Managers take over the world

November 29, 2016

Veterinary practice managers are poised to do big things in the futureif they set themselves up for success. We've got insider info to do just that.

Bash Halow, CVPM, LVT, and partner at Halow Tassava Consulting recently spoke at the annual VHMA conference. His talk, “Trends that will shape your business, your job and your career by 2020 and beyond,” pointed to the major role practice managers will play-if they …

1. Understand the internal and external forces that affect the business and the market at-large

What will talented future team members need? Halow believes they'll demand worthwhile benefits and opportunities to feel uniquely good at what they do. Pet owners will need access to affordable payment strategies, and practice owners will have higher expectations for a ‘caring' environment-but they will be hard pressed to afford it.

2. Make successful, confident, proactive business decisions

For Halow this means working from an annual strategic plan to reduce expenses and scanning the horizon for changes in the competition and doing what one can to respond. He recommends staying active in dynamic organizations (CVC, VHMA, AVMA, AAHA) and keeping abreast of how like-minded entrepreneurs are responding to market trends.

3. Grow the business to keep pace with growing talent and increased salary demands

4. Build vertical pathways for themselves and many members of the team

Halow offers up this example: There will be more geriatric dogs and cats under your care, and more owners interested in improving the quality of life of senior pets and pets in general. So what sorts of services will those clients respond to? Alternative medical approaches to pain management (acupuncture, massage, physical therapy, laser therapy)? Advanced senior pet disease screening? Halow says to decide as a practice how you'll be responsive to the needs of future pet owners and then actively recruit the kind of team members you'll need to grow out those verticals.

To break it down:

YES: Your clients have less money. But you will put together payment strategies for them that put great care within reach.

YES: You will have higher expenses. But your leadership skills will have created a team that puts forth its best effort and upholds strong bonds with clients as the ultimate mission.

YES: You will be happy, and so will your team. Happy people are a magnet. Happy people in a business are a business magnet. You know this because you pay attention to your workplace culture.

What if you're like, nah, not into that stuff? Well, get ready to ...

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Fade into the sunset.

According to Halow, waiting for the future to happen to you-and only then reacting to it-will put you and your company in a constant position of catch-up. Choosing to focus on the day-to-day without ever proactively planning for a better future is an abdication of your role. Choosing to coast along as though it is business as usual means that both you and your practice will fade off into the sunset, while hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of business value will spill through your fingers, and you will have donated your market share to your competitors.

Ouch, right? Well, the days of winging it are through (indeed have been for some time). According to Halow, tomorrow's practice managers won't be in training wheels. They will be informed, experienced business leaders proactively responding to market pressures.

So how do you get informed? Check in with us using data from the 2016 dvm360 Future of Veterinary Medicine survey.