Keeping the balance as a practice owner
Being a vet can be challenging enough in terms of maintaining a balance between work and home life. Add in being a practice owner or partner and it simply increases the challenge of the balancing act. The responsibilities of managing a practice, keeping staff and clients happy and still managing a full work load requires a great deal of energy and organisation. Here are our suggestions of things to take into consideration which may help you manage the daily operations of a practice so that it’s less stressful for everyone.
Define the goals and boundaries of the practice
This may seem logical and in your mind you may already have a vision for where you want the practice to be in five or ten years’ time, but unless you articulate it and share your vision with your partners and employees, they won’t understand why some things are more important to you than others. This also sets the parameters for negotiation when it comes to employee benefits and flexibility in working hours.
Having a clear vision and articulated goals also helps in decision making. When faced with a new opportunity or option, the first question to ask is does it align with the vision for the practice? If the answer is yes, then take the time to explore it. If the answer is no, then you can simply move on and not spend valuable time debating something that won’t add value to the practice in the long term.
As part of your vision be sure to include specific annual financial goals. This is important because the vision also forms the framework for business operations planning and helps you to keep things in check. If you have goals by which to measure your success it becomes easier to make financial decisions.
Create a succession plan for the practice
You may enjoy being involved in every aspect of the practice, but from a business perspective it’s not sustainable. The practice needs to be able to operate effectively without you. Learn to delegate some operation tasks to admin staff. This will not only free up some of your time, it will also empower your employees and give them a sense of responsibility.
Have conversations with your employees so that you can get to know what their career ambitions are. Having this information will help you balance their expectations with what the practice can offer. It’ll also help you decide how their career plans can align with the business vision and where they will fit into succession planning.
Make wellness and life balance a priority
While it is something that we all know is important, if we don’t prioritise it as a goal, it often gets sidelined, because, well, things need to get done and there is no-one else to do it! The simple truth is that that when we prioritise aspects of our life, we achieve those goals, even if only in part. There’s no hope of achieving balance in your practice and personal life if it isn’t made a priority, because work situations will always crop up.
While your vision may be your guide in terms of making decisions, acknowledge that situations and priorities may change over time. Being adaptable and being open to new ideas may actually help you build a stronger business. As long as ideas support your vision and help you achieve a better balance they may well be worth exploring.