On the cover of a national newspaper this week was a statistic that only 25% of New Years Resolutions are kept.  I don’t like to bet but I do know how to maximize my odds so I am preparing a list of resolutions. If I only keep 25% of them I will have a better practice in 2010 than I did in 2009. Everything our practice will resolve to do will involve small easily achievable results that can be measured. This way we can know if what we tried to do worked and that we reached our goals.

1. Reduce AR

  • This area of our  practice is a constant struggle. The best remedy is to avoid offering credit so with that in mind I vow that all new clients are COD. We will review all typically good paying clients that are approaching 60 days and advise them that unless they pay immediately they will go on a COD basis. I am going to measure how successful we are by comparing our quarterly and year end AR percentages and compare them to the appropriate period from 2009. Even a little improvement will help our cash flow. This is always a good thing regardless of how well the economy is doing.
2. Reduce Staff Turnover
  • It costs a business so much money to train new employees not to mention the discomfort clients feel when they have to deal with a new voice on the phone. We will review all situations of employees quitting in 2009 and put in place measures to reduce current employees from leaving. We will have a consistent employee evaluation process. We will also do a better job in hiring – the odds of someone leaving a practice are higher when they are not the right person for the job. We are a relatively new business. Like all new businesses we have been figuring out processes as we go along. Now is the time to solidify what we know works and put that into place. The minimal benefit to this is happier staff and customers. Nobody likes the stress of an unhappy employee.
3. Decrease Inventory
  • Next to labor this is the biggest expense an equine practice will occur. Depending on the type of practice one can expect it to be anywhere from 20-30% of total expenses. We are going to prepare quarterly minimum and maximum quantities to have on hand for each item. We can get our supplies overnight so I would like to have 2 weeks supply of most things on hand. No more than 1 month supply on a product that we can sell a lot of at one time. Regumate is a good example of this. We will aim to lower total inventory expenses by 2%. The immediate benefit again will be an improvement in cash flow. Better to have money in the bank then sitting on the pharmacy shelves.
4. Work Less/Spend More Time With Family
  • I am sure every veterinarian would love to make this one work. This is the perfect time of the year to plan for that. Go through the clinic calendar and book your days off now. Usually at this time of year we are less busy and feeling less pressure from our clients. We are basking in the warmth of good times spent with family. Capitalize on the moment and make your plans now. Share them with your family so you they can hold you accountable to your plans later on. Count how many vacation days you took in 2009 and increase them by 10% at least for 2010. This is not a huge amount but it is better than last year. If you can do this you will probably be a happier vet since you will be less burned out. A happy vet most likely will perform better medicine.
So I have 4 resolutions. If I can only  follow through on 25% of them that means I will accomplish 1 of the 4. Regardless of which 1 of the 4 the end result will be more profit for the practice and likely happier staff, vets, and home life.
Does anyone have any resolutions that I did not mention. Leave a comment and share with everyone.
Good Luck and may 2010 be healthy and prosperous.

  1. Mike,

    Small "wins" over time result in big changes in the long term and increases in profitability and life balance issues. Great comments. I plan to hold you accountable for 50% improvement…not just the average 25%

    Bob Magnus

  2. Great suggestions and achievable. To aid identify responsible individuals that will assist or even better become accountable for achieving the success of these resolutions. With the right people helping you will find the journey enjoyable and profitable. Beat the benchmark of 25% with help from your friends and fellow workers!

  3. Enjoyed your thoughts Mike!
    My business reolutions are as follows. 1) Decrease AR-My practice is not and can not afford to be the bank.If clients need extended credit they must go else where.COD after 60 days sounds like a great solution.2)Show clients maximum value- Clients are our best source of marketing.I f we wow them with our service they will surely share with others and return with hopefully there friends!
    Monty McInturff

  4. Great Plan Mike, and you have a team eager to help achieve 100% compliance.

    Measuring new client growth will also be valuable. Presentation of AR terms to clients will be important here-we don't want surprises to new or established clients. This planning stage will help smooth the way!

    Best Wishes for a healthy, happy 2010 to all.

    Patti Priestman

  5. This is a really good post. Must admit that you are amongst the best bloggers I have read. Thanks for posting this informative article.

  6. Just wanted to grant you a shout from the valley of the sun, great information. Much appreciated.

  7. Generally I do not post on blogs, but I would like to say that this post really forced me to do so, Excellent post!

  8. Thank your for display me so fantastic notion as part of your blog. I am really gree with you. Your viewpoint is amazing. In our lives, there’s nothing can beat us.

  9. i have a question for Mike, I am a freshman in high school. I am really interested in the whole vet thing. we have a class called "career class" and this is the career i choose, but i need to know what profit i shoule expect as an equine vet.

    thanks alot :} Brittany Pelesky

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