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  • 18 Oct 2018 8:00 AM | Sarah Rumple (Administrator)


    When it comes to cloud, there are many options for the veterinary practice to consider. And, in the eyes of a practice owner or manager, this is a confusing topic. 

    Veterinary practice owners and managers are focused on taking care of their clients and patients, but their time at the practice can often be consumed by tasks that distract them from their primary focus. One of the tasks that often sucks time away from owners and managers is troubleshooting technical issues. That's because, in many cases, the technology that runs the practice is built on top of a foundation that is crumbling under them.

    Like a foundation to a house, a veterinary practice needs a solid, secure, and stable technical foundation. If you try to build a house on a cracking or crumbling foundation, you'll have many issues down the road. If you try to build your veterinary practice on a weak technical foundation, you'll put one of your most valuable assets—your data—at risk.

    The traditional IT problem

    A traditional veterinary practice may have a server and workstations. This is often set up as a one-time buildout every 3–5 years. This one-time capital outlay approach just doesn't work anymore, because hospitals are becoming more and more dependent on technology, and that technology has to be maintained—it has to work—or you can't do your job. 

    The cloud-based IT solution

    Adoption of cloud-based technology is growing in the veterinary industry, especially over the past year. From cloud-based practice management systems that don't require an onsite server to other cloud-based technology, like mobile apps and online pharmacies and prescription refill options, the opportunities with cloud-based technology are endless.

    What is cloud-based technology? 

    Let me begin by explaining what cloud is NOT. 

    Cloud is NOT a physical server running in an overheated closet at your practice that also stores your cleaning products. Your server stores all of your patients' medications and appointments and information. It needs to be in a much more secure location than the broom closet, bathroom, basement, etc.

    Cloud is NOT an outdated, 15-year-old technology solution that consistently requires monitoring and maintenance. (And, in 90 percent of the network assessments we complete, we're finding that the monitoring and maintenance of these outdated systems is not occurring as it should.)

    Cloud is NOT something you need to budget for every 3–5 years. With cloud-based technology, you can say goodbye to the roller coaster rides of large IT costs. You pay for a cloud-based system monthly, so it becomes an operational expense, rather than a capital expense. That monthly operational expense takes the headaches of maintenance, upkeep, and security away from you and puts them on the cloud provider. 

    Cloud is NOT technology that exposes your client information to the public internet. A good, cloud-based system means your data resides in a secure location. We call this a "private cloud." All of your valuable practice and client information is stored privately behind a secure login. 

    5 benefits of going cloud-based

    #1: You can access your practice information anywhere.

    Because your system is cloud-based, it stores your information online. All you need is a simple internet connection to gain access. Unlike traditional, outdated IT systems that are complex and seem to break more often than not when you need access, cloud-based systems will allow access anytime, anywhere, and on any device.

    #2: You'll save time.

    Veterinarians need to be veterinarians, not computer techs. Fixing computers and servers and performing software updates should no longer be part of the job responsibilities of veterinary practice owners. By going cloud-based, you'll eliminate the time waste (and frustration) of taking backups offsite and dealing with outdated technology.

    #3: You'll have steady, predictable IT costs.

    As I explained previously, going cloud-based means you'll have a regular, affordable monthly cost. You'll avoid the roller coaster rides of IT costs, where one month or year can be extremely high and other months or years extremely low. Large capital outlay for servers go away, which helps you budget more effectively. 

    #4: Your information will be more secure.

    A good cloud-based system is more secure than having that server in the closet. Practice owners often incorrectly assume that the cloud isn't safe. It's the same thinking behind Grandpa stuffing his life savings into a mattress rather than keeping it at a bank. You know that thinking is outdated and that method is less safe, effective, and efficient. Storing your practice and client data—your "life savings"—in the cloud is much more secure than hosting it on your own system at your office. The transfer of data to and from the system is encrypted, and you can sleep better at night knowing that your information is protected. 

    #5: You'll grow your practice with ease.

    When it's time to grow your business, it can be done with small, incremental costs. The cloud grows and scales with you as you need it. You don't have to over-invest and hope you grow into the solution. Instead, you can buy what you need now, and purchase more as your revenue increases.

    These days, you probably send an email instead of a fax. You probably have a smartphone. You probably review X-rays and laboratory results digitally. You probably don't have your life savings stuffed into your mattress. When you are faced with having to replace that old server in the closet, you should probably go cloud-based.


    ABOUT THE AUTHOR

    Joseph Axne is the owner of IT-Guru, a company focused on veterinary IT support and helps veterinary hospitals go to the cloud. Cloud veterinary practice management applications and Office 365 for veterinary hospitals are two areas where Joseph and his team have IT standards of care built to assure secure and smooth transitions to cloud-based technology. Contact Joseph at jaxne@it-guru.net or 303-520-3733.


  • 11 Oct 2018 12:20 PM | Sarah Rumple (Administrator)


    It may come as a surprise to you, but I have never dealt crack cocaine. But after starting a loyalty program at my practice, I think I might know what it's like. Loyalty programs can be found in almost any business these days, from restaurants to retail stores to marijuana dispensaries. What's all the hype about? Customer retention. It's a big deal.

    Why loyalty programs work

    Loyalty programs work for a variety of reasons. Let's explore a couple:

    Endorphin release — When you get a reward, dopamine and oxytocin levels surge in your brain. These are the same hormones that increase when you get a compliment, hit the slot machine at the casino, or pop out a baby. The purpose of these hormones is to increase trust and bonding. It's the body's way of saying, "This is a good thing. Let's do more of this." When customers get rewarded for spending money, the positive hormone release influences their decision about the purchase, which keeps them coming back for more.

    Fear of missing out (FOMO) — The fear of missing an opportunity to save yourself some money, get something for free, or have a better outcome is a powerful feeling and one that can be leveraged in a loyalty program. If you have ever been shopping online and realized that if you spend $15 more, you'll get free shipping, and then find yourself adding a $50 item to your shopping cart that you didn't even need, you have FOMO'd. You feel like you beat the system, but in reality you just made a purchase you didn't mean to make. Don't feel bad. It happens to all of us, and we justify the action with the thought, Well, I was going to buy it anyway... Someday.

    5 rules for creating a successful loyalty program

    Don't be fooled, though. Not all loyalty programs are created equal, and if you aren't strategic about it, you can easily build a fancy discount program. When it comes to creating a successful loyalty program, be sure to follow these five crucial rules:

    #1: Keep it simple. If your customers don't know or understand your program because it's too complicated, they won't engage with it. A good rule of thumb is that if you can't explain your program in 15 seconds, it's probably too complicated. The simpler, the better.

    #2: Be universal. Creating a program that targets your entire customer base will be more successful. Everyone will want to play, whether they own a 6-month-old golden retriever or a 16-year-old hyperthyroid cat. Programs that only focus on a particular segment of the customer base don't have as much impact as programs that target everyone.

    #3: Make it attainable. If your customers do everything you ask, they should get the reward in a reasonable amount of time. If the goal is too hard to reach, or has too many blackout dates and exclusions, your customers will wonder why they should bother and their behavior won't change.

    #4: Make it desirable. The reward needs to be something everyone wants. Admittedly, this is a hard one. If you are like a normal veterinarian, you will likely experience some anxiety when you think about giving a cash reward (recommended as a credit toward a future visit), but what you must realize is that people don't actually want a free T-shirt with your logo on it or a free gift basket of dog toys or a free wellness exam. The clearer the value of the reward is, the more excited your customers will be to participate in your program.

    #5: Gamify it. When the customer is required to play a game or take action to participate in the program to "unlock" the reward, it has more value to them because effort was required, and it feels more special. This is a big differentiator between rewarding and discounting. Creating a feeling that the customer earned the reward by following the rules and winning at the game will keep her coming back for more.  

    As our industry faces declining visits and competition from online providers and big-box retailers, adding a loyalty program can be a strategic move for your business. Plus, it's just plain nice. There is quite a bit of joy in giving back to clients who take the best care of their pets. Your existing customers have significant potential to spend more with you. A lot more. It's just up to you to capture it. 


    ABOUT THE AUTHOR

    Stacee Santi, DVM, is a 1996 graduate of Colorado State University School of Veterinary Medicine and the founder of Vet2Pet, a technology startup that builds personalized custom apps for veterinary practices. With more than 20 years of clinical experience in small-animal and emergency practice, Stacee brings an "in-the-trenches" approach to innovation and solutions for veterinary teams. She has also served as a medical advisory consultant for NVA for five years, medical director for an AAHA general/ER practice in Colorado, as well as a member of the Executive Committee and chairperson for the Telehealth Task Force for the Colorado Veterinary Medical Association. 

  • 04 Oct 2018 4:42 PM | Sarah Rumple (Administrator)


    Fall is here, and soon the streets will be filled with scary ghosts and goblins and witches and Donald Trumps, oh my! 

    Don't be scared—we've got a sweet treat that will soothe your fears this October. Registration is open for the  2019 VetPartners Annual Meeting, and this year's program is so spooktacular, not only will you want to come, but you'll want to bring your boo-tiful ghoulfriend, all your fangtastic friends, and your wicked awesome colleagues along. 

    Had enough of the Halloween puns? We didn't think so... We would make a skeleton joke here, but you probably wouldn't find it humerus. Instead, we'll creep it real and jump into the highlights of this year's program.

    The program

    VetPartners meetings are about so much more than the boos (although we do have our fair share of fun networking events). The programs for each meeting consistently exceed expectations, and the 2019 Annual Meeting will be no exception. Here's what you can expect:

    Day #1: Current Trends in Today's Veterinary Practices

    We will have two extended panel sessions, during which we'll explore some of the issues that veterinary practices are facing today: 

    • Insights and Trends in Corporate Consolidation — A behind-the-scenes look at the most important trend in veterinary practice today: the rapid consolidation of practices into corporate groups. 
    • The ProSal Debate — We'll dig deep into the difficulty behind recruiting and retaining associate veterinarians, and we'll pay close attention to compensation. What is the future of compensation, and how will it affect every practice?

    Day #2: From Survive to Thrive

    Join Steve van Remortel, author of Stop Selling Vanilla Ice Cream, as he leads a day-long workshop, during which you'll develop a strategy and plan to increase profitability for your business and/or for the businesses of your clients. You'll be energized and challenged, and you'll walk away with a specific action plan to implement immediately. Here's a sneak peek:


    The details

    Date:  January 16–18, 2019

    Location: 
    JW Marriott Orlando Grande Lakes
    4040 Central Florida Parkway
    Orlando, Florida 32837 
    *The hotel reservation cut-off date is December 19, 2018!

    Registration rates: 
    Member Early Bird (through December 27): $395
    Member Late (after December 27): $445
    Guest: $695

    Let's get this party startled. Register for the 2019 VetPartners Annual Meeting today.

  • 21 Sep 2018 5:47 PM | Sarah Rumple (Administrator)

    So, you took the advice of my last blog post and created a blog on your practice's website. Well done! 

    But, now what? What should you write about? What should a blog post include? How are you supposed to find the time to write when you feel like you barely have time to practice medicine, run your practice, and still have a life outside of work? 

    OK, OK... relax. Here are the answers to your questions:

    QUESTION: But, now what? 

    ANSWER: Now, you start thinking of topics you want your clients to know about, and you sit down to create a content calendar.


    QUESTION: What should you write about?

    ANSWER: See previous answer. Creating a content calendar will help you to stay on track and promote consistency in your posting schedule and topics. To begin constructing your calendar:

    • Sit down and make a list of the topics you already know you want to educate your clients about. 
    • Use special dates and events as inspiration.
    • Borrow from others. (Never copy, but take ideas from others and make them your own.)

    QUESTION: What should a blog post include?

    ANSWER: Most blog posts should include the following eight elements:

    #1: An attention-grabbing headline — Your headline should clearly articulate what your article is about (don't get too cutesy with blog headlines), and it should make the reader want to read the article. Some headlines that often grab attention include: 

    • Lists (5 Ways to Prevent Your Dog from Dying)
    • How-to posts (How to Prevent Your Dog from Dying) 
    • Resource posts (The Veterinarian's Guide to Preventing Your Dog from Dying)
    • Question posts (How Can I Prevent My Dog from Dying?)
    • Heart-to-heart posts (The Truth About Why My Dog Almost Died) 

    #2: A compelling lead — Your first sentence or short paragraph should compel readers to read your second paragraph. Start with an interesting story that relates to your topic. 

    #3: Useful subheads — Subheads serve to break your article up into sections so it's easier to digest and more visually appealing. They also help readers navigate to important sections more quickly. With so many people scrolling though Facebook and reading blog posts on their smart phones while waiting in line at the grocery store (or sitting in your lobby), subheads are something readers (and search engines) appreciate. 

    #4: An engaging body — So, you have a killer headline and an attention-grabbing lead that have left your readers excited for more. Deliver an informative and engaging "meat and potatoes" of your article.

    #5: Appealing graphics — Like subheads, graphics help to break up your content and make it more visually appealing. Whether you're including photos, GIFs (like I did here), or videos, your content will be more interesting to your readers. A few tips:

    • Never steal images from the web. Use your own original photography, find free photos/videos/GIFs online, or purchase images from sites like Shutterstock, iStock, etc.
    • Make fun images using canva.com

    #6: A call-to-action — If you're publishing a post on your business blog, you need to end with a call to action. Want people to comment? Contact you? Learn more? Tell them.
    (Don't let your dog die prematurely. Schedule his next preventive care exam by calling 123-456-7899.) 

    #7: A relevant internal link — Internal links encourage readers to check out your other content.
    (Dogs who visit the veterinarian at least annually for preventive care exams <insert link to your webpage about preventive care and vaccines> are 90 percent less likely to die prematurely.)

    #8: A meta description — The meta description is the text Google displays in search results. If you don't specify one, Google will use the first sentence or two from your article. The meta description is in HTML code, and different platforms handle meta descriptions differently. If you have a WordPress site, a plugin like Yoast lets you easily add a meta description without needing to know HTML. 

    QUESTION: How are you supposed to find the time to write when you feel like you barely have time to practice medicine, run your practice, and still have a life outside of work? 

    ANSWER: That's a good question. Perhaps you could task your high school son or daughter with writing for you. Maybe you could dictate a blog post on your smart phone while driving home from work, and then publish it later. Or, maybe you could hire a professional writer to take care of it all for you. 

    ABOUT THE AUTHOR


    Sarah Rumple is an award-winning veterinary writer and editor. Serving the veterinary industry since 2011, her writing covers everything from practice management topics for veterinary professionals to pet health and behavior topics for pet owners. Sarah's clients include veterinary publications, organizations, nonprofit associations, media companies, individual veterinarians/practices, corporate groups, and others. Sarah is owner and chief creative officer of Rumpus Writing and Editing LLC, which she began in 2016. She and her team write more than 30 blog posts for their various clients every month. 
    Learn more about Sarah or contact her at sarahrumple.com.

  • 13 Sep 2018 12:11 PM | Sarah Rumple (Administrator)


    Employee turnover is not a new problem in the veterinary industry. If you're in the profession—practice owner, manager, associate veterinarian, technician, client care representative, assistant... it doesn't matter—you've dealt with it. 

    Perhaps your best client care representative decided to accept a new job that pays more, or an associate left to work for a corporate consolidator in the area that offers a more flexible schedule. Maybe one of your experienced technicians left because she felt unappreciated. The reasons are all over the map. 

    So, how do you keep your best and brightest veterinary team members? Here are five tips:

    1. Hire right

    If you aren't hiring the right people to begin with, those "wrong" people won't be with you for long, and you'll find yourself going through the rigamarole of finding new team members more often. If you recruit, hire, and onboard incorrectly, new employees will get the wrong impression about their jobs and your practice. They'll be less likely to take their jobs seriously and professionally. To attract and retain your "A" team—those staff members who are passionate, positive, self-reliant, and invested—you must standardize the ways you recruit, screen, interview, hire, and onboard new employees.

    2. Train right

    In many veterinary practices, new staff members are thrown to the wolves (or to pets and their owners) with little or no training. This sets them (and the practice) up for failure. A formal orientation will help a new employee feel welcomed and valued. It will prepare her for what lies ahead. If the manager is prepared for the new employee on the first day, offers a formal orientation, and provides thorough and ongoing training, the team member will get the impression that this is a career, not just a "job."  Every employee should have ongoing training and access to the following:

    • Job description
    • Organizational chart
    • A phase training guide with timelines and a checklist
    • Employee policies
    • Written standard operating procedures (SOPs)
    • Weekly communications from the manager 

    3. Lead right

    Supervision is not the process of directing people. Supervision is the process of getting people to become self-directed. To be a successful leader and manager, you have to challenge your employees. You have to help them accept and welcome responsibility. You have to understand them and find a way to gain their commitment and support. Look for ways to empower them and give them control, rather than exerting power and control over them. Spend your time and energy removing barriers to their success. When your team succeeds, you succeed. 

    4. Pay right

    To keep great employees, you must offer a competitive compensation package, which consists of salary and benefits. Your compensation package should:

    • Attract, retain, and motivate high performers
    • Maintain internal consistency and external competitiveness
    • Recognize and reward high performance

    5. Think right

    Do you know what your employees value? What's important to them? Kenneth Blanchard, author of The One-Minute Manager, surveyed 10,000 employees about job satisfaction. He also asked managers and supervisors what they thought made employees feel satisfied with their jobs. Their answers were quite different.

    What employees want:

    1. Appreciation of work done
    2. Feeling of being "in on things"
    3. Help with personal problems
    4. Job security
    5. High salary/wages
    What employers think employees want:
    1. High salary/wages
    2. Job security
    3. Promotion within the company
    4. Good working conditions
    5. Interesting work

    Don't assume you know what your employees want. Ask them. Ask them what's important to them. If you don't know, you won't be able to offer long-term careers to high-quality employees.  Without high-quality employees, your practice can't offer high levels of medical care and service. Without high-quality employees, your practice cannot prosper financially.


    Are you doing all the right things to keep your best team members?


    ABOUT THE AUTHOR


    Tracy Dowdy, CVPM, is a veterinary business consultant with more than 20 years' experience. Focused on empowering women to become leaders in the industry, Tracy developed the Relationship Centered Practice Academy in 2017. Find Tracy at tracydowdy.com

  • 07 Sep 2018 12:31 PM | Sarah Rumple (Administrator)


    I'm a millennial. I am 30 years old, unmarried, and have two dogs—Cole and Lula—whom I love and spoil dearly. I also love avocados, yoga, and a good glass of wine. I am one of millions who are quickly reshaping the veterinary landscape. 

    Thirty-five percent of pets in America are owned by millennials. We spend more on our pets, are more likely to show deference and respect for a veterinarian's advice, and we think of these little creatures as indispensable members of the family. But, there's a problem: The industry doesn't know how to speak to us. Yet, anyway. I would like to help change that.

    Recently, I made plans to have dinner with my parents. When I asked them where we were going, I was told the plan was to "drive around and see what the options are." 

    Well, that wasn't going to fly. I searched the local options, read reviews, browsed menus, and made an informed decision. I grew up with the internet. So did my generation. It's a fundamental part of how we navigate the world and make decisions (on average much more than any past generation). 

    But, here's the thing that most people don't understand: While the mediums and channels that we use to form relationships change, the underlying biological mechanisms and basic human needs remain the same as they were thousands of years ago. Let me elaborate.

    When a millennial is visiting your website during a "customer journey" (the process of finding a new veterinary practice), his mind is asking questions: Who are you? What do you do? Where do you do it? 

    But, that's just his conscious mind, the "tip of the iceberg" as Freud would say. Really, his subconscious is there to ask an entirely different question. One rooted in his ancestral past: Can I trust you?

    He's not going to tell you that. He's going to tell you that he's looking for a veterinarian who practices good medicine, is reasonably priced, and is convenient in terms of location and/or policies. But the reality is that it's a feeling that determines whether or not he is comfortable taking action. His logical mind justifies his decision later, but modern neuroscience tells us that the seat of decision making occurs in the emotional region of the brain.

    Build trust with your hospital's digital assets: Tell your story

    You have to approach your website with a totally different mindset. It is not an expanded business card or brochure. It is an opportunity to tell your story. Your website's ability to tell your story in a way that connects with the deeper instincts of pet owners is the secret sauce of success. Don't just answer the "what" about your services. Show me that you understand what matters to me, what's precious to me, the values I care about... And then show me proof that you follow through on those values.

    Ask yourself: Why do I exist? Why do pet owners need to care? You have a story to tell. 

    Do not say, "Welcome to ABC Animal Hospital! We are a full-service veterinary facility that provides wellness exams, spay/neuter, dentistry, parasite control, and more." 

    That tells me almost nothing. I'm hungry to understand what you believe. Trust is only created by communicating a shared set of values. Show me you understand me. This is an incredibly important decision to me, and I want to know why you are the right choice. I want to see that everything you do (including the quality of your website's design, branding, and communication) is done the right way.

    Storytelling to create emotional connections is a complicated task, but it is absolutely what you must do to attract a new generation of pet owner. And, if you begin asking the right questions, you may find you are closer to success than you think.


    ABOUT THE AUTHOR

    Robert Sanchez is the founder and CEO of Digital Empathy. Digital Empathy has quickly become one of the fastest growing companies in web design and marketing because of its innovative approach, distinctive designs, and focus on the psychology of pet owners and human relationships. Learn more at digitalempathyvet.com


  • 28 Aug 2018 11:55 AM | Sarah Rumple (Administrator)


    Demographics tell us that over the next 10 years approximately 10,000 veterinarians will be transitioning from active practice, and many of these doctors are practice owners. That fact raises the question: Who will be the future owners of their clinics and hospitals?

    Selling your practice: Multi-doctor vs. single-doctor
    If your practice has multiple veterinarians on board, you’ll likely have more than a few interested suitors, so marketing the opportunity shouldn’t be a challenge. Instead, you might find yourself spinning your wheels and using a large amount of time and energy trying to evaluate and communicate with those interested in buying your practice. (This is a topic for another article.)

    But, what if you’re the sole owner and operator of your practice? Who will step into your shoes and purchase your practice? While you might want a more definitive answer than “it depends,” you probably won’t get one because it truly does depend on a number of factors:

    • Is your practice profitable with strong cash flow and increasing revenues?
    • How does the financial performance of your practice compare to other practices?
    • Where is your practice located? Is it in or near a thriving metropolitan area? Or, do you serve a rural community?
    • After selling your practice, will you be willing or able to work as an associate? If so, for how long?


    Thinking from a buyer's perspective
    If you were seeking to acquire a practice what would you look for and why? As a buyer, what would attract you? What would your deal breakers be? In order to market your practice to people who are seeking hospital ownership, the opportunity must fit into the vision of the potential successor. What might the successor to a sole practitioner be seeking? Ask yourself the following questions:

    • Who are you marketing to? Who is your target audience?
    • What is your target audience looking for? What do they need?
    • Does your opportunity provide what your target audience needs?


    Setting yourself up for a successful transition
    Once you know what your potential buyers are looking for, you must take an honest look into your practice’s strengths and weaknesses. What steps can you take to make the incremental improvements that will improve the financial position of your practice and its potential marketability? How much time do you have before you hope to move on to the next chapter in your life, and can you realistically complete the practice improvements you’re hoping to make in that timeline?

    Best position yourself in your transition by allowing adequate time, thoroughly planning, and taking an honest look at the state of your practice. Once you’re living your next dream, you’ll be glad you did.

    ABOUT THE AUTHOR


    Joseph Hruban is a transition consultant and veterinary practice and real estate broker. He is the author of the book, Where Have All the Corporate Veterinary Practices Come From? Learn more about Joseph on his website: dvm-transitions.com.

  • 13 Aug 2018 12:49 PM | Sarah Rumple (Administrator)


    It’s official: Blogs are taking over the internet. And, they aren’t just for the foodies, photographers, and parenting “experts” of the world anymore. According to the Content Marketing Institute, 81 percent of B2B companies and 77 percent of B2C companies have blogs that focus on just about every topic and industry imaginable, including veterinary medicine. And that’s where you come in. Your veterinary practice needs a blog.

    via GIPHY

    But, I’m a veterinarian, not a writer!

    I don’t have time for a blog!

    I don’t know what I would write about!

    I don’t know where to begin!

    I just want to run my business and practice medicine!

    I know, I know… As a busy veterinary professional, making time for a blog (and doing it well) can feel overwhelming. But, you’ve done more difficult things in your life (trust me), and there’s no way around it: A blog is essential for your veterinary practice.

    via GIPHY

    Why your veterinary practice needs a blog

    • Draw traffic to your website — According to Web Solutions, businesses that have blogs (and actually update them regularly) get 55 percent more website traffic than those that don’t.

      Think about it: It’s allergy season, and my dog seems to be scratching excessively. But wait, can a dog suffer from allergies? I don’t know! Let’s ask Google!
      Can dogs suffer from allergies?
      One of the first results is an article titled “5 Signs Your Dog Might Be Suffering from Allergies,” and it’s published on your practice’s blog. I click the link, go to your site, read your informative article, and discover that your practice happens to be within five miles of my home. 
    • Connect with your audience — A blog is a great way to reveal your practice’s personality (and the personalities of individual team members who contribute to the blog) to pet owners in your community. Your blog isn’t limited to pet health and behavior topics. Branch out and blog about your practice’s involvement in the community, the special achievements of team members, outstanding testimonials from clients, and other ways in which your practice stands out.

      Think about it: After reading your post about allergies in dogs, I curiously begin perusing other posts within your blog and come across a post about your practice’s involvement with the local animal shelter’s trap-neuter-return (TNR) program, volunteering to spay/neuter feral cats to help control the population of unwanted pets in the community. That’s so cool!

    • Establish credibility — You’re an expert in your field. When you regularly update your blog with relevant information for pet owners, you’re confirming that to readers who land on your site. When pet owners believe you know what you’re doing, they’ll be more likely to trust you, and they’ll be more likely to bring their pets to your practice.

      Think about it: After reading your allergy blog post, I realize that my dog probably has allergies. Because your article was so informative and relevant to my needs, I feel like I can trust you to examine my dog and treat his allergy symptoms.

    • Educate your clients — How many times have you heard pet owners make statements about pet health or behavior that were completely false?
      My pet doesn’t need heartworm prevention because where we live isn’t hot enough.
      My dog can’t have fleas because we aren’t “dirty people.”
      My cat is scratching the furniture because he’s just a bad cat.
      All of these myths can be inspiration for blog posts, serving to educate current and potential clients, increase compliance, and generate revenue.

      Think about it: I bring my dog to see you for his apparent allergy symptoms, when you discover he actually has a flea allergy dermatitis (FAD). Completely disgusted, I tell you there’s no way he has fleas. Our house is clean, he is bathed regularly, and I’ve never seen a flea on him. After showing the evidence of fleas on my dog, and assuring me it has nothing to do with cleanliness and everything to do with prevention, you send me home with a flea and tick preventive product and a short brochure about flea/tick prevention. At the bottom of the brochure, the call to action states, “Visit abcanimalhospital.com/fleasticks for more information.” The URL takes me to your blog post focused on fleas and ticks, which confirms what you told me during the appointment and arms me with everything I need to know to protect my dog and my human family.

    • Boost your social media presence — Like blogs, social media isn’t going away any time soon, and your practice should use it to your advantage. But don’t just post cutesy memes and announcements on your social channels: Post links to the articles on your blog, too.

      Think about it: Your client care representative responsible for social media posting hasn’t posted anything today and is searching for relevant content.
      “Maybe another cats-in-boxes video? Perhaps a funny dog meme (for the third time this week)? Wait! Today is Thursday! That means Dr. Smith published her weekly blog post yesterday! I’ll link to that, instead!” she says.
      The blog post happens to be about allergies in dogs. I read it, and decide to bring my dog to your practice. It’s like magic.

    Now that you understand why your practice needs a blog, it’s time to get started.

    via GIPHY

    Oh, stop. You can do this. And my next blog post will tell you how. Stay tuned!  

    ABOUT THE AUTHOR
    Sarah Rumple is an award-winning veterinary writer and editor. Serving the veterinary industry since 2011, her writing covers everything from practice management topics for veterinary professionals to pet health and behavior topics for pet owners. Sarah's clients include veterinary publications, organizations, nonprofit associations, media companies, individual veterinarians/practices, corporate groups, and others. Sarah is owner and chief creative officer of Rumpus Writing and Editing LLC, which she began in 2016. She and her team write more than 30 blog posts for their various clients every month. 
    Learn more about Sarah or contact her at sarahrumple.com.


  • 19 Jul 2018 5:32 PM | Sarah Rumple (Administrator)


    A message from the VetPartners president, Jeff Thoren:

    Reflecting back on the Mid-Year Meeting, all I can come up with is the word "WOW!" My intuitive sense is telling me that it's one of the best VetPartners meetings I've ever attended while my brain is trying to find the words to support and explain that gut feeling. Perhaps it's just that the collegial, fun, and intellectually stimulating nature of our gathering is still fresh in my mind? Maybe it's that I thought that this year's line up of Hot Rocks presentations was one of the most diverse, timely, and thought provoking that we've ever had? Of course, it could be that there seemed to be an endless supply of shrimp and crab legs at the Care Credit reception! I think, though, that it's more than all of those things.

    At some point during our two days together it dawned on me that VetPartners, in my experience, is truly a special organization. Together, we are truly aligned around our mission of being and acting "for the good of the veterinary profession." That alignment is, unfortunately, an uncommon experience in many organizations but, for us, it's palpable and real. And it feels REALLY good!

    And, in addition to rallying around a compelling purpose, it's also striking to me how our gathering in Denver reflected our VetPartners core values. Let's go down the list ...

    Core Collaboration — Working together, we are more productive and can offer greater benefits to the association, our clients, and the profession.

    Check! We saw evidence of this in several Hot Rocks presentations and our Appreciative Inquiry work at the beginning of the year clearly established that, to the degree that VetPartners members connect and collaborate, good things happen! 

    Community — Creating an environment built on trust, compassion, and respect and by embracing our diversity, we can rely on each other for support, growth, and feedback.

    Check! As humans, we are designed for community and belonging. It seems to me that VetPartners is a place where that need is being met and our community is growing stronger year after year.

    Advancement — Continuing our personal and professional educational growth, we can better serve each other, our clients, and the profession.

    Check! This has always been a strength for VetPartners from my perspective and, due to the collective efforts of everyone in the organization, we continue to get better and better at it. From the educational content of our meetings to individual members supporting each other's growth and development, we see evidence of this value everywhere.

    Responsibility — Accepting our duty as leaders in our areas of expertise, we can raise business practices and standards for the profession.

    Check! Not only are individual members taking responsibility for making a difference for the profession in their areas of expertise, but they are also contributing their passion and initiative in ways that are contributing to the growth and continued success of VetPartners. We are developing a greater capacity for collective leadership as an organization!

    Integrity — Conducting ourselves and our businesses with the highest principles and professional standards, we will exhibit ethical, honest behavior at all times.

    Check! While reciting the VetPartners oath together at each meeting during our new member pinning ceremony can seem a bit dorky, it's an important reminder about the importance of this value. I'm proud to be affiliated with a group that sets the bar high when it comes to ethics and integrity.


    Thanks to each of you for being committed to our common purpose and for honoring our shared values! Thanks also for your willingness to share your gifts and talents to help continue to build a strong volunteer organization. I'm honored to be serving as your President and look forward to sharing more "WOW" experiences together in the future ... "for the good of the profession!"

    —Jeff Thoren, DVM, PCC, BCC, 2018-19 VetPartners President

    The meeting in a few photos

    (Find more on the VetPartners Facebook page!)






  • 03 Jul 2018 5:00 PM | Sarah Rumple (Administrator)

    It's officially July, and that means the heat is on as the VetPartners Mid-Year Meeting quickly approaches. 

    And, while the forecast is literally looking hot next week in Denver, we think our Hot Rocks presentations, with their abundance of bright ideas and hot topics, have something to do with the expected 90+ degree temperatures.


    Here's a glimpse into the sunshine happening this year in Denver.

    What: Return for Care: Community Model for Post-Adoption Veterinary Care
    Who: Jane Brunt and Clint Latham
    Why: You'll learn how pet lovers and veterinary professionals can work together in communities so everyone wins. More pets will get care, more people will have healthier pets, and more veterinary professionals will experience personal satisfaction and well-being.

    -----

    What: In Anticipation of the Tipping Point
    Who: Mark Hafen
    Why: Is small the new big idea in veterinary medicine? Small practices are important to the veterinary industry's future. Discover why building small helps owners net more per square foot than the big guys. Walk away with a checklist to help you acquire and renovate a project and a plan for designing an effective small veterinary hospital.

    -----

    What: Rocky Mountain Veterinary Professionals: Lessons Learned in Building a Regional Networking Group
    Who: Wendy Hauser
    Why: How many people in your community spend their days serving veterinary professionals and helping them improve their practices? The answer might surprise you. Learn how regional networking will increase referrals, grow your knowledge about industry topics, help you build valuable professional relationships, and much more.

    -----

    What: Conflict Transformation: Can't We All Just Get Along?
    Who: Bill Kearley
    Why: Communicating successfully is a learned skill. Learn the four key components of Marshall Rosenberg's Nonviolent Communication Process (NVC) and how implementing this process in your personal and professional life can provide great payoffs and transform conflicts as they arise.

    -----

    What: Finding the Path to Honor Ourselves as We Live the Veterinary Oath
    Who: Kimberly Pope-Robinson
    Why: Maintaining overall well-being is a real struggle for many veterinary professionals. Learn how to help yourself, your clients, and your team honor the veterinary oath while finding and following a framework to longevity and sustainability within the veterinary industry. 

    -----

    What: Blending Social Impact and Financial Return: Alternative Ownership Approaches for Veterinary Clinics
    Who: Travis Potter
    Why: As consumers are constrained by the cost of veterinary services, more pets go without veterinary care, and many veterinary professionals struggle with mental health issues, we can't help but wonder: Are we doing this right? Learn how alternative business models and ownership structures could improve access to veterinary services while also improving satisfaction for veterinary practitioners.

    -----

    What: Hiring in the Veterinary Profession: Why Lack of Speed Kills
    Who: Stacy Pursell
    Why: We are deep in the throes of a candidates' market. Discover how employers can (and need to!) make adjustments so they can consistently hire (and keep!) top talent and become an employer of choice. You'll walk away with a comprehensive plan to shorten the hiring process and make it more engaging and effective.

    -----

    What: The Psychology of Customer Acquisition
    Who: Robert Sanchez
    Why: Most people don't choose to do business with you because you're the least expensive or because you're conveniently located. They choose you because they trust you. Decision making is emotional. Learn how and why some practices are effective at cultivating relationships and growing while others fall short. 

    -----

    What: The Data Behind Loyalty Programs
    Who: Stacee Santi
    Why: If you've ever bought nine of anything and received your tenth of that same something for free you understand how loyalty programs work. Learn the psychology behind loyalty programs that influences today's client and find out how a loyalty program impacted client visits, service consumption, and practice revenue for 28 practices over 12 months. 

    -----

    What: Benchmark Based Profit Builder 
    Who: John Sheridan
    Why: We've all heard that veterinarians want to practice medicine, they don't want to run a business. But, the two go hand-in-hand. Learn how owners, managers, and team members can work together to take a systematic approach to identify and correct any underlying business-related issues and improve profitability. 

    -----

    What: How to Make Emotional Connections in Your Marketing (without it being like a Sarah McLachlan commercial)
    Who: Craig Spinks
    Why: Appealing to your audience's emotions (and doing it well) is difficult. Discover a simple process for identifying, capturing, and communicating emotional content while remaining genuine (not melodramatic). 

    -----

    What: Making $#!T Happen for Practices: Using Data to Increase Compliance and Revenue
    Who: Martin Traub-Werner
    Why: Because the title contains the word "$#!T." And, because data works. Learn the methodology, replicable process, and results of our preventive care studies that have increased compliance and practice revenue. 

    -----

    What: Where's the Relief? Shining a Light on an Underserved Veterinary Professional Niche
    Who: Cindy Trice
    Why: Veterinary relief services are desperately needed yet are underutilized, underrepresented, and misunderstood. The need for this business-to-business service is growing along with the exploding pet population and levels of compassion fatigue and career burn-out. Learn the benefits of being a relief vet, utilizing a relief service, and more.

    -----

    What: When Overachievers Become Underperformers and What to Do About It
    Who: Jess Trichel
    Why: Why do some of the brightest people underperform? We'll explore some of the root causes of underperformance and discuss how this impacts the veterinary profession. You'll learn how to help those underperformers achieve greater success.

    -----

    What: Improving Mental Health and Well-Being in the Veterinary Practice 
    Who: John Volk
    Why: Mental health has become a high-profile topic in the veterinary profession. Learn key findings of a mental health study conducted by Brakke Consulting, Merck Animal Health, and the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA), and discover tools that individual veterinary professionals can use to improve well-being.  

    -----

    Learn from your best and brightest peers serving the veterinary profession at the VetPartners Mid-Year Meeting, July 11-13, in Denver, Colorado. Register now! 

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