I am writing this week’s update while up in the air flying from LA to Boston. ✈️ I will be attending a meeting made up of independent veterinary practice owners from all across the US for a group called Veterinary Management Group.
Probably only 3 short years ago, I knew little to nothing about how to run the business side of Veterinary medicine. 🤯 I am grateful my passion for veterinary medicine led me to the path of practice ownership and in doing this, I discovered so much more about veterinary medicine. ☺️
Really, in essence, to be able to provide good care and medicine, a well-managed practice and support structure is essential. 🐾
And now, more than ever, my heart is with all the independent practices that are trying to compete with the ever-growing, ever-consuming culture of large corporate companies.
I have worked in both settings – my first job is with VCA (now owned by the Mars company) for 7 years, then moved on to an independent veterinary hospital. While I think there remain management challenges in both settings, the disconnect in a corporate setting from the hospital level to the overarching management and decision-making powers-to-be is real and scary. I think that’s how it was before and still remains today.
If you are ever interested in this side of the story – there is an excellent podcast here: Do you know who owns your vet? https://freakonomics.com/podcast/do-you-know-who-owns-your-vet/
It’s a fairly unbiased view dissecting the differences in veterinary practices that are owned by large corporations vs. independent owners.
At the end of the day, I think this is the heart of the matter 💟 – Independent practices directly support the people who work there – the faces you see every day, the team you talk to, and the individuals who are providing care hands-on with the pets. 💜 I think independent practices are much quicker to adapt, innovate, listen, and address changing needs and concerns of our clients.
The challenge as small business owners is to work with the resources we have, without the comfort of knowing there are large reserves or cushions to back us up. It is hard to negotiate for lower prices when it comes to lab test prices as well as supplies and products. It is also quite a challenge to allot time to both continue to practice at the highest level of medical care possible and perform administrative and management duties.
This brings me back to the meeting this weekend. Veterinary Management Group was formed to allow independent practice owners to come together so that we can learn and grow from each other’s unique experiences and perspectives, and form a larger collective voice and power to influence changes and trends.
It’s my first meeting with this group, I am excited about the possibilities. Because all of us were veterinarians first, who started this for the love of the animals. I think my 3-year-old self, who dreamed of being an animal doctor, would be proud of who I am and what I am trying to do today. 🦄
And I am, always, full of gratitude to you. Who supports us everyday. ❤️
Dr. Lily Chen