Deciding to buy your own vet practice is a pretty big leap. The decision should not be made lightly. Before you begin shopping for a practice, it's important that you start by asking yourself a few questions about whether or not you're truly ready to take on this challenge.
Do You See Yourself as an Entrepreneur?
This is an interesting question to get started with. Many veterinarians see themselves in the role of saving the world one animal at a time, but few veterinarians see themselves spending long hours behind a desk balancing budgets. It's important to know how your role will change as you become the owner of a practice, and that it may take you away from the animals and force you to spend more time being a business person.
What Motivates You?
This question actually encompasses a few different things. First, some people need a steady stream of rewards and praise to perform well. As the practice owner, it will be up to you to reward yourself, and your rewards may not come as steadily during the first few years as you build up your client list. If you aren't prepared to spend a few years working with minimal praise and rewards, you may not be ready to buy your own practice just yet. Becoming a practice owner often seems dreamy to these types of people because it will get the boss off their back and they can do whatever they want on their own schedule. Unfortunately, this isn't a recipe for a well run veterinary practice. Think long and hard about what motivates you and whether or not you are willing to hold off on short-term rewards in order to make your entire practice successful long term.
Is This Your Passion?
Do you love animals? Do you envision yourself staying on this career path for a very long time? Are you passionate about offering a higher standard of care than any other veterinary practice in your area? Being a practice owner can be tough, but it's even tougher if you're not 100 percent committed to the field. Nobody goes into business to be second best.
Do You Have a Support Team?
Whether it's your spouse, your parents, or even your associates, you need a strong team of people who believe in your vision. Make sure that you have their support before you dive in over your head. There will be days when you need their help.
There is plenty to think about before you begin shopping for your first veterinary practice. Many of these answers are very personal and you are the only one that can answer them honestly. You owe yourself an honest review of what you hope to get out of being a practice owner so you can make the right decision in the long run.
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