A Veterinarians Life in an EMBA – The Impact of Year 1

Looking sharp is easy

Looking sharp is easyLooking sharp is easy

 

It was a year ago this week that I started my EMBA journey. During that period we have completed two terms, with one more to go, starting next week. When I reflect back on the year I often think how the experience and education has changed how I deal with my business. Once I get past the horrible anxiety I remember having during the first week I realize that there have been three positive changes in the way I lead and run our business.

Collaboration – When one is studying with gifted people from all walks of life you quickly realize that you are pretty good at a couple of things, but you are much better when work with others with complimentary skills. For example, I love reading data analysis of situations. This probably comes from my veterinary training in that I want proof that a medication or treatment works. Although I find the output of data analysis fascinating, don’t ask me to be the person to mine the data. My Excel skills are much improved since last year, but I am a toddler compared to some of the people in my class that can look at a set of data sources and compile meaningful information from that. Similarly, many of my black and white thinking classmates have a hard time with the abstract concepts in Leadership or Entrepreneurship, since these courses require soft skills. All of us are learning to work in the others world, but we are unlikely going to master those skills that aren’t inherent in a person. That is why complimentary skills will lead to better results. This is similar in the veterinary profession where most equine vets don’t like to admit they can’t do it all, while small animal vets are more collaborative. The later group is more willing to refer to specialists more, and recognize when they are in the deep end, while equine vets are willing to try anything once. As I look at for business opportunities post-EMBA, I am thinking of who would I want to work with that can round out my deficiencies? That thinking was not somewhere I would go a year ago. Until recently, when I had an idea, good or bad, I would pursue it relentlessly until I succeeded, or I crashed and burned. I’m tired of failures and so I’m going to maximize my chances of succeeding by working with excellent people with skills I don’t have.

Veterinary businesses are like any other business….

Discipline – One of my challenges in running our business prior to the EMBA was finishing or continuing what I started. I would get excited about a new idea, and the project, or task, I was working on would languish until I remembered it in the future, or it just dropped off my radar completely. I’m embarrassed about that as I write this, but project management was one of the reasons why I thought I needed a MBA. Over the past year I have appreciated the value of following through on projects I have started in many ways. My co-workers are more motivated and engaged in my projects. Before, they would wonder if my latest idea was going to happen. They would question why they should commit to following through if I wasn’t going to. It had to be very demoralizing to them having their work be discarded or ignored.  This also ties into the benefits of having the discipline to be thorough in communicating with co-workers and clients. Now there are fewer unanswered questions that require follow up emails of phone calls for clarifications. Finally, a key focus of my discipline has been the analysis and review of various financial and key performance indicators in our business. For example, we have prepared and adhered to a monthly budget. If the best predictor of future activity is prior trends I am able to predict with a fair bit of accuracy our yearly financial performance. I am also tracking the activity of our vets and certain categories of medical procedures. If we are measuring things we can respond in a timely manner when performance is not up to expectation. Typically most veterinary business owners review financials or veterinary activity after their accountants have completed the year-end review. By that time it is already 3-4 months into the new year and too late to make any significant changes for that year.  Veterinary businesses are like any other business and if I’m not on top of what we are doing I am unable to respond to any challenges or opportunities until it is too late.

To keep me on track I have adopted a rule that I have no more than 3 ongoing projects ongoing at once. Until I finish 1 of the 3 I don’t start another project. Sometimes the timing of a project needs to be delayed because of outside factors and so I take the project off my top 3 list and return to it when appropriate.

Confidence – My new found appreciation for collaboration and disciplined behaviour have contributed to a new found confidence and calmness in my day to day engagement with co-workers, and management of our veterinary business. Collaboration means that I don’t have to do everything myself. Partners and co-workers with the skills I lack give our business a better chance to succeed. At the same time, the results from a disciplined and through approach to communication, project management and business analysis gives comfort that future plans will work out. It is easier to have confidence about the future of our business based upon being prepared and understanding how all of the pieces of business fit together, rather than crossing my fingers and hoping for the best. Being proactive is more reassuring than being reactive. This doesn’t mean I won’t screw up in the future, but it should be less likely, and costly.

Reflecting back on how I have improved as a business leader I wonder how anything ever got done before. I think a lot of wasted effort was used to get to where we ended up. There were too many two steps forward and one or two steps back instead of steady forward progress. The amount of wasted opportunity and efforts makes me nauseous thinking about it.

Another way to measure my progress is that after a year of the EMBA I can safely say that the expense of the program has paid for itself already. Between money saved, smarter business decisions and improved revenue I have recouped the investment.

Starting next week we will be learning about business on an international scale. At first glance I don’t see how this will impact our very local business, but who knows what can happen. The program has surprised me many times already in what I can apply to our business, so why should this last term be any different?

I’ll keep you posted.

I would live to read your comments, so please make sure you drop a line. Thanks

 

 

 

 

 

New Opportunities for Technicians in an Equine Veterinary Business

techs MPES

The following is an article I wrote for Partners in Practice, the digital veterinary business management magazine sponsored by Merck Animal Health. The article spawned an interesting email discussion between myself and a retired veterinary technician about the limited prospects facing most technicians, regardless if they are registered or not. Unfortunately, there seems to be far more opportunities in companion animal hospitals. This is likely a combination of work flow behind closed doors, and the type of dental and surgical procedures performed in a companion animal hospital. Unless a tech is working for a surgical equine practice there doesn’t seem to be many opportunities for them. It is the rare vet who lets a technician give iv injections, or take x-rays on a farm call. In any case, I thought I would give some of my opinions on other options that are available for technicians in an equine veterinary practice.

As an aside, the photo above is of all of our technicians. We are very fortunate to work with such amazing, dedicated and consistently curious people. Their desire to do more as technicians allows us to involve them even more in the care and treatment of our patients. We are a better business for doing so. Without them our vets couldn’t do their jobs as well as they do.

On with the article.

Every veterinary practice has investments that have not worked out as planned. Have they really made a profit on a gastroscope or PRP machine? Sure, taking a DR xray is convenient and clients love the immediacy of the results, but are the vets taking enough x-rays in a year to justify the leasing and maintenance fees? One of the most underutilized investments in an equine veterinary practice are the veterinary technicians. Unfortunately, the typical scenario for many equine vet technicians is a wasted education and boredom if all they do is hold legs for injections or jog horses.  As a result, there is a high turnover of technicians as they get frustrated by their low wages, and no career advancement.

It doesn’t have to be this way. Many equine veterinary practices are taking their cues from their small animal colleagues and utilizing their technicians for many non-dvm roles by expanding the job descriptions for their technicians. These forward thinking businesses are finding that they have happier and more loyal clients and staff, and they are actually saving money by paying their techs more than they have in the past. Here’s how.

Client Education

Technicians are ideal for educating clients about health care issues during appointments, or as part of a formal client education seminar. While the vet is at the truck preparing treatment medications, or writing the bill, a technician can be explaining treatments or recommended after care instructions. Presentations to clients don’t have to be the sole domain of vets either. Technicians can present on topics like bandaging, nutrition or rehab, for example.

Client Follow Ups

It is the rare client who doesn’t appreciate a follow up call from the veterinary practice inquiring how their horse is doing after a procedure, or answering client questions about a recent appointment. A well-trained tech can make these calls freeing up the vets time for more appointments. If the client asks a medical question beyond the scope of the tech they can arrange a time for a follow up call from the vet. In the meantime the bulk of the interactions between clients and techs will not require further input from a vet.

Social Media

If a tech likes to write or take photographs they can be utilized to supply content for the various social media platforms the vet practice are involved with. Whether it be a blog, or posting to Facebook or Instagram techs are well positioned to take the photo of the healing wound, or the new foal, or write about deworming protocols, or even a behind the scenes look at the role techs play in the practice. What seems mundane to most vets is very interesting to their clients. After all, most horse owners at one time considered becoming a vet. Any information a practice can supply on the activities in a vet practice is always appreciated.

Invoicing

While the vet and tech drive from farm to farm there is often ample time for a technician to be writing up invoices for previous calls. Initially, the vet might need to dictate many of the invoice items, but over time many techs become very familiar with the ways of the vets they are working with and can often prepare an invoice and a basic medical record on their own. The vet may want to add some notes to the medical record, but that takes far less time than creating a complete invoice. An interesting benefit of this is that unlike vets, techs are less likely to offer discounts to clients.

A little extra training for your technicians to expand their roles offers so many advantages to an equine veterinary practice. Clients appreciate the many touch points that a tech can offer, which gives vets have more time to focus on what they do best, diagnosing and treating horses. Clients that feel appreciated are less likely to move to another vet practice and are more compliant with patient care. It’s far easier to keep current clients than replace them. There is another financial benefit since an employee happy in their job is less likely to quit. A rule of thumb is that it costs a years salary to train a new hire and regain the lost knowledge of the departed staff. If a vet practice is replacing disgruntled techs every year how much money are they losing? It’s certainly worth paying existing staff a bit more to help show appreciation.

Veterinary technicians are often an underappreciated opportunity for business growth and cost savings. By expanding technicians roles many veterinary practices are discovering that their vets are busier seeing more horses, clients are happier and techs are more satisfied in their jobs. Who wouldn’t want all of this for their business?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A Veterinarians Life in an EMBA – What Comes Next?

 

 

 

Changed Priorities

 

My EMBA is incredibly time consuming. Last week I lifted my head from the cases and projects they I have been working on and realized that winter is over and it’s all of a sudden really nice outside. If I count the modules we have done I find that our class is just past the midpoint of the program! Summer is almost here, but first I have two more 4-day class modules and 5 more projects before this term is done. Then we have the summer off before we start up again in September. Summer will give us a bit of a breather so that many of my classmates and I will have time wandering what the heck we’re going to do when this is all over.

The intensity of the EMBA is a lot like my workload in vet school; I never seem to get ahead of it and I always wish I could understand a subject just a little better. Vet school had a balance between studies and my personal life, while the EMBA has this, plus the addition of a full time job. Some of my classmates are working 60-80 hours a week at their jobs, while trying to find the time to do their school work and scratch out a couple hours in the week to see their family. All of us are struggling to give attention to work, school and family, yet it seems that many of us, are undergoing some personal changes that are creeping in from the periphery and starting to distract us when we really don’t have the time to deal with it. We all started the program set in our careers, perhaps looking at other options, but not really sure what is out there. Hopefully, the EMBA would give us some skills that would help get us a promotion, or at least help us do our current job better. That was my goal. I wanted to learn  more business skills that would help me run our veterinary businesses better. That was then. And now? Many of my close friends in the program have reverted to their teenage selves as they ask what do I want to do when I grow up (get out of this program)?

How are these changes affecting me? A few months ago I attended the American Association of Equine Practitioners annual convention in Nashville. Usually, I look forward to this for months. I can’t wait to see friends, check out new medical equipment and indulge in CE. Attending the convention this year was a shock to my system and it has only been recently until I have figured out why. I flew to the convention the morning after a 4-day EMBA module in downtown Toronto. This means that I’m staying at a hotel and going to class right smack in the middle of the bustling financial district. I’m wearing a suit and tie and working with driven classmates from a wide variety of industries and businesses. Four days of 8-hour classes,  group work before and after classes and yes, social activities, is draining. But when you are there it is all encompassing and you get into a groove. After the module I went home, repacked my suitcase and flew into Nashville the following morning. I arrived at the convention center and I saw thousands of horse vets wearing the uniform of horses. Depending where they are from in North America this could mean Wranglers and cowboy boots to khakis and polo shirts. I greeted old friends and we started talking about equine veterinary medicine, mutual friends, their own businesses and I’m struggling. Really struggling. What was once so comfortable to me is making me very anxious. I’m having a hard time adjusting from talking about contribution margins, writing a marketing exam and fretting over an upcoming Information Technology project to the easy going relaxed manner of equine vets. Some of them are my closest friends that I have shared the ups and downs of our respective businesses through the recession, and people I have called, or have called me for advice on veterinary cases. What the heck am I doing here?

It wasn’t until about 3 months later, when I was talking to another vet who is also a grad of my EMBA program about the situation, that I realized I was probably having an identity crisis. What the heck? Am I 16 again filled with angst wondering who I was in the world? Not quite, but when I examine the situation I realize that I came into the program with a distinct professional life as a successful veterinarian and businessman. Since the EMBA I have been exposed to so many new business skills and colleagues that appear so different from where I came from. I feel that I am being pulled hard between my current life and one of other professional opportunities. From a predictable and comfortable life with people I admire and trust as my closest friends, I have come to this new land of ever expanding horizons.

I am comforted that many of my EMBA colleagues are feeling the same way. I have had  many conversations with people that are going through what I am. Classmates are seriously contemplating career changes, transferring to other countries or just waiting for a opportunity that feels right. One of my Term 2 workgroup teammates, Sonal, put it perfectly when she described her own questioning as “what will some of us do with all of this, and how can we add value to our lives and those of others?”.  The last part is huge in many of our lives in that until this EMBA at Ivey we have been focused on our careers and businesses and improving our lot in life. Now, like every great education should do, our minds have been opened to opportunities and how the power of our knowledge can do a lot more for ourselves, and the world around us.

I love veterinary medicine. I think it is one of the most honorable professions in the world in that we can help care for those who cannot speak for themselves. Nothing makes me happier than seeing the relief on a horse owners face when I have been able to successfully treat their suffering horse, although, between school and running the business I don’t get to see this enough. As a business owner I’m excited thinking about the positive changes that are happening  to our business because of this education. Yet, I am also chomping at the bit exploring other business opportunities that are now opening up before me. The last time I felt like this was in my final year of vet school. I knew I was going to be a horse vet, yet I knew there was more than that to come. I was right. One year later my wife and I had opened our own vet practice that continues to grow. So what is next? What else is out there beyond running our business with more skill and insight than I did before, or is that enough? Can I use my education to help other vets and the profession, branch into other industries, work with classmates in other businesses, or donate my time to a charity? I never thought when I started the EMBA that I would be facing these decisions. I thought I was done with these career choices years ago. I’m glad I was wrong. What a wonderful position to be in.

I would love to hear your comments so please don’t be shy.

Thanks

 

 

An Effective Accounts Receivable System for Equine Veterinarians

 

will work for free

We can all agree that equine veterinary practice is very hard work. What makes it even tougher after the long hours, fractious horses, challenging cases, and miles on the road, is when we don’t get paid for our services. Despite this, many equine vets resist implementing an accounts receivable strategy. Whether it is because we are afraid of losing clients or a lack of appreciation of the value of our services, we hate asking for money. Our excuse is, “that’s just the way equine practice has always been, and no horse owning clients will ever pay at time of service”. At the same time, we are expected to pay our bills within 30 days and yet most of our clients take 60 days or more to pay us. What happens when that gap gets so wide? We have to borrow money from the bank so we can pay our bills. Something is wrong with that picture.

3 years ago our practice was finding that it was taking us over 60 days on average to collect from our clients. We pride ourselves on paying our bills on time so we were in a position of having to use whatever profits we had or borrow from the bank to pay our bills because our clients had not paid us. We had to do something.

We instituted a simple to follow, but very effective system, that has resulted in the majority of clients paying at time of service, while a few remaining excellent clients retain the privilege of paying within 30 days. Here is how we did it:

Average Days AR

This is the formula we used to determine that our average days AR was over 60 days!!

It tells us on average how long it takes to collect payment on the services we sell. The formula we use is

accounts receivable total.

(sales for previous year/365

Ideally we would like this number to be less that 30 since we have to pay our supplier bills in 30 days. We want to get paid before our bills are due. The closer to zero the better.

Client Categories

Once we had developed this metric, we split our clients into three groups: new clients, chronically late payers, and excellent clients who always paid within 30 days. We realized that the best way to avoid AR problems was to not let customers pay on credit. With that in mind, we developed a policy that all new clients were to pay at time of service, with no exception. Our customer service receptionists would email or fax a new client form to every new client that detailed our credit policy. It asked the new client to give us a credit card to keep on file and to sign their agreement to the policy. 99% of all new clients did this without batting an eye. Those who refused always had an excuse like “I don’t have a credit card”. Our attitude was, if Visa or Mastercard won’t offer you credit, why should we? We wouldn’t say this of course, but we told these people that our vets would expect to be paid with a cheque or cash at the appointment. Right away we are on the right track to reduce our average days AR by getting paid at the time of service.

The slow payers were sent a letter informing them of the new policy, and that because they were historically late on their accounts we now expected them to pay at time of service. We enclosed our credit policy and asked for a credit card on file and a signed acceptance of our new policy. I made sure to be at the office for a few days after sending these letters out expecting a huge backlash from certain clients. Was I every surprised when we didn’t get a single phone call! Well we thought, wait until we call them for a dentistry appointment and ask for a credit card for the first time. Not a peep!

The last group were the great clients. We also sent them a letter explaining our new policy, but let them know that since they have always been reliable we weren’t going to insult them by expecting them to pay at the time of service. However, if they strayed even once past 45 days they would automatically become a COD client. Again, not a whimper from anyone about our new terms

The end result was that we did not receive one client complaint or threat to move to another practice, and at the end of the year we actually had an increase in both sales and new clients. We may have quietly lost a few who did not agree with our new policy, but it appears they were ones we could stand to lose and they were quickly replaced by those who were willing to pay for veterinary services.

Conclusion

It has been 3 years since we instituted our new credit terms and there have been a few things we learned along the way.

  • We must be diligent with the policy. Once we slack off even a little bit we see our Ave Days AR creep up a little bit.
  • If the vets are paid on production, only pay commission on the clients invoices that have paid. This way vets won’t work for just anyone to increase their sales, while at the same time the office must be vigilant about not sending them to work on bad paying clients. Not all practice management softwares can run a report that gives you this information, so you may want to investigate your own software system to see if you can benefit from this feature.
  • Detail what the method of payment will be for every appointment on a day sheet for each vet. This lets the vet know whether the clients will have a credit card on file, or will be paying by cheque cheque or they are a client that is allowed credit terms.
  • Have a very safe system to store credit card information. Most practice software systems can do this. Some veterinarians have had good luck using smartphone apps like Square, which allows you to swipe a credit card using your smartphone. In this manner, a veterinarian can take a payment at the appointment even when on the road.

Of course with every system there are exceptions to the rule. For example, this system can be challenging to implement in a racetrack or breeding practice. The business model of those types of practice depend on numerous part-owners, and trainers that attempt to control the process. At the same time, our clientele has many absent owners in show horse barns and boarding stables but we have not had an issue with acceptance of our system.

Before we instituted our new AR system our average days AR was in the 60 day range. It was taking us twice as long to collect our money as it was to pay our bills. Now we are less than 30 days and have been for 3 years. Our cash flow is much better because money owed to us is acutally in our hands, and not in the pockets of our clients.  Our vets are much happier knowing they are working for clients that are paying when they are supposed to. The customer service representatives spend most of their time making appointments instead of chasing after money. The main thing is that we haven’t a lost a client because of our credit policy, except those few who likely wouldn’t want to pay anyhow.

 

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Tales of a Veterinarian in an EMBA: If I Survived Biochem can I Learn Analytics?

As I approach the last module for the 1st term of my EMBA I have been reflecting on what has been the most challenging part of the program. At the same time I have been comparing what I thought would be difficult to what the reality has been.

As a veterinarian I have been fortunate that I have some  advantages dealing with the program. Long days studying are the norm in vet school, and so are the multiple exams/ assignments that are due within a couple days of each other. The other advantage I have is that as a veterinarian I am trained to exam situations diagnostically. Fortunately, this is helpful when reading a case analysis of a company – what is the history, what are the symptoms, what do the financials (blood test results) tell us, what are the options to fix the problem and what is the prognosis? A business case is very similar to a presenting patient. At the same time I don’t know if I could have been any more pathetic working on Excel spreadsheets when I started.  All of my classmates came in with their own strengths and weaknesses and it has been interesting to see how we are changing.

When I came into the program Analytics and, to a lesser degree, Managerial Accounting terrified me. I actually had sleepless nights before the course worrying about these courses. Leadership, Marketing and Information Systems seemed to be within my comfort range. What I found about Analytics was that it is very much like the Organic Chemistry, Biochemistry and Physics that I took in my Pre-Vet courses; there is only 1 answer and results are directionally related to study effort. It is black and white. I’m not saying it is easy but there are formulas and principles that can be learned and applied. The hard part is looking at data and wondering what story it can tell about a business.

Managerial Accounting and Information Systems have elements of absolutism paired with intangibles that require many of the skills we learned in Leadership for a successful outcome. I found that when we look at businesses in trouble in this course their financials tell a story that require leadership skills to influence organizational, employee motivation and behaviour. Hmm, seems like there may even be some marketing involved.

Information Systems was an eye opener as well, since like Accounting, it is a mix of data, technology, organizational behaviour mixed with leadership skills so that implementation of an It project will be successful.

Marketing blew me away. I thought I had a pretty good handle on the subject, but we dealt with areas like supply chain partners, pricing and business models that have opened my eyes to how marketing is involved in so many layers within a business. We did more accounting in Marketing than we did in the Accounting course! We actually had to prove that the marketing efforts for a business had to make money for the company! Facebook Page Likes are not enough!

Leadership is the course that I went into feeling pretty confident about. I have studied a lot of leadership for my business and some of the best CE I have done was with this subject.  Surprisingly, It has been the most difficult course, because  one assignment required us to use ourselves as the patient and work with key co-workers and classmates to perform a soul searching and sometimes gut wrenching self analysis. There is no black and white when you examine why you deal with situations and people in a certain way. There is no formula to figure out the profit and loss of a person. You just know there are some areas that seem to work pretty good and in another areas, not so much? We all know the saying be the person your dog thinks you are? Well, if I had a dog and it saw how I dealt with certain things it would probably run away. I want to write about this course more in another blog, because I see a failing in leadership throughout our profession on so many levels. Let’s not feel picked upon though, since leadership is lacking in pretty well every industry.

What the courses have done so far is give me a solid background for what comes next. I certainly look at my business differently than I did 4 months ago, I now look at it as an organization with different elements that are easily influenced by the activities of each other. If I don’t have the finances right it means I need to do some data analysis to find out where the shortfalls are coming from. If my staff is not engaged with what we are trying to do it doesn’t matter how great our vets are because people will be less likely to use us, and if we can’t use marketing to improve our financial position why are we doing it? Here is a teaser on that. My Analytics group just completed an analysis of what variables contribute to a Facebook post that has extensive reach and engagement. Stay tuned because I can’t give the results until I submit the paper and get it assessed. This will be another blog too.

If I had to summarize how I have changed approaching the last module of term 1 is that I now analyze situations in greater detail and use all the information that is supplied to come up with a solution or a decision. The other big difference is the questions I now ask about a situation to better understand it. I have a bigger toolbox of knowledge and skills to help me. It is no different than the quality of questions and diagnostic abilities of a veterinarian with training and experience.

I have finished 4 modules of 15. Right now the Term 3 students are in India for their international trip. That will be my class in 12 months. What will be my perspective on things then? How will I run my veterinary business in a years time?

I can’t wait to find out.

P.S. I’m planning to write over the next few weeks a bit more on the specific courses I took this term and how I have applied what I learned to my business. If there is anything in particular you would like to know make sure you leave a comment. Thanks

Why Veterinarians Struggle with Social Media

Elephant PaintingWe have worked with several veterinary practices with our consulting business, Digital Pulse Consulting, over the past 4 years on social media and we have come to realize that the main obstacles to the successful implementation of a veterinary social media presence are……..veterinarians.

Time and time again when we look at veterinary businesses that can’t seem to get it online the underlying factor are the veterinarians that either own the hospital or those working for it. There are 3 reasons why veterinarians can fail at social media. One of the 3 is easy to deal with but when 2 or 3 are at play it is a significant challenge.

Veterinarians are too old

Not all vets are too old, but recent AVMA figures tell us that 32% of the veterinary workforce is over the age of 55. When we look at practice owners in North America the majority are middle age or older and they are men. The simple truth is that older guys don’t get social media. I should know because I am one of them. When Facebook first came entered the mainstream I had to force myself to use it since I could see it was going to be a significant communication channel. I’m not a psychologist so I don’t know why that is but there is a lot of surveys that show that woman are more likely to use social media than men, and that older men are less likely to use it.

The challenge then is if an older male veterinary practice owner doesn’t sees the value of social media in their life it is harder for them to advocate the use of it in their business. It is getting easier to get buy in now from these older vets, since like it or not, social media is here to stay and they are starting to use it.

Veterinarians are too busy

Veterinarians are busy. True.  And the longer they are in practice the busier they are. I don’t understand this argument from vets because they often have support staff that answers the phone or assists with procedures so why should social media be any different. One of my favorite veterinary groups to present to are technicians since they see how they can be part of the process.

This doesn’t mean that a practice owner should hand over all social media responsibilities to the youngest person on staff. This person running the social media efforts for a business is the one responsible for presenting and managing it’s image and reputation. The practice owner has to make sure what is posted on Facebook or Twitter is in line with the goals of the business. More on this next week.

Veterinarians are scientists, not artists.

Social media scares many vets because there is so much uncertainty involved with it. Vets rarely improvise during a procedure. You won’t see them try a new anesthetic protocol on a whim, yet so much of the fun and success we see with social media is trying new things. Lets also not forget the uncertainty that is inherent in interacting with people on line. Bad things rarely happen, but if your frame of reference is the consequences of a procedure or operation gone wrong you tend to be a little shy about jumping into the unknown.

All is not lost for veterinarians though. As I mentioned, they are starting to use it more and more, and those who want a successful client list will learn to love it. I am seeing less and less of the cross-armed bored, sometimes hostile face of the older vet looking at me as if I’m from Mars. When I see this my inner voice wants to say “how do you like being a dinosaur?’ or “do you still use a rotary dial phone?”, but I realize change is hard for some people and my job is to get these resistors to get on board. Nothing is more satisfying than meeting up with a vet who was dead set against Facebook telling me that they are now having a blast with it.

What kind of pushback are you getting in your veterinary business about social media?

Is it just from vets or are others digging in their heels?

What do you do to get them on board?

Let us know in the comment section. Thanks

Photo courtesy of http://www.ramonaspainting.com

Elephant Painting