6th and 7th 2009


The London Vet Show is a new breed of event focused on the clinical and commercial challenges facing today’s small and companion animal vets.

The event is centred on a major conference featuring clinical sessions programmed by the Royal Veterinary College plus a veterinary business conference stream covers commercial
issues for vets in the current climate. Including marketing, strategy, practice performance, human resources and team motivation, health and safety and regulatory issues.

Overall a compelling two day programme providing an intensive and very cost effective learning opportunity, a major exhibition allowing you to meet selected leading suppliers who can help deliver better clinical solutions to your customers and develop business plus a series of networking and social events to help you catch up with peers and make new contacts.

You can click here for further information about The London Vet Show

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Lunch-Break Webinars – Summer Break

The regular Veterinary Business Briefing Lunch-Break Webinars will enjoy a summer break in July and August.

The next Webinar will be held at 1pm (1300 BST) on Thursday September 3rd.We are planning a topical and exciting topic and I will inform all the Veterinary Business
Briefing subscribers and members by e.mail as soon as the details are to hand.

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Practice Management Software from Canada


Originally designed, developed and tested by veterinarians, HVMS (Hospital and Veterinary Management System) from Business Infusions has emerged as the benchmark software platform for veterinarian and animal care professionals around the world.

Successfully implemented at some of the most respected veterinary hospitals and clinics in North America and elsewhere, HVMS veterinary practice management software
has provided improved efficiencies, increased revenues and higher profits to its user practices.

HVMS combines scheduling, accounting, medical records, invoicing, digital image file management, partner and commission-based tracking, and complete inventory control – all with one common user-friendly interface. HVMS is an enterprise solution, completely customized to each practice and specific needs. HVMS software is available in a number of specialized versions, including HVMS Equine, HVMS Small Animal, HVMS Repro, HVMS Racetrack, and HVMS Barn Management.

You can click here to visit the HVMS website

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The Simplest Business Plan Ever

by Caroline Jordan, MBA

If you’re a self employed professional like I am, you know how tough it is to find any time at all to do any business planning. Doing a full business plan is a must if you’re
planning to seek financing or investors, but most solo professionals don’t need anything that complicated.

Don’t get me wrong, business planning is one of the most important things you need to do to succeed in your one man or woman show. Without planning you’ll drift aimlessly from one crisis to the next and one idea to the next, never really getting anything done.

So, what’s a solo pro to do? Here’s what I do in my own business:

My business plan consists of one page with very little on it. It simply lists the three goals that I must achieve this year. Then, I list a statement for each goal: To achieve Goal #1 I need to….This is followed by two to five activities or action items I need to do to make that happen.

That’s it. That’s the whole plan. The beauty is the simplicity. I simply cannot handle more than that. I don’t have a staff. I don’t have “people”. Everything has to be structured so that I can get it done simply and systematically.

So, let’s say one of my goals is to increase sales by a certain number, like $25,000. I then ask myself, “What do you need to do to make that happen?” Maybe I want to
develop an ebook or add a new service. How many potential or current customers will I need to reach? How much time will I need to develop the book or service? How will I market it?

From those answers, I develop my schedule. What do I need to do monthly, weekly, daily? I break it up into small pieces that take an hour or less. For example, if I decide I need to send out 100 marketing postcards in a month, I break it into 25 cards a week. Then, I put it on my schedule each week, just as I do my appointments with clients.

To keep myself on track, I place my mini plan in front of my keyboard so every morning it’s the first thing I see. I also include a note to myself. It reminds me that “Nothing Else Matters.” I follow it with my company slogan: Get Knowledge. Get Focus. Get Results.

Complex plans take tons of time to develop and many (if not most) end up gathering dust on a shelf. Using a simple plan improves your focus and helps you to achieve great results.

You can click here to visit Caroline Jordans website

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