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Where the Practice Team Comes Together


Chairs: Georgina Hills, IVC and VMG and Alan Robinson, Vet Dynamics

Productivity for Profit – Colm McGinn, XL Vets

What percentage of your vets’ time is chargeable?  The chances are in first opinion practice, particularly if you do your own OOHs, the figure will be less that 50%; something that would horrify other professional service providers such as dentists or lawyers.  While there are understandable reasons for this, many practices could improve profitability by focussing on staff productivity.  Efficient IT systems, clear job descriptions, upskilling nurses, consistent and well communicated protocols with consequences when they are not followed.  These are some of the practical steps you could implement to improve productivity to increase profitability.  Colm McGinn shares his own thoughts and those of senior XL vets.

Business Strategy for Vet Practice – Matthew Diffey, The Vet Group

Whether you are looking to set new business priorities, plan for growth or just continue what you are doing but do it better, you need a business strategy. Arguably, in the rapidly changing veterinary landscape, having a clear strategy for your business is more important than ever. Matt Diffey, Head of Strategy and Commercial Initiatives at the Pets at Home Vet Group, will share his perspective on how to think about the strategy for your practice, building on his experience from the veterinary profession and at leading management consultancy Bain & Company.

Managing and Motivate the Team to Drive Performance: a clinical case study – Nick Steele, Zoetis

Nick Steele from Zoetis will use dermatology as a case study to show how setting goals and strategy, monitoring progress by tracking key figures and then identifying successes and failures can lift profit.  A key part of the process is engaging and empowering the practice team by setting clearly defined and measurable targets with a clearly defined plan for how these might be achieved.  This will include a strategy for communicating and engaging with clients and a clear pricing policy.  This model can then be applied to other areas of both clinical and preventative medicine within practice.

Stock Control from a Profit Perspective – Anita Bates, VetShare 

What’s on your shelf and how you control it can have a massive effect on both cash flow and profitability.  You can buy better without compromising clinical freedom purely by considering the active ingredient rather than brand.  With respect to buying, bulk doesn’t always mean better; a great price for too much product won’t help profit.  Anita Bates will also discuss how to deploy stock managers (ie a mix of buying / stock control/ protocols and systems).

Own your Management Accounts and make them your most potent weapon! 

Tracey Morley-Jewkes, Blacks Vets

Good management accounts are key to making the good business decisions for sustainable competitive advantage.  They can also be a potent weapon and a key to stress free decision making when your Partners or vets want something, from a new piece of kit to more nurses. Decide what profit you want at the end of the year and then set a budget that achieves that.  You can then measure this month by month to show if you are on target.  Q1 sets the temperature guage for future success or failure, end of Q2 shows clearly which levers need to be pulled hardest to stay on track.  If you are ahead of the game, how are you performing against industry benchmarks and what would you have to do to become THE most financially successful practice?

Are you Missing a Gold Nugget in Your Tin Mine? – Mark O’Byrne, Hills

Working or owning a veterinary business can be rewarding, both emotionally and financially. We all hope that the business we have invested our time and resources in turns out to be a gold mine. Everyone these days is talking about “mining” something or other whether it is cryptocurrencies or data. If you have a little gold mine, you need to know where to look for the gold,  find it and make it work for you with little time lost.  Mark O’Byrne shares ideas and case study projects where Hills have worked with practices to generate new profit from e-commerce, retail and/or nurse clinics.  The results are impressive, revealing sources of income from your existing practice that can be generated with very little extra effort.  In many cases, all the work comes from your existing staff who are motivated and energised as a result.

The Art and Science of Pricing (and charging) – Nick Steele, Zoetis

How do you set the right price for your products and services; that is one that delivers value for your clients and profit for the practice.  Too many businesses set prices to compete with their neighbours when the starting point should be how much profit you need to make.  Nick will bring insight from Profit Solver to make national comparisons and help you understand some of the common challenges and misconceptions around pricing.  He will offer an off the shelf approach which you can adopt within your practice. 

Health Plans: who says we can’t sign up 60% – Tracey Morley-Jewkes, Blacks Vets

Blacks Vets have increased the uptake of their Health Plans from 23% to 54% in two years and their MD, Tracey Morley-Jewkes is convinced they can break the 60% barrier.  And this is in a mixed income area in the Black Country, not affluent home counties.  Tracey came from a non-vet background and applied completely new thinking to re-organise the offer, repackage and rebrand before setting out to get the whole team on board, understanding that different sub-teams would have different motivations.  In this session she tells the story with very practical and accessible tips that you can follow in your own practice.

What should your PMS do for your practice? – Marcus Evans, Active Vetcare and CVS

Is your Practice Management System a key tool in your financial planning and accounting? If not, it should be according to Marcus Evans, Head of PMS for CVS. Marcus experiences many practices not using their PMS to its full potential and in this session will list some basics you should be able to achieve with any system from billing and inventory management to creating composite and macro price bundles; from analysis, compliance and PSS configuration. You don’t have to be a tech wizard to ensure your system is working for you as efficiently as it should.

Change your Mind Set to Shift Your Bottom Line Tracey Morley-Jewkes, Marcus Evans, Mark O’Byrne, Matt Diffey and Nick Steele.

Chaired by Alan Robinson

Alan Robinson has been talking to vet practice about how to lift profitability for many many years and much of what he says hasn’t changed significantly.  Recently he’s started to wonder why it is so many vet practices still lag behind other service businesses when it comes to profitability and productivity.  His conclusion is that mindset has a big part to play.  In this session, with the help of a panel of vets, managers and consultants from practice and industry he examines the key characteristics of a truly profitable practice.


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