You've got to spend money to make money


A Florida veterinarian is showing high returns on her "radical" ideas.

During a time when many veterinary practices are pulling out their rainy day funds just to make ends meet, one veterinarian is actually spending money on her practice and it’s paying off.

Dr. Anne Chauvet, DACVIM, of Veterinary Neuro Services in Sarasota, Fla., spent more than $500,000 on an MRI machine last year despite the floundering economy. This year, her business is up 20 percent, she says.

“People value their animals,” she says. “They are very emotional about them. In times of dire straits and difficulty, they are still willing to do for their animals what they would do for their kids.”

Dr. Chauvet admits that it taking on the added debt of the MRI was a big gamble, but the fact that she has taken 480 MRI images in one year proves that it was a good investment. The machine has allowed her to better care for the animals she sees by being more progressive and less invasive, she says.

Dr. Chauvet’s motto, both in life and in practice, is that you get what you give, which is why she encourages other veterinarians to put themselves out there and take a few risks. While the rewards may not come overnight, they will come, she says. Investing in your business is just part of the equation, she says.

“Having a good bedside manner is very important, as is having good client relationships,” she advises. "A lot of times, we depend on volume. We need to spend more time with our clients. They are looking for that extra care, special doctor. Their money is important to them, more so today than ever.”

Dr. Chauvet also recommends being accessible by cell phone and e-mail. It’s something small a veterinarian can do, but when a client needs your help after hours, it is big to them.“My cell phone number is public knowledge,” she adds. “They don’t overuse it. They respect who I am, what I do.”

She also suggests getting involved in the community by volunteering. Dr. Chauvet is active in several area organizations and she tries to use each one as a way to educate the public about animals.

“A lot of vets are a little shy about that,” she says. “For me, personally and professionally, it has only benefited me.”

Dr. Chauvet is the owner of a $1 million practice with six staff members.

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