The Three Fundamental Business Skills for a Healthy Practice

Over the last four years, we have been teaching to more than 1.200 veterinarians and we found out that the problems they experience are always the same regardless of what they do and where in the world they practice. A wonderful job started with passion, but that today it has become arduous and often does not give a fair compensation when compared with the massive commitment required. Unfortunately, our profession is also often touched by depression and loneliness, to the point that specific counters to assist colleagues who ask for help were opened.

But, what are the skills that the school does not teach us and that any veterinarian needs to acquire, to evolve along with the change that is inevitably happening and that we cannot avoid? We can only change our perspective and ride the wave, to benefit from the new opportunities. So, what are the three key points that we consider fundamental? It is a system globally used for more than 30 years by micro, medium-sized and large companies that can also be used by any practitioner who decides to shift from owning his/her job to be a small business owner. To go from a mindset of “I do it myself so it is done better and quicker” to one that expands your potential and that can have an impact on the market. When talking from the stage to veterinarians, I feel the strong discomfort in the room when I pronounce the word SALE: the first skill that you need to master for having a successful business. Selling is simply to make an exchange. Selling is communication. Making a sale is solving the problem of those who turn to us. Selling is providing value to our customers. We sell every day since we are little in any relationship we are: as a friend, a parent, in a couple, with our children, employees, customers … Every day we are both the seller and the buyer. Instead of always blaming the circumstances or the others, which we cannot change, let’s ask ourselves a few questions: how can I give more value? How can I distinguish myself? What is my uniqueness?

The second skill has a leverage effect: it is knowing how to build a TEAM. Who is playing the game with me? Because the difficulties increase if I have someone on the “boat” who is rowing against me. Did I clearly explain my idea? Do I know where I want to be and, above all, who I want to be in a 5-10 years? Have I explained it to the people that work with me? Or are they working for me? Do I have a vision and am I acting like a leader, or am I the boss? Have I clarified the rules of the game to everyone? Do I enforce them? It’s now proven by several studies that a team achieves greater potential than an individual. “The magnitude of your potential is predictable based on the people around you… I have concluded that there are three hidden costs in trying to be the star that shines alone: loneliness, loss of meaning and possible burnout… In work, life, sport, or whatever, the way to win is to create a system where members can assist each other, carry each other on their shoulders, and make each other better. You can be a superstar; you just can’t do it alone.” From Achor Shawn’s Big Potential.

This is where the third required skill for a successful business comes into play: TEACHING. To your employees and your customers. This is leadership. It is crucial to improve the internal communication with employees, the external communication with the customer and to develop systems so the services are always delivered exactly in the same way by any member of the team, providing repeatability and duplicating the performance quality. What are the relevant data/numbers that can be used to evaluate the performance of our practice, to know our starting point and to optimize the road of our path? Visualizing the steps taken is extremely motivating to continue improving … and automatically stand out in the marketplace. All of this is possible if we are ready to manage our emotions, to face our fears, our beliefs, that do everything possible not to make us feel uncomfortable. Nowadays, it is not enough to be a great Doctor in Veterinary Medicine: if we want to make our contribution, it is time to seize the opportunities that this constantly evolving market offers us, we are in the information age, technology evolves quickly and even our equipment becomes obsolete in 2/3 years. If we want to keep up with the evolution that is not waiting for us, we must learn to change perspective for embracing change and providing value in a market that is very noisy and full of distractions.

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