I have been practicing veterinary medicine since 1971, and over the years have lived through both the wrong way and the right way to run a practice. After graduating from Cornell, I had a clinic in Massachusetts. But in a few short years, I was burned out.
I assumed I simply needed to improve my skills so I sold that practice and did specialty surgical training at the University of Georgia at Athens. I then took over a practice in Athens, but soon found myself again overworked, underpaid and burned out. Instead of me running the staff, they were running me and they weren’t doing a very good job of it. I was confident and competent as a veterinarian, so the problem clearly lay elsewhere.
I began a search for help in the area of practice management. When I was introduced to Sterling in 1986 and saw their introductory seminar, what they said made a great deal of sense. Rather than just offering a bunch of opinions, they had a simple system that showed me how my practice was doing, where the weak points lay and the steps I needed to take to build the practice I wanted. The biggest difference between Sterling and other management companies was that, instead of just expecting me to follow their advice, they trained me in how to be a better manager and that makes all the difference. Once you learn something, you can use it for the rest of your life.
The results from the Sterling program were immediate. As I started to put order into the practice and got people working more efficiently, the production and income began to rise and continued to go up for years. Surprisingly, managing the practice also became fun. The program gave me a new life.
Utilizing Sterling’s system, I enlarged my 1200-square-foot office to one four times that size and I had two or three associates, depending on how many hours I wanted to work. The practice was grossing eight times what it was when I started with Sterling, and there was an even greater increase in my net. The place was running so smoothly, I was able to take as much as six months off a year.
Free of financial pressures, I decided to relocate. I sold that practice and moved to Florida where I opened my third practice. Once again, I used what I had learned from Sterling and have built a very successful practice and am working just 35 hours a week. We just had our highest January ever in this practice. A key to my success is having the right staff and making sure they are trained. I notice that when they are trained in the office, it spills over into their personal lives which further helps them and the practice.
Cornell and the University of Georgia did an excellent job of training me as a veterinarian. Sterling did the same for me as a practice owner. Having both those skills makes it possible for me to have a fulfilling and enjoyable life.
George Malnati, DVM