Vet Business

Equine Veterinary Business is Changing

Equine Veterinary Business is changing. I’m not talking about the industry, but rather the blog. One of the most profound things I have learned in business is that no business sector is truly unique and that there are lessons to be learned from other industries.  The light went on for me about this while I was attending the Equine Business Management Strategies Course a few years ago. One of the presenters challenged us to identify business challenges we had in equine vet practice, and to look at other industries to see if we could find similar issues and, better yet, solutions to these challenges. Until then, I thought, like many equine vets do, that our business was unique and that we were the only ones to face the challenges we do. My opinion on that changed forever about 15 minutes later. Our group identified seasonality as a concern in equine vet practice. Our business is in the North, so we are busy 3 seasons of the year, and at that time we died during the winter. When we looked at other industries we, indeed, found  businesses facing similar situations. Better yet, we also were able to find ideas for solutions to these challenges.  For example, Bombardier, used to only manufacture Ski-Dos. That was great for the winter but what could they sell in the summer? That business challenge led to the creation of the Sea-Doo. Anyone who spends time on a lake in the summer now yearns for the days of yore, when we never had to hear the incessant buzz, of the this now ubiquitous summer recreation vehicle. Great success for Bombardier, bad for quiet days on the lake. This led us to think of the owners of ski hills. Once the snow was gone what next? Now, most progressive ski hills offer summer recreation, like mountain biking.  I have used that lesson in our own business to make the peaks and valleys of our business year less abrupt. We are much more busy in the winter than we used to be. The ability to think outside of our own constraints led to many opportunities.

Last year we purchased a companion animal practice. At first I was overwhelmed by the apparent differences between an equine vet business and our new endevour, but I soon realized there were numerous similarities. A vet performing an exam and then taking a dog or cat to the back room for diagnostics or treatments is no different than the work flow in an equine hospital. I also learned that there were things we did in our equine ambulatory practice that can be useful in a companion animal practice. Equine vets know a lot about working on the road, so we can offer a wealth of knowledge about running a mobile companion animal practice, which is a growing area in companion animal practice. Our small animal business has a busy retail section and a high level of compliance with preventative health programs. I think most equine vet businesses could use some help in those areas.

When I looked at the Equine Vet Business blog with the point of view that lessons can be learned from other industries, I knew I had to change the focus of the blog. I had to try to bridge the usual gap between vets who think what they do is so special to asking what can equine vets learn from small animal vets. Conversely, what business lessons are there for companion animal vets from the equine vet industry. Indeed. what can these 2 learn from large scale food production veterinarians? I don’t know yet, but I am looking forward to finding out.

With that in mind I have changed the name of the blog to Veterinary Business Matters. The name has two, very relevant meanings. Business matters of course. Without paying attention to how we run our businesses we would be in big trouble. We will also be talking about the individual items that make up a veterinary business. To do all of this, I will feature blogs and podcasts with me and others discussing veterinary business issues relevant to all vets. I have added a new Facebook Page in conjunction to this blog and have renamed the Twitter account to @dvmbusiness. The iTunes Podcast has also been renamed to Veterinary Business Matters – The Podcast. You can find links to all of them on the right hand side of this page.
If you are interested in veterinary business and want to be part of something beyond your area of professional interest, I hope that this will become a destination for you. We are fortunate to work in a wonderful profession that is facing threats on many sides. Those who can run there businesses well will survive and prosper. If we can encourage enough veterinarians to pay attention to their business then the whole profession will do better and we won’t be as challenged by online pharmacies, lay practitioners, decreasing vet visits (in all species) and price slashing colleagues, to name a few current issues. By learning from each other, we can make all of us better. I look forward to this new collaboration. If there is anything you would like to present in a blog or discuss on a podcast please let me know. I look forward to numerous people contributing to this blog.
Welcome aboard. Lets make our businesses and our profession better.

  1. Hi Mike !

    that’s great !
    very useful in my case with mixed practice, reading at your post I realize that sometimes we did learn from each side (small/equine) to be used in the other side. But it was not conducted as a strategy.
    After this reading, I’ll try !
    Thanks !
    All the best

    1. Hi Charles, to further your thought, vets in North America can learn things from vets in Europe too. I would love to get your current thoughts on the challenges facing vets in Europe. Want to do a podcast?


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