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What's your financial outcome?

Article

The recession's ripple effect caused gray days. But the sun's still peeking through.

As recession-weary as everyone may be, the economy must be discussed because it's colored much of the past year—and will continue to shape the rest of 2009. Times have been tough for many, but the economic forecast for the pet-care world is only partly cloudy.

"Overall, the veterinary industry isn't as affected as other parts of the economy," says Dr. Karen Felsted, CPA, MS, CVPM, CEO of the National Commission on Veterinary Economic Issues. "But we are affected and there's a wide difference between practices. Some have lost 40 percent of revenue and others are still growing well."

Why the discrepancy? Some practices are at the mercy of uncontrollable factors, such as high local unemployment rates that leave pet owners with thinner wallets. But there are variants that you can control, such as communicating clearly with clients, illustrating the value of your products and services, and implementing a robust reminder system. "If practices were doing this from the start or have seen the light and are doing it now," Felsted says, "they're going to be less affected."

GREG PAPROCKI

The jury is still out on when the recession will end. In the meantime, Dr. Felsted says the best thing to do is put your nose to the grindstone. "Do everything you can to help make the practice more profitable," she says. "Focus on client service and conserving resources, for example." If you're a star employee, you'll be more likely to shine on even in the face of cuts. And you'll be well positioned for promotions and raises when the rainy economic picture clears, the puddles dry, and the practice's skies are sunny.

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