10 Ways You Can Thrive in Spite of COVID
Despite the fear, depression and carnage caused by the evil virus, some people will thrive.
Through every crisis (the great depression in the 1930s, the stock crash in the 2000s, the real estate crisis of 2008), there are always 3 groups of people:
- those who suffer
- those who get by
- those who thrive.
How can you be part of the third group?
What opportunities can you take advantage of?
Of course, you can still thrive and be sensitive, kind and generous.
This is not about being a greedy beast!
1. Which services can you offer now, and keep in the future?
Many practices are embracing telemedicine. If you haven’t, could you? If you have, could you continue to offer it when things get back to normal?
Some practices have created a euthanasia area on the lawn. Is that something you can offer now? Can you continue to offer this option to a subset of clients later on?
Other clinics have launched an online pharmacy or a pet food home delivery service. If this is a new service, why not continue in the future?
Did you meet regularly with colleagues, local or distant, to find support during the crisis? Why not continue the interaction and focus on other topics: HR, finances, team motivation, incentives or even a journal club?
Did you have virtual meetings with your team? Why not continue later on? These meetings tend to be much more efficient, which means you will likely save time and money!
2. How can you use your free time?
Some colleagues are forced to cut back their hours. Can you use this time to work on all the projects you’ve had to put on the back burner because of a chronic lack of time?
At home, can you clean the garage, paint your bedroom or prepare a new dish?
At work, can you create a new marketing campaign? An animal wellness program? A weight loss program for your team?
Can you empower your managers to create new training and onboarding programs?
3. Take care of YOU
This crisis is a marathon, not a sprint.
So you need to manage yourself to make sure you’re still strong when the dust settles…
Sleep in, eat chocolate, take a nap, drink water, eat healthy, dance (privately or with someone), take a bubble bath, listen to music, exercise, meditate, get a massage (at home), light a scented candle… Choose anything that brings you joy and inner peace. You’re worth it!
This is very difficult to do for most high-achievers and type As, but oh-so-critical for long-term results.
4. Acquire a new skill
If you have more time than usual on your hands, use it to acquire a new skill: dermatology, Fear Free certification, investing, budgeting…
There are countless ways to learn remotely these days. Take advantage of it.
High achievers chronically complain that they don’t have enough time to dedicate to personal development. Now is the time to do it!
5. Feed your mind
Rather than being glued to a screen to consume social media or stressful news, feed your brain something positive and useful. Audiobooks and podcasts are cheap and easy ways to learn valuable information about management, communication, marketing and other topics that can help you now and in the long run.
Of course, you can go old school, and actually read a physical book! There are countless classics about personal finance, leadership, emotional intelligence, delegation, or creating good habits.
6. Creative writing
If you have to work less in practice, now would be a great time to create content. Here are some ideas:
- Future blog posts
- A newsletter
- Client handouts
- Training modules
- Team building exercises and SOPs.
7. HR matters
Some of your team might be allowed to work from home now. Did you ever think it was possible pre-COVID-19? Could you continue to offer that flexibility in the future?
After all, management gurus have told us for years that millennials value a flexible work schedule.
Could that be an opportunity for your managers? Could telemedicine be used by your doctors from home?
8. Keep a leash on expenses
During the crisis, you may have been forced to tighten your team’s schedule. Is that sustainable long-term? Maybe not to cut hours, but at least to avoid overtime?
You may also have shrunk your inventory. Can you keep that up long-term, and avoid having 6 NSAIDs, 13 parasiticides and 37 antibiotics on your shelves?
What seemingly small fees should you pay more attention to? Merchant fees for credit card transactions? Monthly fees for your checking account? Recurring fees for TV stations nobody ever watches in your waiting room?
At home, have you become a better cook or meal planner since eating out is not an option? Use your newfound skills to save on food costs in the future.
Do you now consolidate trips to the store, saving money on gas and valuable time? Have you learned to do without those impulse buys from your weekly Target run?
9. Better protection
Did you have the proper insurance coverage to survive the COVID crisis? Did you have business interruption coverage? It’s too late to sign up now, but it might help you in the future.
Sit down with your insurance broker (remotely of course) and do a comprehensive audit of your insurance portfolio. There are add-on policies that could (unfortunately) serve you someday, such as wrongful termination and sexual harassment.
10. Beef up your protocols
Now is the time to improve your anesthesia and pain management protocols. If you haven’t updated them in 26 years, now would be a great time to do so.
Set up a consultation with a board-certified anesthesiologist and save them from boredom. Ask them to help you update your protocols.
Then review your fee structure and make sure it’s still appropriate for your new and improved protocols.
There are many things you cannot control. You can, however, control what you do with your time and your brain during this crisis.
There are plenty of opportunities if you recognize them when they show up.
Invest your time and your brain power into the right things, and you can absolutely thrive “on the other side”.
See you there!
Phil Zeltzman, DVM, DACVS
Meredith Jones, DVM
Co-Founders of Veterinary Financial Summit