How to Use a Business Loan to Improve your Veterinary Practice
Unfortunately, even if your veterinary office is successful, by the time you pay bills and fulfill other recurring expenses, it can be challenging to gather enough capital to invest in improvements. Luckily, you can receive the additional financing that you need by pursuing a small business loan! Keep reading to gain ideas on how you can use a business loan to make your veterinary practice a success.
1. Update Technology – If you don’t have state-of-the-art medical technology, you can’t provide pets with the care they require. Therefore, if you’re noticing that equipment is slow or outdated, utilize your loan to invest in updated MRI technology, ultrasounds, and other machinery. Your patients will have peace-of-mind when they find out that you can perform procedures in-house, and you won’t have to worry about your current tools breaking or being inaccurate.
2. Focus on Marketing – To attract new customers, you’ll need to pay for marketing strategies. Although you might be satisfied with your current client-base, it is always possible that you could lose some of this business. In addition, it’s important to note that customer acquisition is critical to ensuring business growth. By investing in marketing expenses such as direct mail materials, website updates, and print advertising space, you’ll appeal to new customers who will hopefully become loyal patrons.
3. Hire Additional Employees – Don’t risk losing customers due to long wait times. If your waiting room is filled with customers and appointment times are missed, you’ll start to lose business. This will be even more likely if you have animals with urgent needs that you’re unable to attend to (if you’re advertised as having an emergency room and aren’t appointment-only).
To combat this, hire more support staff members who can assist customers, eliminate wait times, and ensure that each day runs smoothly. If you have larger needs, you might even consider hiring another veterinarian. Although you might be apprehensive to spend more money on paying employees, it can save your business from future failure.
4. Update Your Waiting Room – When customers are waiting for their pet’s appointments, you should make it as comfortable as possible for them. If your waiting room has seen better days, it might be time to invest in new, comfortable furniture. In addition, try to make pet owners’ experience more enjoyable by installing TVs, providing magazines, and offering water and coffee. Having a sick pet can be stressful, and even if they are visiting for shots or other routine needs, you should strive to accommodate them as much as possible.
5. Purchase Retail Inventory – When applying for a business loan, it’s important to consider how you can use it to grow your business. In addition to providing veterinary care, why not offer retail items that pet owners can purchase after appointments. Aim to become a one-stop shop where pet owners can get medical care and necessary items all in one spot. Consider offering inventory such as:
- Pet food
- Leashes and collars
- Beds and cages
- Grooming tools
To purchase this inventory, you can use your business loan, or form a partnership with a local pet store in which you buy items from them, and in exchange they’ll refer their customers to your practice. By offering inventory, you can tap into another market and create an additional revenue stream for your business!
Let your passion for animals shine through by investing in your veterinary practice. Your customers will notice that you’re taking pride in your business, which will ultimately lead to increased sales. If you have other ideas for how to utilize a veterinary business loan, tell us in the comment section below!
Editorial Note: Any opinions, analyses, reviews or recommendations expressed in this article are those of the author's alone, and have not been reviewed, approved, or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.