Is It Hard To Set Up A Veterinary Practice? Not Really, Insiders Say
Gaining veterinary qualifications that let you practise is difficult. But actually setting up a practice is surprisingly easy. Thousands of people have already done it, and they’ve already made all of the mistakes that can be made. All you need to do is follow a process that avoids them.
In this post, we take a look at some advice for starting your own veterinary practice. It’s not as difficult as many people imagine.
Get Comfortable As A Practitioner First
Before you launch headlong into your own business, it’s a good idea to get comfortable as a practitioner first. You want to master the basic skills of being a vet before you take on a big project, like setting up your own practice.
Remember, education can only teach you so much. The real learning comes on the job in the form of the animals that you help every day. Make sure that you find your stride first before you branch out.
Learn Business Basics
Veterinary clinics need to be run like businesses. If you don’t apply basic commercial principles, you’ll find yourself losing money and your practice will become unsustainable.
You don’t have to go to business school or complete an MBA to learn the skills you need, but it does help to read a few books on the topic. Understanding the basics, such as profit and loss, marketing, and employing staff can help a great deal and enable you to avoid making mistakes.
Get Your Financial Plan In Order
Setting up a veterinary clinic costs a lot of money upfront. You have to rent out a premises (or buy one), fit it out with veterinary equipment, and then pay staff. Even if customers come through the door in droves from day one, you’ll still be saddled with massive debt.
For these reasons, a financial plan is imperative. You need to work out how much you need to borrow, and how much cash you will have in the bank at any point in the future. Make sure that you map out your cash flow for at least the first 18 months. This way, you can see in advance whether you’re going to face a cash crunch or not.
Develop Your Marketing Strategy
Whether you like it or not, veterinary clinics require marketing strategies. You need an approach that will differentiate you from other practitioners in your area and expose you to your target audience.
If you have no idea how to do this, don’t worry. You don’t have to go and read a bunch of books. Instead, find a marketing agency that specialises in supporting veterinary clinics.
Hire Your Team
The final step is to hire your team. Many first-time clinics make the mistake of employing too few people. They think that they can get by on a vet assistant and a receptionist.
That’s not true, though. What if the assistant wants a day off? What if the receptionist needs to go on vacation or gets sick?
Make sure that you hire enough people to provide customers with a consistent service throughout the year.