An extraordinary situation is occurring in the fabric of our profession, economy, and daily lives. No practice, pet, or person will be untouched by the COVID-19 pandemic. Yet, there is much reason for hope and optimism about recovery and eventual return to normalcy. When that happens, it will be a new normal, with new lessons and a refreshed understanding of what it means to survive and thrive as a veterinarian.
As part of our commitment to support the veterinary community through this emergency, the AVMA is developing resources to help practices adapt, survive, and even thrive. We also are applying our economic expertise and research to understand the impact of COVID-19 on our economy and what it means to veterinary practices as small businesses.
3 Cs for business survival
What should practices do to weather current and future economic changes caused by the COVID-19 crisis? A critical strategy for action boils down to what can be called the 3 Cs: cash flow, communication, and the CARES Act.
A critical concern for veterinary practices, especially in the face of reduced client visits and ongoing costs, is maintaining cash flow. There are two aspects to this: inflow (revenue) and outflow (expenses). Many veterinary practice owners and managers already are implementing innovative strategies to manage cash flow. Maintaining cash flow during COVID-19 provides insight to help on both the revenue and expense side.
Having a strong line of communication with clients during and after the pandemic is critical. This is a time when veterinary practices can really strengthen and nurture client relationships. Likewise, team communication is essential. In this unprecedented time, there will be fear and anxiety among team members, and the simple act of listening can build trust and connectivity. Learn how communication creates business success, and what that might look like in your practice.
CARES Act (and other relief provisions)
Congress has taken unprecedented steps to respond to the COVID-19 outbreak and its impact on individuals, families, businesses, the health system and medical supply chain, and the economy. Two extensive packages of legislation were enacted in March 2020—the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA) and the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES Act). Veterinarians should understand the provisions and learn which options may be best for individual circumstances. The business measures include: