Practice Management News and Views from around the World – March 2011

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The Yellow Pages Are Dead – Marketing Your Veterinary Practice in the Digital Age


The Internet has burst into life. It’s been around for a while now but it’s only in the past five years that things have really changed dramatically.

What’s been the difference? Two things. Firstly, we’re way past a point where the web was just a geeky thing for spotty tech-heads. The Internet is everywhere.

Secondly (and this is the game changer) — social media has allowed all these online users to band together into huge online communities.

In 1994 it was almost impossible to communicate with someone else unless you had his or her email address. Now you just hop onto your favourite social media site and hook up with one of the millions of other users out there.

It’s this connectedness that businesses should be excited about, or terrified of. Never before has the consumer had so much power and never before have businesses had such an amazing way to reach so many customers for so small a financial outlay.

For once this is a trend and tool that is not beyond the reach of veterinary practices. In fact, such is the trust and interest in what we do, I can think of few other businesses in such a good position to take advantage.

Many vet practices have already set up their Facebook accounts or Twitter pages. Few however have joined the dots to really take advantage of the opportunity.

This book will teach you what you need to do to effectively harness the power of the web to grow your business. And as we’re currently in the midst of a global recession/depression such an advantage can’t come quickly enough.

This eBook, the first of its kind, will show you how to create the type of content (including articles and videos) pet owners want, how to get it in front of them and finally how to convert web visitors into customers who pay to use your real life veterinary services.

Author, Dave Nicol draws from his experiences of being a vet, a business owner and a veteran website editor (having managed no fewer than six commercial
websites in the last decade). In his customarily upfront, plain-spoken and highly practical way he has created an easy read that teaches you everything you need to know about operating an effective website.

After Reading The Yellow Pages Are Dead You Will:

  • Understand why the web is useful to your practice
  • Learn how to create remarkable content for your practice website
  • Harness the power of social media and drive more visitors to your practice website
  • Convert online prospects into paying customers in your clinic.
  • Create an amazing website that is an asset to your practice not an embarrassment.

You can order your copy here and now – just click on the Buy Now link:

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Why Discounting is Hazardous to Your Business

by Stephanie Ward

As a business owner you’ve probably been asked to give a discount. How did that make you feel? Your response to that request is critical to the sustainability of your business as well as to your confidence.

Because after all you’re either worth the price you’re asking or you’re not. No discussion. This may sound harsh but if you don’t believe you are worth it, why do you expect your clients to believe it.

Reasons to stop discounting your pricing:

  • It’s no fun
  • It requires a time and energy you can use elsewhere
  • It creates a standard for other clients
  • You’re not getting paid what you’re worth
  • It can lower confidence in your business

Once you’ve made the decision not discount your prices, it will be much easier for you to simply say this in a friendly and relaxed way if you’re asked. You’re mind is already made up so the answer flows naturally.

If a prospective client is not able, or willing, to pay your prices then they probably aren’t a good fit for your business. Moving on from people who are not a match allows you to create space for clients who are willing and able to purchase from your business.

There will always be someone offering something similar to what your business offers for the absolute lowest price. I hope you don’t aim to be that business.

The key is to focus on the value your services and products deliver, not what they cost. People who truly understand the benefits they will receive when they buy from your business will accept the prices you have set because they understand the value they are going to get.

If negotiating is the norm in your business, there is still a way to be true to the value your business delivers without discounting. First, get clear about the total value of the offering. Then if you choose to, you can reduce the amount you deliver, along with the price, which means you are not discounting.

Another way to avoid discounting when negotiating is to stick to your original price and add a one-time, additional bonus for new clients.

While you’re thinking about eliminating discounting, please consider increasing your prices. Seriously, when is the last time you raised your prices? And when you did, what was the percentage of increase? If it’s been awhile since you raised your prices, it’s probably time.

It’s natural that your expertise expands and deepens over time so why shouldn’t your pricing reflect that. Whether or not you decide to increase your pricing, at least be willing to stand firm on your current pricing and don’t discount.

Think about it, you’ll save time and energy if you stick to your pricing.

And even better, you will feel confident about the value you deliver to your clients (oh yah, and be more profitable).

So make the decision today that discounting your prices is not part of your business philosophy. Focus on the value your business creates for your clients and watch your business grow.

You can click here to visit the website

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VetPol Membership Growing Fast


The owners of Vetpol, an online forum uniting the veterinary community, are pleased to announce that membership is growing fast! “We now have people representing every role in veterinary practice” say Caroline and Jeremy Johnson, “including vets, nurses, receptionists and managers, along with students and suppliers to the profession. They are all engaged on Vetpol where many find it invaluable for networking, sharing resources and keeping abreast of what is going on.”

The latest development adds value by giving Vetpol members access to exclusive discounts on a range of services including training, website development and the latest “must-have” e-book on social media.

Special offers are being added all the time, so if you are a member of the veterinary community and want to see what all the fuss is about, you can click here to find out more and register

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9 ways to identify what motivates you

by Andy Gilbert

Identifying what motivates you can be fun and enjoyable. It requires spending some time thinking about all the things that make you happy and inspire you to take action. The following list of things to do will help you to focus on the things that motivate you.

  • Write down all the things that you enjoy. This is a good start for identifying what motivates you.
  • Ask yourself what you value. This will identify what is important to you and this will help you to find your long-term motivations.
  • Ask yourself if your motivations are pulling you towards a goal or pushing you away from circumstances. For example, there is a difference between being motivated to get fit because you want to compete in a marathon and being motivated to get fit because you feel unhealthy.
  • Ask yourself: If I could choose to do absolutely any one thing with my life, what would it be? Write it down in the middle of a blank piece of paper and brainstorm all the reasons why you want to do that one thing. You will find that this gives you a good idea of what motivates you.
  • Ask your friends what they feel you are motivated by. An objective outside view may identify motivations that you may not have thought of.
  • Recognise that your motivations will change from time to time. Ask yourself what personal motivations have changed.
  • Identify your main motivations with regard to a particular project or task. This is often easier than identifying your general motivations.
  • Think about some of your dreams and ambitions. What are the main motivations behind these?
  • Ask yourself: Are you motivated by internal values or external rewards? Research has shown that people motivated by internal values stay motivated for longer.

Identifying what motivates you can be a liberating experience and give you a clear indication what inspires and drives you.

You can click here to visit the GoMadThinking website

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Vetsure Cover and Care


Total Vet Insurance Services (TVIS) are delighted to announce the launch of a new addition to their range, Vetsure Cover and Care; a pet insurance policy that combines both prevention and cure, allowing owners to budget for both.

“The combination of a preventative health care package with insurance seemed a logical next step” says Ashley Gray, Managing Director of TVIS. “The Cover and Care package gives pet owners access to discounts on a wide range of treatments, including vaccination, neutering and dental work through our Vetsure-affiliated clinics; providing a good deal for the practice and client and helping their pets live longer, healthier, happier lives”

The package is easy to implement through an online portal which allows the practice to check the benefits available to any policy holder at any time.

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Top 10 ways to get free publicity for your business

by Alan Stevens

Here are my top ten ways to get free publicity for your practice

1) Tell people what you do. I know, its obvious isnt it? However, many business people think its impolite to mention their practice/company in an initial conversation. Dont be reticent. Anywhere, anytime you have the opportunity to mention your company, do so.

2) Never miss a networking opportunity. You receive plenty of invitations to social events, seminars, marketing launches etc. They may look pretty dire, and be something you wouldnt be seen dead at. However, what if you were to meet a client who offered you a substantial contract? It would be worth going them wouldnt it? The trouble is, you dont know which event theyll be at. So get your suit, pack your business cards, and go along. You might even enjoy yourself.

3) Write articles, and submit them to websites and journals run by discerning editors. As well as getting a warm glow from helping your fellow professionals, you’re increasing the visibility of your practice and its services.

4) Become an expert in your field. You may have seen reviews of a book by Steven Van Yoder Get Slightly Famous. Its full of handy tips, and boils down to the invaluable maxim that if you sell yourself well, your practice/business will prosper.

5) Think like a reporter. If you get the chance to talk to a reporter, remember that all they really want to do is write/record a brief piece to keep their editor happy. Ask them what angle theyre looking for, and fit your practice/company into the story.

6) Start an ezine. Thats an online newsletter, of course. There are many companies that will allow you to set up a emailing list for free. You can keep in regular contact with customers and prospects, and it will only cost you your time. However, make sure that people opt-in to receiving your newsletter. Sending unsolicited emails or Spam will get you into serious trouble.

7) Give things away. On the face of it, a daft idea. However, once you start providing people with downloadable tip sheets and recommendations, youll find that they come back more often and start paying for your other services.

8) Use your email signature every time you send someone an email, make sure that you include a short signature file, which acts as an advert for you and your practice/business. A few lines will do, with a link to your website, and drawing attention to any special offers.

9) Use feedback from satisfied customers One of the most powerful persuaders is personal recommendation. Whenever you run a course, give out feedback forms (I know, you do that already),and ensure that there is a section for freestyle comments. When you receive glowing references, check with the writer that they are happy for you to use it (95% will say yes), and make full use of it on your website/publicity material. Attribute the quote by name

10) Always thank people in writing. In my view, probably the most important tip of all. Strictly speaking, it may not be free, since it may cost you a stamp. However, the receipt of a handwritten note, in this era of electronic communication, will mark you out as someone who takes time and trouble to say thanks. You’ll be remembered next time theyre looking for your type of service/business.

You can click here to visit the Media Coach website

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