June 7, 2019
Early in my career, my goal was to sell a successful business that would allow financial stability for my retirement. Over the years however, I realized that the dynamics of veterinary medicine significantly changed – millennials have taught the older generation that mental and physical balance are equally important for a healthy lifestyle. As such, owning a business was no longer a priority for many veterinarians. Instead, the focus has become balancing life, family and career. Since my associates have generally been young, vibrant women starting families, they did not have an interest in practice ownership. Therefore, when I started thinking about succession planning, I knew that selling to an associate would be an unlikely option.
Succession planning should start when you are still healthy in mind and body. Because I started my planning earlier in life than most practice owners, it allowed me time to investigate options without the stress or pressure to sell.
Understanding My Values
Like many business owners, I started my business from scratch and was completely invested in my practice, staff, clients and community. There were several key factors that were important to me:
- I wanted my business to continue having my name on the front door.
- I wanted my beliefs in progressive veterinary medicine to continue.
- I wanted my staff, my clients, my patients and my community to be treated with professionalism, respect and the highest quality of care.
VetStrategy understood these values, embraced these beliefs and supported my philosophy.
I was a little surprised at the calm, relaxed and accommodating discussions I had with VetStrategy. Through their experience, they recognized the emotional involvement I had for my veterinary business and respected my wishes for a fair financial compensation. They understood my many requests and ensured that the culture I developed would continue.
Sharing the News
Telling the staff that I sold my practice was very difficult. Although it came as a surprise to them, they trusted my decision. VetStrategy introduced themselves and came in as a partner and support network rather than a controlling force. Over time, any initial worries the staff had after the announcement had completely disappeared. It was reassuring to them to see that VetStrategy was not making major changes to the practice, but was instead focusing on building upon the existing culture and relationships.
Improving the Practice
True to their promise, there was no name change to the hospital. When it comes to veterinary medicine, there is no interference with how we practice nor is there any type of protocol that we must follow. They trust us to do our work the way we believe is best for our patients and clients.
Because of their strong expertise in management, their flexible and understanding structure, and their focus on promoting a team environment, they helped to improve my practice. They have done so by:
- Ensuring that we have the proper equipment and staff necessary to be successful.
- Taking care of management, marketing, and other tasks that veterinarians do not enjoy.
- Providing valuable benefits and continuing education opportunities for the staff.
- Understanding the importance of maintaining both a healthy mind and body.
- Treating each individual member with fairness and respect.
VetStrategy promotes a positive culture that respects and encourages individual identities. They develop personal relationships with employees so we can be the best we can while maintaining the professionalism of veterinary medicine.
Any owner considering selling their practice should consider VetStrategy as your number one option. I promise that you will not regret your decision. I wanted my legacy to continue and VetStrategy is persistent in continuing that legacy for me.
Written by Dr. Lisa Lomsnes
Previous Owner of Lomsnes Veterinary Hospital
Red Deer, AB