Investing the time and money in business education can be a hard pill to swallow for veterinarians and practice managers that are already too busy to do the jobs they have to do. Add to that the challenges of finding the time for one’s family, or even the time to recharge our own batteries. Thinking of spending time on business education leads to a short conversation when the subject comes up because nobody thinks they need it bad enough to go through the perceived pain of spending time on one more thing. I want to be a great spouse, an engaged parent, give back to my community, and then afterwards I just want to chill out so I can prepare for the next day. Sound familiar?
Reality versus perception is something we all face as vets. How many of our clients come to see us with their pets with the totally wrong impression about what we charge, or what the the problem is with their pet, or the need for fecal or heartworm testing. We often think that if our clients understood the health needs of their pets better than they could prevent so many diseases that bring them to us. Think of business knowledge in the same way. If we knew more about business we would be able to manage our businesses better and prevent, or minimize the difficult issues that inevitably come to haunt small business owners. To that end here is my list of the Top 5 Reasons Veterinarians Need Business Education.
Increased Professional Satisfaction
Business education must offer a payoff to a veterinarian business owner by allowing them the chance to be a better veterinarian, as well as having their business offer improved medical care. The smart business owner can manage the business so that they can afford the best medical equipment, as well as vets and staff that are highly trained in the latest veterinary care standards. That has to be the minimum outcome of a business education. We came into the profession because we wanted to be excellent veterinarians and one of our goals should always have this front and center. As a veterinary business owner having a business education will reduce the everyday stresses that distract us from our patients and clients. We can focus on delivering the best care that we can from a solid foundation of a strong business.
Better Personal Life
If we are going to spend time and money on improving our business skills we should expect that we will have the time, energy and focus for our families. With our knowledge we have less business distractions because we aren’t putting out fires everyday relating to our business. We have less stress because we aren’t worrying about finances, or HR issues (more below). We have a plan in place that our business is part of our retirement strategy. Finally, we have learned time management and we apply that to our professional and personal lives.
Harmonious Work Environment
Every person I have met that owns and operates their own business puts Human Resources in their top 2 things they hate to do with their business. Business training will give you the skills and ability to hire and manage staff better. It will help you review the job performance of your employees and pay them appropriately. Gone are the days of coughing up an annual raise for everyone while you wonder if it is enough, or too much. Finally, everyone at work is engaged and aligned with the vision of the business. They enjoy their jobs and the people they work for. Going to work can be fun.
You have a Business with a Plan
One of the outcomes of any formal business education is the ability and desire to develop a long term plan for your business. With this come the skills to assess the competitive environment, as well as the national and global economic forecasts. You won’t necessarily be an economist but you will be able to read, or view the news and be able to understand how the the changes in your country, or overseas markets will affect your business now, or in a few years. Along with this long term view will be the ability to make your business part of your retirement plans. You will have something to sell that has value and will give you a return for the hard work, sleepless nights, and depleted bank accounts that can come with any struggling business.
One of the best things from the Executive MBA I completed were the friendships I gained with fellow students. I quickly realized that I don’t have all the answers or skills required for every situation, so it’s better to have colleagues that I can use as sounding boards for ideas, or challenges. These people have complimentary styles of thinking, or perceiving a situation that can only benefit you. On the flip side you offer the same value to your classmates, now friends, because not everyone has the analytical thinking that is part of our training. A business education does not have to be at a MBA level; It can be going to conferences, or workshops. You will still be exposed to different people that can become colleagues and advisors.
The type of business education we want is very personal. It depends on the time, support and finances available, as well as availability and learning styles. There are so many options out there that can accommodate all styles of needs that picking what is best for you becomes the biggest challenge, and not should I pursue some type of business education. We know that the outcome can lead us to professional and personal health, makes work more fun, increases our wealth, and gives us a network of confidantes that we can rely on for years to come. If you should get a business education has been answered, the question is what kind is best for you. With the numerous options out there a little research will solve that question.