Hire a consultant to help your practice thrive, study says


You're used to handling most aspects of running your veterinary hospital yourself. But sometimes it's best to ask for help.

As a veterinary practice owner, you’re more than ready to tackle the toughest medical problems your patients face. But when it comes to the business aspect of veterinary medicine, you might feel a little bit lost. And that’s OK as long as you know when to ask for help. A new study from the University of Cincinnati shows that if small business owners want to avoid costly mistakes, it pays to consult with others. Entrepreneur Jeremy Woods, a doctoral student at UC’s College of Business, conducted the research.

Specifically, Woods is researching “escalation of commitment,” a phenomenon where business owners justify increased investment in a course of action based on the cumulative prior investment, even if the cumulative cost of continuing with the original course of action outweighs the expected benefits. In other words, Woods says, small business owners continue to pursue failing ventures simply to prove that they were right. Sound at all familiar? Most business owners have experienced the “I’m going to make this work” feeling, but sometimes the best decision is to walk away—an action that doesn’t come easy for driven and determined entrepreneurs.

Fortunately, according to Woods’ research, the escalation of commitment phenomenon can be avoided by systematically seeking the input of respected colleagues. He says that consulting with outside advisors can bring more information and fresh perspectives into the decision-making process and convince you to pursue alternative options. Woods surveyed more than 1,200 start-up business owners across the country and discovered a significant correlation between consulting with outside advisors and achieving revenues sooner.

Even if your veterinary practice is doing well financially, you could always do better. Hiring a consultant might be the key to taking that next step.

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