It’s no secret that today’s veterinarians face a number of challenges that our predecessors didn’t. Oversupply of veterinarians, educational indebtedness and loss of pharmacy revenue to major retailers are but a few issues facing the profession. I’ll be writing about all of these in the coming weeks, but each of these “clouds” has a distinct silver lining if you know how to find it. As a practicing veterinarian and, more recently, an MBA student I have come to grips with one cold, hard fact: that’s business. While challenges certainly exist, we must remember that the wind is at our back in many important ways. The pet industry is one of very few TRULY recession resistant industries in the US. Americans spent over $50 billion on their pets last year, despite tough economic times, with veterinary medicine representing about $14 billion of that total. More and more people are considering pets to be members of the family, and this is a meta-‐trend that I believe will continue for the foreseeable future. Will our profession be the same in 10 years as it is now? No, it won’t. Rather than grow frustrated about market realities that may be beyond our control, we all must redouble our efforts on those things we CAN do something about. For example, don’t get overwhelmed by how fast computer technology is changing or that you don’t understand “the cloud”. Focus on making small, easily reversible decisions that will grow your practice. Even if something doesn’t work, you want to “fall forward”. For example, do you have a website? Are you on Facebook? You may not be online, but I promise you that your clients are. Ignore this at your peril.
In my next post I’ll take up the topic of pet insurance, and why you should be embracing it in your practice. And I don’t mean just putting brochures up front and hoping people ask about it. I mean you, your technicians, and front desk staff should ALL be discussing it with each and every one of your clients, ESPECIALLY during puppy visits.
About Mark D. Olcott, DVM: Originally from upstate New York, Dr. Olcott received his Bachelor’s degree in Biology from State University of New York at Geneseo. He graduated from the New York State College of Veterinary Medicine at Cornell University in 1995 and moved south to get away from the 6-month long winters! After an 18 month stint as an equine veterinarian, he has been a small animal practitioner since 1997. Over the last several years he has been the co-owner of 5 DVM small practice, a mobile ultrasonographer, and an emergency clinician at The Life Centre in Leesburg, VA. Dr. Olcott has particular interests in cardiology, pain management, and the use of ultrasound as a diagnostic modality in small animal practice. He is a published author, and holds two patents for an intelligent, automated pet feeder he invented.
He lives in metro Washington, DC area with his wife and 3 children. They have numerous pets including a dog, 3 cats, a rabbit and a saltwater tropical fish tank. Dr. Olcott in enrolled in the executive MBA program at the University of Maryland, and in his limited free time is an avid outdoors-man.