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Joint Ventures - is this right for me? BVA Careers Dat at London Vet Show

This session considered joint ventures as an ownership opportunity and from the practical day to day running of the business.  As with any opportunity, asking the right questions can help you assess if this is for you. Click here to view the presentation notes and get answers to some of the important questions below:-

  • What you need to consider before signing up to a JV arrangement.
  • How does a JV differ from other ownership models eg partnerships or shareholder/directors in a limited company?
  • Are all JV's the same?
  • How do they work in practice for me as an owner?
  • What are the exit routes for JV's and are they all the same?
  • What other ownership options do I have?

Induction Plans for New Staff - VPMA Meeting

Induction Plans for New Staff and Developing Social Media

The two different topics at the VPMA Regional Meeting last Thursday, Induction Plans for New Staff and Developing Social Media do not immediately appear as complementary, but by the end of the afternoon it was apparent that the same message applies to both – plan ahead and reap the rewards! It was a very interesting afternoon.

Copies of the flip charts from the workshop sessions are in the attached PDF that you can download and notes should have arrived by email.

Thanks to Melvyn Wilkins for all the organisation and Rebekka Fiorani and Clent Hills for the venue.

Incorporation - Is it right for me?

"It was a really informative day" - "I wish I had come a year ago" - "Lots covered in a short time"

Thank you for the positive feedback on this day of explanations, illustrations and clarification of the pros and cons of incorporation of your practice.

The top tips you identified and your stated learning objectives are available to download in the attached PDF.  Just click on this link.

The benefits of good management structure and strategic planning for the business popped up repeatedly throughout the day and there was general agreement that better management structures and forward planning would be very beneficial to most veterinary practices, particularly in competitive times.

Preparing for Business Partners Meeting SPVS VPMA Events

I enjoyed the debate on Wednesday and there were some great points made at the meeting.

To view a PDF of the flip chart summaries from the day click here and the reference for part time working paper is included in the pdf too.

The mix of managers, owners and future owners led to a lively debate and with the balance of delegate's age and gender mirroring the current demographic of the profession all perspectives were well represented on the day.

For those who asked about Limited Companies and Incorporation, the Anval team are presenting "Incorporation – is it right for me?" in Nottingham on 7th November 2013. http://www.bva.co.uk/events/3149.aspx

The impact of technology on veterinary work

The last time that I was on a train, the other three people at the table were reading books on Kindles, tablets or iPads and it set me pondering how technology had changed the book publishing industry. 

Instant online access to book reviews, references and recommendations is simple. You can open the book, read some before you buy, download a chapter and if you like it a few seconds later you have downloaded the whole book, and such good value for money.  

The way books are bought and read has changed and there have been massive changes to publishing in the last five years with the collapse of the net book agreement and sales of books through supermarkets and other outlets with heavy discounting, particularly of leading titles and best sellers. All of this may sound familiar to the veterinary profession, with high profile marketing, discounted service, low cost practices and competition on price not service. 

Perhaps the old adage that you can judge a book by its cover no longer applies? Are your surgical skills judged by the quality of your stitching or the number of stitches?  Laparoscopic surgery leaves tiny wounds with few stitches so there is a risk of this being judged as less skilled despite the highly technological nature of this work.

Shopping on the internet is easy and convenient and practices who can plot web traffic have spotted a large number of orders placed outside normal working hours and into the evening.  This is obviously when it suits the client to do so.   Traditionally people voted with their feet and now they can vote with the click of a mouse button.  The PC was the route to the internet but now ordering with smart phones and via apps has grown hugely.

Price comparison is easy for products but much harder for service. The general public may see a bitch spay as a fixed price product and be unaware of the different levels of service that can be included as part of this surgical procedure.  The customer has choices and will make their own decisions.

Using more than one vet, or pick and mix as you feel like, is part of the current customer choice in the marketplace and should not surprise us.  It applies to veterinary practices and other areas.  Plenty of people already make separate choices of where they buy their fuel and where they service their car, or where they buy reading glasses and where they go for prescription glasses.

There are new business models emerging in the profession which can operate at much lower margins than traditional businesses and a similar headline service be provided at a much lower cost. 

Embracing technology to improve the customer experience will help make your service more customer-focussed and should reap benefits. Kindles, tablets, iPads for reading books are not for everyone but they are for many.  Can technology help you make your service better, easier or more convenient for the customer?  If so, then use it.