Animal Clinic looks to Florida SBDC at USF for business insight
Fort Meade Animal Clinic of Polk County
Being a full service animal clinic, compassion and integrity are at the heart of the Fort Meade Animal Clinic’s practice.
Fort Meade Animal Clinic has been in this tight-knit community of southeast Polk County for more than 30 years, but was purchased by Dr. Lori Shank and her husband Brian Ackley approximately six years ago. Bringing modern veterinarian medicines to a rural area at an affordable cost was a major challenge for the practice.
“A lot of our time is spent on those major emotional situations with clients and not enough time is spent fine-tuning those operational things that truly effect the financial health and well-being of your practice,” practice manager, Ryan Scarborough, said.
Ackley decided to take advantage of the no cost services of the Florida SBDC at University of South Florida to improve the clinic’s operations and received insights on marketing, social media, and clinic finances.
“After some really close analysis of where our money was being spent we have done a complete overhaul with regards to our in-house lab,” Scarborough said.
Once the practice began to closely evaluate and adjust its spending it was able to change several major services to save a tremendous amount of money.
“The SBDC brought some things to light that we weren’t even aware of. This whole experience over the last year has been real eye opening and underscored some things for that we normally wouldn’t pay as close attention,” Scarborough added.
The Fort Meade Animal Clinic has now added a second exam room to the practice, decreasing its traffic and increasing its ability to service more patients and to see clients quicker.
“When I first came here three years ago this was run as a truly rural, small town practice and we had one examination room which really bottlenecked some of the work flow here at the practice,” Scarborough said. “Instead of having to schedule them days out, if someone truly needs to see us that day with the second exam room we can get them in much quicker.”
As the animal clinic continues to work with its consultant Carl Hadden they expect to see continued growth and expansion.
“One suggestion I would have for a small start-up business is to utilize the SBDC. It’s a tremendous insight into the finances of your practice, your financial health. I would recommend it to anyone who is starting up, even if you have been in business for some time I think it’s a good checkup and there are some phenomenal tips,” Scarborough said.