By: Debbie Boone, BS, CVPM – Originally published on VitusVet.com.
I was having a conversation with a client last week and she laughed and said, “You are my secret sauce”. What she was referring to was her ability to outperform her competition even though her practice is only 1 year and 3 months old. I can’t take lots of credit for this because she is a very hard worker, a great doctor and communicator. I will allow that I have been able to guide her through some business minefields that enabled her to avoid costly mistakes. This client admitted how scary it was to spend the money to hire a consultant. She was a very young business – only 7 months open. Now she said it was the wisest move she could have made.
So – do you need a consultant? Maybe so.
There are times in a business when it gets to a tipping point. This can come from growth, loss of a key staff member, a new competitor or even a desire to sell. Many of my clients are very successful business owners but a desire to always improve drives them to give me a call.
We all have tunnel vision. I recall a story about a woman who had a package delivered. She was running out the door and sat the delivery beside the front door and left. Life got busy and a few weeks later a friend came to visit. Upon entering the house, she looked at the package and asked what her hostess had received. The woman had completely overlooked the package in her daily routine…she just didn’t see it. I think this happens in business when we go through our day, working in our normal routine but never able to “see” a better or more efficient way. Habit has us trapped.
When consultants come to your business, they have some distinct advantages.
- First, they don’t work there, so all your routines are open for examination without the “habit” problem holding them back.
- Second, they have a lot of experience in their area of expertise. I know I have the luxury of time for study on practice management, culture, neuroscience, inventory control, online pharmacy implementation, fees and benchmarks and communication tools that I never had when I was a hospital administrator. Sure, I would investigate new software or equipment, but never the deep dive I do now.
- Third, they have physically been in hundreds of hospitals and picked up many brilliant ideas and are now able to share them with you. I keep a document in my laptop for these ideas when I teach my Patterson Communication classes, visit hospitals with vendor reps or discover them through my far-reaching network of veterinary experts.
But consultants like me are not your only option. Sales reps can be great consulting partners. They visit on average 70 – 120 practices in their territory. Pick their brains.
Then there are your technology partners like #VitusVet or #VetSuccess or even your software vendors. These partners can help you pull important information from your database and help you interpret the information so you can act appropriately. As a consultant I personally have been thrilled to work with practices with these tools in place so I can monitor the compliance health of the hospital and train the team. As the training sets in we can monitor the improvement and share it with the team.
Peer groups are helpful when we struggle with a practice issue. I have been a member of #VHMA the Veterinary Hospital Managers Association for as long as I can remember. Without the guidance of members of this group I would have truly been lost as a new practice manager.
So, what “secret sauce” do you need?
If you think you need my help feel free to reach out. The first hour exploration call is absolutely FREE.
By the way, I too reach out to my friends in a mastermind group for advice…we all need some secret sauce. 😊