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PIP

A Command Performance

Take Charge

Sit down with a team member whose work is falling short and chart a plan for getting the person back on track.

Do you have an employee who has potential but is habitually underperforming? A performance improvement plan (PIP) might be the answer when typical feedback, coaching and corrective actions fail to move the needle on the team member’s behavior. The PIP is a human resources tool found in many corporations. It’s a formal document that clearly […]

independent contractors

Classified Information

Legal Lingo

Employers pay the price if they don’t follow the rules on who is and isn’t an independent contractor.

Are they employees of yours or 1099 independent contractors? On Jan. 6, 2021, the U.S. Department of Labor clarified the guidelines for classifying workers as independent contractors under the Fair Labor Standards Act, which among other things establishes minimum wage and overtime pay for private-sector employees. The final rule, which went into effect March 8, […]

Instagram

Platform Diving

Socially Acceptable

Purge your practice of social media outlets that aren’t worth the effort. Facebook and Instagram might be all you need.

When time and staff are in short supply, putting energy into social media — particularly multiple platforms — can be hard. As social media evolves, you will find more opportunities to drive business to your practice along with more opportunities to waste precious time. First, let’s review the landscape. Ignoring business registries like Google Business, […]

orthopedic patient

The Orthopedic Patient

Fearless

A calm and cooperative animal is essential to the accurate diagnosis and treatment of musculoskeletal issues. Don’t rule out sedation.

Cortisol is a well-intentioned, very powerful hormone. It is a normal part of the physiological stress response when the body perceives something fearful or threatening. It initially acts as a strong anti-inflammatory and temporarily reduces the pain response when the body experiences an acutely painful episode. In veterinary patients with chronic pain, the cortisol release […]

smarter not harder

Less Is More

Practice Smarter

Fine-tune how your hospital is run so that you don’t have to work so hard.

A great catchphrase is: “Practice smarter, not harder.” But what does it mean exactly? Here’s what veterinarians and practices can do to bring the concept to life. Leverage Your Team Leveraging has to do with the number of full-time support staff you have compared with the number of full-time doctors. The “normal” practice has a […]

consolidator

Know When to Walk Away

Money Matters

If you’re an independent practice owner, don’t rush into a sale to a consolidator. Here’s what to watch for. 

Remember when veterinary practice buyers were scarce and hospital owners were concerned about finding one — or they expected the pool of buyers to be small? Then along came the consolidators, who used outside money to cherry-pick the best of the best practices. Today, as the inventory shrinks, the competition to buy practices has intensified. […]

competition

Fair and Square

Legal Lingo

Veterinarians should have a basic understanding of the rules of competition. You don’t want to run afoul of antitrust laws.

Federal antitrust laws are discussed when transactions between corporate titans are in the news, such as the merger of T-Mobile and Sprint. Such laws, however, are the foundation of modern American capitalism and a subject that veterinary businesses need to understand, at least in principle. In a truly free market — one with no regulations […]

shortages

Shortages and Excesses

Politics and Policy

We have too few veterinary professionals (and dogs) and too much student debt. There is a way out.

COVID carried on a curious relationship with the veterinary industry throughout 2020 and early 2021. Much has been written about the industry’s financial strength and gains during this period, hopefully putting to rest chronic fears that pet health care is a fragile sector and susceptible to sudden downturns. The toll on human lives is a […]

trainer

Bond With a Pet Trainer

Fearless

An outside expert can meticulously answer many of the questions your clients pose and prepare pets to be willing participants in veterinary care.

Clients have asked me almost every conceivable pet behavior question over the past 20 years, including some that I never envisioned. And while at the beginning of my career I was always willing to spend lots of extra time with clients during an appointment, I soon found that to be exhausting, unsustainable and, later as […]

practice manager

Crunch Time

Take Charge

A practice manager shouldn’t be an absent employee’s automatic replacement. Cross-train team members and empower them to look after each other.

As the young manager of a small veterinary practice, I regularly spent part of my workweek covering shifts for vacationing or sick veterinary technicians and client service representatives. As the animal hospital grew alongside my confidence and status, I pitched in only occasionally as a courtesy and not under compulsion or out of desperation. When […]

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