March 2017



Phone (908) 823-4607-

Emergency Succession Planning for a Sole Owner

Ahhhhhh, you did it!  Relaxing on the beach enjoying your first vacation since you opened your veterinary practice a decade ago.  You start thinking about how far you have come building your business from the ground up and finally reaching the point where you can take some time off to relax and recharge.  The water looks so blue and inviting.  You wade into the shallow waters taking in the sights:  the sun, the clouds, the birds, the waves, the shark fin...shark fin!?  You quickly scramble out of the water, thinking, "I should have taken shark week more seriously!"  Naturally you identify the shark, from the safety of the shoreline, as a bull shark, one of the most aggressive sharks in the ocean!  What if that shark had attacked you and left you unable to run the practice?  You go back to your beach chair and pi├▒a colada (with an umbrella, of course) and get to thinking.  What
would happen to your business if tragedy stuck?  How would your family, employees, and business you worked so hard to build handle your loss?

These types of questions are not fun to think about but need to be a serious consideration for any small business owner.  Emergency succession planning is crucial for preventing terrible consequences in the event of the loss of a sole practice owner.  Every business should have a plan in place to protect the business and the people behind the business. 
What is Emergency Succession Planning? Why is it Important?
Emergency succession planning involves creating a strategy that outlines how to keep a business functioning normally if the sole owner dies or becomes incapacitated.  Emergency succession planning differs from typical succession planning in that the latter entails the transfer of ownership of a business over time in a preplanned fashion.  Emergency succession planning focuses on the immediate loss of an owner without the luxury of a transition period and helps to prevent uncertainty for your business, your team, and your family.  

VBA Extern- 
Tierney Roche

Tierney Roche  is a 4 th year student at the University of Pennsylvania.  Next year, she will be moving back home to Maryland and working in D.C. as one of twelve rotating interns at Friendship Hospital for Animals.  She is considering a residency in lab animal medicine, surgery, or emergency, but has always been interested in practice management.  She is eager to explore all the different paths one can take with a veterinary degree and hopes that her Externship at VBA will deepen her understanding of the business opportunities in the field of veterinary medicine.  She received her B.S. in Science-Business from the University of Notre Dame (Go Irish!) and was the first person in her family to pursue a medically related career.  In her abundant free time as a vet student, Tierney likes to read, run, and play basketball.  She is also attempting to learn German. 

In This Issue
Veterinary Practices Posting Pet Pictures on Social Media
As the employees of a veterinary practice know, one of the side benefits of the job is getting to meet and interact with adorable animals! You get to see the sweetest of kitty faces and the melting eyes of a lovable pup, and more. It can be tempting to photograph them, perhaps to share them with others in the practice who were off that day, or to use in your practice's marketing materials.

But, is that acceptable? Done correctly, the answer is yes. An article in Veterinary Business DMV 360's site covers this topic, and shares how a practice in Arkansas - Azzore Veterinary Specialists - photographs each patient. They put the picture in the pet's electronic health record, and also post the photos on their Facebook page and Twitter feed. 

What's most important: getting the client's permission first. Simply ask the client to sign a photography release form when checking in. You can use this form as written or tweak it to fit your practice's specific needs. People may occasionally refuse to sign, but most are willing.

Beyond Just Posting Pictures

This practice goes a step further, providing online updates on social media. How well has that gone over? Well! The article says that "most clients understand that the purpose of posting photos is to keep them in the know-and to educate others who are simply following the action. Typical posts might explain that the pet 'made it through surgery just fine,' 'is awake,' or 'is resting well after her procedure.'"

Originally featured in The Social DVM


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