Dr. Kirk Smith and his partner, Dr. Jackie Bastien, owners of Amesbury Animal Hospital in Amesbury, Mass., have recently held
several strategic planning meetings on their budget. Their long-term goals involve moving to a much-needed larger space within
the next 12 to 18 months. While the practice has experienced 4 percent to 10 percent growth each year for the past decade,
with the current economic challenges, the doctors are expecting 2009 to be a flat year. They've planned to offset rising costs
by reducing the amount they contribute to their employees' healthcare and retirement funds. They also hope this will free
up some cash to make the expected move. So far this budgeting plan seems to be working. "We think we've had a successful year
just with a flat revenue vs. a decrease in revenue," Dr. Smith says.