I am guessing that it would not be news to you that many veterinary practice owners are struggling. Yes, there are definitely practices out there doing well, but it is not true of all of them. In the last few years, I have seen one veterinarian lose his practice and know of a couple of others in our area that are really struggling even though we are located in one of the best areas of the United States to live and to own a business.
I do not believe that these practice owners should to be in the position they are in, but I have noticed some commonalities with the struggling veterinarians who I know.
The biggest one is that they don’t have a strong support system in place.
I am not talking about people who are working in their hospital instead what I mean is they do not have a group of colleagues who they can talk to about their struggles and challenges. We are only lying to ourselves if we believe our struggles are unique to us. We all have many of the same issues going on, yet instead of being vulnerable and open, these people choose to shut down, blame others and basically bury their head in the sand.
I honestly, think there was a time that you could as the practice owner get away with this type of behavior- you certainly were in survival mode rather than thriving but it was still sustainable. Unfortunately, times are changing and our profession is becoming more competitive and saturated, which means it is more challenging than ever to run a profitable animal hospital.
The second thing I see is these veterinarians are scared to change.
Even though the situations they are in are clearly not working, they either don’t take the time to step back and gain perspective or they are too overwhelmed to even know were to begin so instead they do nothing. This will not work.
One of the best things we do with CatalystVETS is have community groups. These groups consist of 4-5 veterinarians who commit to meeting monthly in order to better our practices and ourselves. It is incredible how much we learn from each other and we also realize that “I am not the only one struggling with this issue.”
These community groups allow participants to have wise counsel and to have accountability we all need in order to get things done.
Do you have wise counsel? Do you have a group of trusted colleagues who you allow yourself to be vulnerable with- if not, then why not? Do you think you are too good for that? Do you think you must have all the answers?
What I can tell you without a doubt is that one of us is never going to be smarter than all of us and it is time for us small business practice owners to start working together rather than trying to compete.
Are you interested in joining or starting a CatalystVETS community group? If so let us know and we can help you get one started!