Practice Management News and Views from around the World – November 2010

The Duel


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Some Business Tips from VetPartners

Wellness Plans Increase Client Visits Up to 8 Times a Year

Due to the recession, veterinary practice revenues are down in many locations as are average client transactions. However, practices that offer wellness plans are seeing increased demand for these cash cows. When cash is short, clients are unable to provide all the care recommended for their pets and many practices do not offer charge accounts. Wellness plans — that spread the cost of care over time with automatic deductions from client checking or savings accounts — are filing this gap and enabling clients to afford better care for their pets. Data indicates that clients who subscribe to wellness plans visit the practice more than three times a year, with some returning
as often as eight times a year, while non-plan clients visit the practice only one to two times a year! Find out how client demand for wellness plans has increased dramatically contributing to better patient care, increased practice revenue and higher client satisfaction, from practice owner and veterinary consultant Karl Salzsieder, DVM, JD.

Segmenting Client Base Can Increase Office Visits, Boost Client Retention

With the cost of client acquisition going up, smart practices are boosting client retention efforts. Clients expect reminders for vaccinations or annual exams, but they also want to know that you are thinking about them when they don’t have a scheduled need. Practices that use multiple media throughout the year — letters, postcards, e-mails, voice mails, text messages, etc. — to help clients become more proactive pet owners and spot problems early, are more likely to see these clients for help in diagnosing and treating their pets. In addition, by segmenting the client and patient base, using such variables as breed, age, gender, species and diagnostic codes, practices can use this
information to create specialized campaigns — for example, targeting 7-year-old spayed Golden Retrievers to discuss obesity, or 15-year-old cats to discuss the potential for kidney disease or hyperthyroidism. Practices that haven’t been recording body condition scores and dental grades, should do so for the same purpose. Education is invaluable in helping clients take better care of their pets, make treatment decisions and prevent bigger problems in the long run. Veterinary practice consultant, Peter Weinstein, DVM, MBA, can share more thoughts on how to reach out to clients and keep them coming back.

Boosting Your Individuality Through eNewsletters

Digital newsletters offer a high-impact, low-cost way for veterinary practices to inform current and potential clients about their services. Monthly emails with relevant industry news, tips and trends help to position practice professionals as animal care experts. Sharing spirited information about the unique qualities of staff and the practice helps to build meaningful relationships with clients. What are the different types of e-newsletter software? How does a practice choose the best one for them? What should
practices look for in terms of readership data and how to tell if the e-newsletters are hitting their mark? Find out more from veterinary website designer Kelly Baltzell, MA, of Beyond Indigo Pets.

You can click here to visit the VetPartners website and contact the VetPartnber members highlighted in the report

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What’s happening in small animal practice in the UK

Selected data from the Fort Dodge Index (FDI) Report to June 2010

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Newsletter from Diederik Gelderman

Over the last 3 weeks I’ve spent some time ‘keeping my hand in’ by doing locums. I love seeing the clients, having a chat, helping out patients and doing some surgery. It always has been and always will be my passion!

It’s very different being a locum from owning your own practice or working in just one practice. I see so many differences and I really see the ‘things’ that matter most and the ‘things’ that drive a practice and make it (wildly) successful.

Do you know what it is — these things that make a practice wildly successful?

  • It is the staff and their training.
  • It is how they see themselves
  • It is the practice culture
  • It is how the staff are treated by the practice owner

These are the keys to your success and these things cost you nothing!!

Let me tell you some of my experiences last week;

  • A patient and a client placed into a consulting room in which the consulting room table was still dirty
  • A patient and a client placed into a consulting room and then the floor mopped (not dried mind you) around them — so then we walked around and created mud!
  • Pets not being weighed before admission for a consultation or a surgery
  • Two nurses sitting next to the drug shelves and the label printer and texting on their I-phones whilst I run double appointments
  • Nurses having no idea of the standards of care with respect to when to start senior blood screens or even whether they are necessary
  • There being no hand-over procedure and so one shift has no idea of the patients / cases left to them from the previous shift
  • A Veterinarian telling a client that her Veterinary colleague (in the same practice) didn’t know what they were doing

I saw these types of things every day.

Now– I know that they do not happen in your practice — and I bet you that they do happen ‘down the road’ from you.

These matters ladies and gentlemen, are simple training issues.

None of the practices that I locumed in had staff meetings — until things were so bad everyone needed to be hauled over the coals. And yet all these matters are matters of training and standards of care. These are things that are sorted out in 5 minutes with frank, simple and open communication and conversation. Once this happens and the staff start to feel better about themselves — then the practice will fly!!

By the way — many, many, many studies performed in our Veterinary industry show that practices will never achieve significant profitability until and unless they have staff meetings on a regular (generally 2 weekly) basis.

If you are not as profitable as you’d like to be and if you are not having staff meetings — could there be a link?

You can click here to visit Diederik Geldermans website

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A Quick Poll from the National Commission on Veterinary Economic Issues (NCVEI)

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You can click here to visit the NCVEI website

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Seven Principles for Treating Your Practice Staff Right

by the Exceptional Veterinary Team

As a leader, your job ultimately boils down to influencing people and, in some sense, serving them. At growing companies, problems arise when a heavy workload prevents leaders from spending time with the very people who look to them for inspiration, direction, mentorship, and reward. This often leads to “seagull management” – you know, when a time crazed manager flies in, dumps a whole bunch of information or criticism on his staff, then swoops back to the task at hand. Often the “dump” is no more than an email, making matters worse.

Edward Lawler, a distinguished professor at USC’s Marshall School of Business, defines a “virtuous-spiral organization” as one where both individuals and the organizations that they’re a part of achieve more and more of their goals. Virtuous-spiral relationships come about when an organization values and rewards it’s people, and as a result, they are committed to performing well.

Here are Lawler’s “Seven Principles for Treating People Right and Creating a Virtuous Spiral”

  • Attraction and Retention. Organizations must create a value proposition that defines the type of workplace they want to be so they can attract and retain the right people.
  • Hiring Practices. Organizations must hire people who fit with their values, core competencies, and strategic goals.
  • Training and Development. Organizations must continuously train employees to do their jobs and offer them opportunities to grow and develop.
  • Work Design. Organizations must design work so that it is meaningful for people and provides them with feedback, responsibility, and autonomy.
  • Mission, Strategies, and Goals. Organizations must develop and adhere to a specific organizational mission, with strategies, goals, and values that employees can understand, support, and believe in.
  • Reward Systems. Organizations must devise and implement reward systems that reinforce their design, core values, and strategy.
  • Leadership. Organizations must hire and develop leaders who can create commitment, trust, success, and a motivating work environment. Effective leadership is simultaneously the most complex principle to put into place and the one that holds the others together.

Other key points:

  • To say that effective leadership is critical to having a virtuous spiral is an understatement. The leadership of people at all levels in an organization has an impact on both individual and organizational effectiveness. It determines the type of relationships that people develop with organizations, how motivated they are, how long they stay, and how they treat customers and other employees.
  • A clearly identified leadership style can be a powerful factor in attracting, retaining, and motivating the right employees. Every organization needs its own leadership brand.
  • Given the role it plays in determining success, leadership capability is something organizations need to build on an ongoing basis. A shared leadership approach encourages people throughout the organization to develop leadership skills and to take on leadership roles and responsibilities.
  • Organizations need to manage their supply of leadership talent. The place to start is with the hiring process

You can click here to visit the My Exceptional Team website

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A Marketers Trick to Rev Up your business

by Winston Marsh

Too often business people tell me that they have so much to do they don’t know where to start. Well, that should never be the problem. If you don’t know where to start, just remember the wisdom of my old pal Pareto. It will get you off to a flying start.

For those of you who don’t know, or can’t remember, Pareto was an Italian economist who came up with his most important principle. Idly, sitting in his garden drinking a glass of wine one sunny Roman day, he discovered that 20 percent of the pea pods in his vegetable garden produced 80 percent of the peas. Ruminating on this remarkable fact he discovered that 20 percent of Italians held 80 percent of the national wealth. The more he looked the more he found that this 80/20 relationship existed.

He reckoned, and the natural laws of the universe support it, that around 80 percent of your results will always come from 20 percent of your efforts. You’ve probably heard it referred to as the “80/20 Rule”. Most people know of the rule but amazingly very few have put its power to work in their businesses.

What Pareto tells us is really the power of leveraging. That means identifying the smallest amount of effort that’s needed to produce the biggest result. His fabulous principle can be applied to the balls you need to juggle in your business, no matter what sort of business you are in, to get the best possible results.

The first ball relates to your customers, clients, patients or whatever you call them. Simply, it’s that 80 percent of your business (and profit) that is generated from around 20 percent of them. But here’s the 64-dollar question. Do you know who those profitable 20 percent are precisely? If you do, what are you doing to make them feel special over and above the normal good service that you give the rest of your clients? More importantly, when you have identified them and find some common characteristics what are you going to do to find some more like them?

If you don’t know who this elite 20 percent group are, you can find out by listing your clients in descending order of the revenue they’ve generated in the last year or so. Then start adding down from the top until you’ve got 80 percent of the revenue and by golly there’s that magical top 20 percent. Now that you know them work on them and getting more like them and see the results improve!

The second ball is about the products and services you sell. Guess what? Amazingly again, 80 percent of your profits come from around 20 percent of the products and services you sell. Now you know the drill. List out your sales by product or service in descending order of the revenue generated. Then add down from the top and when you get to 80 percent of the revenue, there’s that magic 20 percent of your products or services that is so important. Now ask yourself the critical question. How do we sell more of these top revenue generators? See the results improve!

You can click here to visit Winston Marsh’s website

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