10 business resolutions for 2018

January 22, 2018
Tom McFerson, CPA, ABV

Tom McFerson, CPA, ABV, is partner at the veterinary accounting firm Gatto McFerson in Santa Monica, Calif.

Sure, youve given yourself expectations and goals for the new year, but how many of those apply to your veterinary practice? Here are a few suggestions to chew on.

Photo: Shutterstock.comWe just rang in the new year, surely with some great expectations and well-thought-out resolutions. But when it comes to the betterment of your veterinary practice, where do your expectations and goals lie? Don't worry-with 2018 still in its infancy, there's plenty of time to make some important business resolutions for the coming year.

Challenge yourselves. Shift gears. Zig instead of zag. Try to make 2018 more profitable and productive.

Want some ideas? Here are ten recommendations for making the coming year a great one:

Resolution No. 1: Hold team meetings

At least once a month, you should hold a team meeting. What's on the agenda is almost secondary-just getting your group together to talk about the practice, no matter how minor the issues, will be beneficial and appreciated by everyone involved (yourself included, you'll see!). And if you provide food, all the better (ever heard of the Pizza Principle?).

Resolution No. 2: Create a financial budget

Whether for your business, your family or both, it's always a good idea to put together a financial budget. Analyze your past spending habits and strategize ways to improve them in the future. Trying to stick to the budget is encouraged, but simply going through the process will be educational. Who knew you ate out that much?

Resolution No. 3: Prepare yourself for Uncle Sam

Stay current with your income taxes. Anticipate how they're trending and plan accordingly. Either pay as you go or tuck the money away in a savings account. Rest assured, when it comes time to file your tax return, you'll be happy the money is there.

Resolution No. 4: Perform an insurance checkup

Like many of you, nothing gets me to nod off faster than a discussion about insurance. However, your business, staff and family all depend on you having the proper coverage-and that's something to stay awake for. Analyze your key insurance policies like health, life, disability, business interruption, employment, casualty and workers comp, and determine whether you have a proper balance of benefits versus costs. Helpful hint: Knock back a double espresso first.

Resolution No. 5: Build a slush fund

This sounds nefarious, but it's actually a positive. Try to set aside funds for the unexpected. At one time or another, everyone experiences a financial bump in the road. Having money put aside will help you better handle the unwanted surprise.

Resolution No. 6: Take care of yourself

This seems like a resolution everyone (veterinary and nonveterinary) would have (and break, more often than not), but have you applied it to your practice? A healthy practice owner is a more productive practice owner. Get yourself in better shape this year. Eat healthier, exercise, meditate, get more sleep-whatever it takes to get your body honed and your mind sharp. Clients, colleagues and team members will sense the change and appreciate it.

Resolution No. 7: Count your inventory

One of the biggest mysteries in a veterinary practice? Not knowing how much drugs, supplies, food and products are actually on the shelves. Pick a day to conduct a practice-wide inventory count. The total dollar amount may surprise you.

Resolution No. 8: Acknowledge your top clients

Pick your top 20 clients and thank them. Flowers, gift cards, bottles of wine-the what or how isn't really important. Going through the process and letting those clients know how vital they are to your business is what really counts. Besides, it's the little things that matter.

Resolution No. 9: Consider your endgame

No matter how distant on the horizon retirement is, charting a course to get there should be analyzed every year. Tweaking this plan is more effective 20 years out than only five. Your future self will thank you.

Resolution No. 10: Reward yourself

Reach an anniversary? Hit a goal? Just need a lift? Sometimes rewarding yourself can be the best morale booster of all. Treat yourself this year, and work to make 2018 the best year yet. 

Tom McFerson, CPA, ABV, is partner at the veterinary accounting firm Gatto McFerson in Santa Monica, California.