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One Bite at a Time!

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Improving practice culture, improving practice profitability: topics easy to talk about, often challenging to implement, often overwhelming for veterinary practices. How do we best implement change? One bite at a time! Break it down and simplify – keep it simple, keep it simple, keep it simple!

The AVMA Practice Profitability Workshop breaks the opportunity into four simple, easily understood baskets: finance, operations, strategy, and economics. Keep it simple, break it down.

Does finance affect veterinary practice? Basic accounting principles impact practices daily. Recording and analyzing financial ratios to track practice financial performance allows the practice to set goals and track progress. Impactful, accurate financial statements allow practices to identify opportunities to improve.

How does your practice operate? How would you describe your practice culture? Practice staff must be strategically allocated to build effective teams capable of achieving practice goals, professional goals, and personal goals.

Practice strategy directly impacts a practice's relationships with animal owners. Can you leverage preventative care, dentistry, grooming, and dietary sales to increase relevancy with animal owners? Are there strategies to increase animal owner demand for professional services? Can your practice streamline functions resulting in greater efficiency and higher profits?

What are the demographics of the practice's animal owners? What is the practice's market? What effect does the local economy have on the practice's market? What effect does the general U.S. economy have on the practice's market?

Veterinary practices, owners, and key leaders have two excellent opportunities to take advantage of in the coming months. The highly acclaimed AVMA Practice Profitability Workshop, sponsored by your WVMA, is in Madison on March 25-26. Also, consider attending July's 2017 AVMA Convention Practice Profitability Workshop in Indianapolis. Learn to break it down, learn to keep it simple – attend one of these workshops!

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Presidents Message

Essential Opportunity, Essential Lessons

Twenty-six years have passed since I lived the rookie season trials and tribulations as a practicing veterinarian, in many respects it seems as though it's yesterday, in other respects it seems as though a lifetime has passed.

As approximately 4,000 2017 veterinary medical school graduates enter rookie seasons, essential lessons will be learned. You're smart, you're hard-working, you're motivated, you're accomplished. Don't let anyone tell you otherwise. You've just completed one of the most rigorous professional curriculums, you've earned your Doctor of Veterinary Medicine degree. Congratulations!
It's time to be proud, walk tall, look people squarely in the eye, shake their hand firmly and confidently and most importantly – smile!

You've accomplished that, which is for most veterinarians a lifelong quest. Now, the learning curve starts all over. Your knowledge of the basic principles of medicine, surgery, pathology and clinical pathology will never be greater; the new challenge? Applying these principles to the practice of veterinary medicine.

It's time to identify your opportunity; it abounds in animal health. Don't settle for the same old manner of doing things. Have the courage to say yes to opportunity. Have the courage to blaze new trails. Urgently pursue your dreams and your vision. In this instance 26 years goes by in the blink of an eye.

It's time to hone your medical and surgical skills; strive to be a kind, caring, highly skilled clinician; develop your mentoring and business management repertoires; raise your level of personal finance acumen. Be willing to be mentored. Leverage technology. Be humble, be grateful, be thankful you're part of society's most respected profession.

It's time to advance to the highest level, always seek excellence and expand your knowledge base. Visit the finest practices, associate with those you emulate, attend the premier continuing education events, find a way to just do it and do it all!

It's time to treat those complex medical cases, perform those challenging surgeries, don't think you always need to settle for referring these cases just when they become most interesting. Once a week do something professionally that makes your palms sweat and resist the temptation to embrace routine!

It's time to put your feet in the sand and dip your toes in the ocean, yes, but it's also time to roll up your sleeves and prepare to do the heavy lifting. It's easy to talk the talk, now you must walk the walk. Bring value to all you do – your life, your practice, your professional relationships, your personal relationships. Be intentional with your personal finances, take care of yourself physically and mentally. Don't hesitate to reach out for assistance. Our profession is a small one with great resources: leverage them!

Ladies and gentlemen, our profession needs you. There is a lot of good work to be done. Please know, you can make a difference. Follow your heart, determine what you truly want and go after it, the opportunity is vast. Your greatest legacy will be the lives you touch, commit to develop them to their greatest potential. Be wise, be savvy, be daring.

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