Pursuing a career in veterinary medicine entails a serious commitment to a lifetime worth of learning. Even after vet school, you are still expected to continue building your education to keep up with novel techniques and technologies. And now that you’re interested in starting your own veterinary practice, you will have to learn even more.
It is one thing to become a capable veterinarian when running a clinic, especially if you’re still starting. You are also a businessman, responsible for operating a successful enterprise. With that said, you really have to consider some concerns about how you will finance your practice? What about your competitors? Will you hire some staff?
The above issues may be overwhelming, but there is no reason for you to feel defeated. Many successful veterinarians were once in your shoes. To help you decide, here are some helpful tips when starting your veterinary practice this 2021.
Get Comfortable Being a Practitioner First
Starting your own practice will take loads of preparation from you, so it’s probably better if you get a few years of experience as a veterinarian before venturing into a business. This step is essential as you will want to ensure that your skills are well-developed and be aware of what it’s like working with several clients.
Being a full-time practitioner before venturing into business can also give you an edge now that you know what goes around the clinic. Working with tools such as veterinary scheduling software when you are still a practitioner will teach you a thing or two when handling a clinic of your own successfully.
Form a Team of Professionals
Building a solid team of professionals is crucial for every starting entrepreneur. For your veterinary practice, the lineup may consist, but doesn’t have to be limited to, a practice consultant, accountant, banker, and architect. When forming your team, never make rash decisions; you must work with people who fully understand the industry well.
For instance, work with a bank that understands how veterinary clinics operate. Or look for a practice consultant who regularly works with veterinarians. You can also consult a licensed architect who has designed several veterinary clinics and an accountant who knows the financial nuances of veterinary practices.
Decide on the Perfect Practice-Location
Once you finally set up the members of your dream team, it is time for you to think of your practice’s bigger picture: your location, services offered, and species treated. You must differentiate your business from the other clinics around your chosen area.
Hiring an efficient consultant plays a significant role in conducting a location analysis to know what areas you can support. You wouldn’t want to start your practice in an area with a declining population or is saturated with several veterinarians.
Create Financial Projections and a Business Plan
After you’re done deciding on the location and services offered by your veterinary practice, you should start creating a business plan and three-year financial projections. A start-up veterinary clinic is usually funded by the Small Business Administration (SBA).
During an SBA loan’s approval process, the bank will require a solid business plan, along with three years of financial projections, from you. In those projections, you need to provide a specific month-to-month breakdown for the first two years.
Your business plan will heavily rely on your resume and your previous veterinary and management experiences. And the three-year financial projections will include net income, gross income numbers, cost of goods sold, and other practice expenses. These numbers are gathered so the bank can assess your proposed business’ cash flow.
Know Where to Get Your Funds
At this point, you must know what your budget is and has already found a good veterinary-specific lender. SBA loans will require a downpayment of 10% from you, and that will include a term of as long as 25 years if real estate is included in the transaction.
As mentioned above, you need to work with a bank and an SBA lending that fully understands how the veterinary industry works and can tailor the loan according to your financial needs. A start-up practice will usually need funds for working capital, equipment, fixtures, inventory, furniture, and leasehold improvements.
Deciding to buy a commercial space will also add to your financial needs. When starting your veterinary practice in a leased property, the borrower will usually look at loans that range from $400,000 to $600,000. Hiring a licensed architect is crucial in this stage as they can help you determine if your property is a reasonable option for a start-up veterinary practice.
The courage it takes for an individual to purchase an existing practice is great. But pursuing after a start-up business, including building up a clientele, purchasing the necessary equipment, and filling the doctor’s role, is a big task. For an ambitious individual like you, the tips and steps mentioned above may help you reach your dreams successfully.