Starting out any new business venture is daunting.

Yet as every successful business owner will tell you, it all comes down to smart planning.

So we lay out our top 6 tips for those who are venturing into practice ownership in 2023.

6 tips for starting out your own practice

  1. Develop a business plan

    Before you even consider starting a new business, it is vital to create a business plan. It’s the blueprint for your practice.

    It allows you to plan out your goals and objectives, identify potential hazards and project your future financials. It will help you lay out the various stages of opening your business including key dates, staffing, pricing, leasing agreements, location, insurance and services offered.

    Additionally, forecasting your financials will help you to set pricing and give you an indication as to your break-even point and expected cash flow. So many new start-ups miss this key step which can break your business.

  2. Finance and funding

    Starting a practice is an expensive exercise. Having a good credit rating and a solid business plan with financial forecasts will go a long way to obtaining finance. In fact, it is now not just preferred, it is a required from the banks.

    There are also specialist veterinary lending specialists who may fund your entire start-up costs and provide additional working capital as needed.

    This funding arrangement requires a personal loan guarantee whereby if the practice fails to meet payments, it comes down to you personally to meet your obligations.

    Graduated payments are also a good option whereby loan repayments increase over time as you build and grow your practice.

  3. Decide on a Business Structure

    Before you launch your practice you need to decide on a structure. Your accountant or financial advisor will be able to assist with this and advise you on the taxation implications and debt liability of each, whether it be a sole trader, partnership or company.

    You will be required to submit your chosen structure when registering your ABN and business name with ASIC.

  4. Find your place

    Location, location, location.

    The same principles apply when choosing the right business location as it does to private property. It can pay to align yourself with a commercial real estate broker in order to find the ideal location for your practice.

    Ask about their history in placing vet practices in the past and their knowledge of zoning restrictions.

  5. Sign a lease

    Now is the time to get serious and sign a lease.

    This is a vital stage of your set-up so it is highly recommended to engage a legal representative to assist you with this stage of the process.

    They will be able to help you to understand the components of the lease (especially all the fine print you may tend to skim over).

    Your legal representative will help you to negotiate a lease that works as much in your favour as possible.

  6. Start Hiring

    It is now time to start building your team.

    Before you do so, familiarise yourself with as much employer information as possible. Know your employee rights and your obligations as an employer. The more information you can arm yourself with, the better.

    Before you sign your first employee, have a detailed policies and procedures manual, ready to hand over as soon as you employ your staff to read.

    Upon employment, every team member should be given a copy of the manual, sign and return with a copy kept on their file. If there are any grievances in the future, you have this document to return and refer to as needed. Ensure to update the document yearly.

Following these 6 steps will put you on the right path to opening your own practice and giving it the best chance of future success.

If you’d like to chat to us about your veterinary clinic operations and team, give our team a call. We are experts in assisting veterinarians purchase, sell and manage their clinics across Australia.