A growing business adds customers, expands inventory, buys equipment, and hires new staff. The future looks great on paper, but the additional expenses bring a cash crunch, particularly if collections are slow.
Dr. Brad Rosonke, owner of Hillside Animal Hospital in Scottsdale, Ariz., has little interest in dentistry. But he knows that offering dental services means better care for his patients. His solution: Hire a dental resident--in his case, Dr. Peter Bates--to visit his practice on a regular basis.
"This is a win-win-win situation," says Dr. Rosonke. "Dr. Bates needs to see more patients during his residency, I'm now free to see other patients while he's taking care of dental issues, and our clients get more complete care for their pets."
My office manager suggested that we discount hard-to-collect, 90-day-past-due accounts as an incentive to encourage patients to pay at least something. We'd offer up to 25 percent off the bill, depending on how much the patient pays. We'd require the patient to adhere to a payment schedule until the debt's paid off. Is this a good solution or does it contribute to the problem?
Neel Veterinary Hospital in Oklahoma City, a paperless practice that purchased its first computer and electronic medical record system in 1993, prides itself on its commitment to using the latest technology. “Adding computer radiography was a natural step in the evolution of our practice,” says co-owner Dr. Tina Neel.
Not all tax deductions are created equal. When it comes to building projects, the normal write-off for building costs is 39 years. However, with a little homework and the help of a builder and architect, you can accelerate deductions. The concept at work: cost segregation.
I have lost count of the number of occasions when I have written in this column that partnership in a veterinary practice is very similar to marriage. The analogy is one that potential partners must ignore at their peril. Nonetheless, joint ownership of a professional practice can be much like something else as well: a couple moving in together.
With the help of a patient-care coordinator, Veterinary Medical Clinic in Tampa, Fla., is seeing double-digit growth for the first time in years--and patients are enjoying even healthier lives, says practice owner Dr. Eddie Garcia. "The patient wins because it gets a better follow-up on what the doctor recommends and a better quality of life, and the client gets to enjoy the pet longer. The clinic wins because we're providing the service and making the income," he says.
Not long ago in a Midwestern town, the owner of Wylie Animal Hospital, a two-doctor practice, called our office for help. The caller, Dr. Rudy Wylie (a composite character based on real practitioners), was an established practitioner whose companion animal practice had always been able to pay its bills, give staff members an annual raise, and maintain its client base.
Small business owners are particularly vulnerable to the risks of a prolonged illness or disability, because they're often the business's main asset. In other words, the business's success often depends on the owner's ability to earn income. As a business owner, you need to protect both your personal and business income. And the right insurance provides that protection.
The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) cares about accurate classification of employees and independent contractors, but so does your state unemployment tax department. No one ever thinks he or she will get audited, and many practitioners are surprised to learn that state unemployment departments often audit more frequently than the IRS.