Is your practice as happy and successful as it can be? If you’ve answered yes, read no further. If not, don’t worry — this aspiration isn’t out of reach.
While many practices in the last five years have seen significant losses in income, and cuts in personal and staff salaries, others are expanding and actually increasing incomes. What’s the difference and how can you turn things around?
1. Visualize your wish list
Evidence is showing that thoughts can help create both your experience of events and the results you focus on.1 Visualizing your ideal practice is critical to both financial and personal success.
Start by writing down, as if you are already living it, details from when you get up in the morning, through your practice day, until you arrive home and go to bed. Be passionate. Use all your senses. The more specific you are, the more likely you will be to bring your vision into reality. Consider details such as the modalities you’re using, your income, and whether you’re working with others or alone.
Next, create a short term visualization based on your current circumstances, following the guidelines above. What could you do to be more passionate and excited? Which of your dreams apply to the present? For example, you’d love to have a mobile chiropractic practice yet you now work at a conventional clinic. Though you are recently certified in chiropractic, few clients accept this modality. Envision the receptionists and technicians suggesting chiropractic, the other veterinarians referring cases to you, and clients asking for your new skill. How does it feel to use chiropractic rather than surgery for an ACL?
If you have staff, it’s critically important for them to also take part in these visualization processes. By being aware of their wish lists, you can better utilize each person and support his or her future goals. Finally, have the whole team create a vision for the entire clinic, using all the senses and speaking as if it is already happening.
2. Set goals
The brain is neurologically organized to respond to goals as a priority.2 Every goal needs to be specific and be given a timeframe. After all, Rome wasn’t built in a day! From your visualization statements, identify one or two next steps you can take to be happy and successful now. For each goal, set a one month, six-month, one-year, and five-year step. Be specific.
One goal may be to have a 10% increase in practice net income next year, and to expand your integrative options without increasing hours. What alternative options can you offer? What products can you sell and will they be replacing conventional sales? What promotions could you do? What education for your clients would generate an increase in the net? What forms of residual income can you create in your practice? for each strategy, set a specific goal such as: “Have three affiliate programs on the website generating $500 per month
You can also set goals and create visions for each of your clients. When people have new animals, or when you are beginning to treat serious or long standing problems, it helps to set out treatment plans and see if your goals match those of the owners.
One goal needs to be time and money allocated for personal growth. To truly be happy and successful, we must spend at least 25% of our time in personal development. This journal as well as publications from the holistic veterinary associations, spiritual work, meditation, business consultations and more are available in all types of media. Since most holistic modalities have a spiritual basis, studying the principles and philosophy of your favorite will also help you grow personally. Consider attending the AHVMA conference and/or the healing retreats (even if you do not attend the conference). forging peer, mentor and teaching relationships will help with both practice and personal growth.
3. Evaluate results
You do this daily as you treat patients. You have a baseline (physical or lab work), you treat, then you see how the baseline changes. Integrative training gives us even more ways to evaluate the reaction of a patient to any type of treatment – whether it’s cured (all symptoms are better and the animal generally much healthier); palliated (current symptoms resolved but no general improvement in health, and treatment often needs to be continued or repeated) or suppressed (symptoms quickly resolve yet the animal becomes more ill). These categories apply equally to your veterinary practice! Maybe you’ve noticed less income from lab work, so you institute a bonus for increased laboratory volume. Within a week you are seeing significant boost in income. Within the next month, though, you hear complaints from clients about pressure to do unnecessary tests, and even staff seem less happy. This would be an example of suppression.
You try a new approach by offering a variety of choices for clients ranging from lab tests to Reiki and other holistic approaches not dependent on specific lab tests. You offer bonuses for increased revenue from multiple streams of treatments and tests. Over the next month, you see a slow increase in income as staff and clients begin selecting these new modalities and your staff say they are happy with the new strategy.
When the entire staff sets goals, post them with timelines and review them at every staff meeting. If goals are not being met, first check back with the practice vision to see if the goals are still aligned with it. Then problem solve, looking for new opportunities to achieve the goal. When staff or clients have complaints, refer back to the vision and goal to see if the solutions are already in place.
Enjoy the positive energy
These strategies will work for every person with the commitment and discipline to implement them. There is no reason for a person to be dissatisfied, poor or unhappy when we have many successful, happy mentors around us. Be appreciative of others, grateful every moment, contribute to others and nurture yourself, your family, staff and clients.