Attract Clients

VMP 258: How To Launch A New Practice Location With Michael Shirley

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Brandon Breshears
September 14, 2023
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VMP 258: How To Launch A New Practice Location With Michael Shirley
Attract Clients
September 14, 2023

VMP 258: How To Launch A New Practice Location With Michael Shirley

In this podcast episode, Brandon Breshears chats with special guest Michael Shirley, the owner of Family Pet Health veterinary hospital. Michael shares his journey of starting a successful new practice and reveals the strategies he used to attract and engage clients, including hosting a unique event to showcase their services and gather contact information for future marketing. He also emphasizes the importance of marketing campaigns to control the message about his hospital and address concerns about potential price increases, while highlighting the value of collaboration and partnership within the veterinary industry. The episode wraps up with Michael sharing how listeners can connect with him and discussing the next book they'll be reading in the Veterinary Leadership Book Club.

Today, I'm thrilled to bring you some amazing insights from a recent episode featuring Michael Shirley, the owner of Family Pet Health veterinary hospital.

Let me tell you, Michael's veterinary practice knows how to make a grand opening unforgettable. They managed to attract a whopping 350-450 people to their grand opening event, despite the challenges of parking and logistics. But it wasn't just a celebration of their new location - it was a showcase of their unique approach to veterinary care. They took participants on a guided tour, where they got to learn about different aspects of the practice, from radiology to surgery and recovery. And get this, they even used a stuffed animal dog to simulate real-life scenarios, like a pregnant dog needing surgery. How cool is that?

One of the biggest takeaways from Michael's experience is the power of special events in engaging clients. At the grand opening, they handed out passport books to participants, who had to collect stamps from different stations to enter a contest for free vaccines for life. This clever strategy not only created excitement, but also allowed Family Pet Health to collect valuable contact information for future marketing campaigns. And let me tell you, Michael knows a thing or two about marketing. He used social media to generate buzz leading up to the event, creating authentic videos with his cell phone to showcase the unique features of their new building. They even ran video ads on platforms like Instagram, YouTube, and Facebook, which received a high click-through rate thanks to their engaging content.

But that's not all. Michael also shares his insights on controlling the message about his new vet hospital and addressing concerns about potential price increases. He emphasizes the importance of charging what they're worth and providing a higher-end experience. And let's not forget about community engagement - Family Pet Health has a large garage space that can be rented out for events, from dog training classes to wedding and baby showers. By offering this space at a low cost, they not only give back to the community, but also attract potential clients who may already have dogs and need a veterinarian.

I hope you found these insights as valuable as I did. If you want to connect with Michael, you can find him on LinkedIn or Facebook, where he's always active. And don't forget to check out the Veterinary Leadership Book Club, a Facebook group with over 3000 veterinary professionals, where they read and discuss books related to veterinary practice. A big thank you to our sponsors, the International Veterinary Dentistry Institute, Veterinary, Used Vet Equipment, and New Vet Equipment. Without their support, we wouldn't be able to bring you these amazing episodes. So, share this podcast with others who could benefit from the content, and let's keep learning and growing together in the veterinary industry.

Episode Transcript

Brandon (00:00:00) - Welcome to the Veterinary Marketing podcast, where it's all about how to attract, engage and retain clients to your veterinary hospital using digital marketing. My name is Brandon Breshears. Thank you so much for taking the time to listen. In today's episode, we have a fantastic guest. It is the world famous Michael Shirley. This is a really special episode because Michael just recently opened his location and I think he's had one of the most successful new location launches that I've ever heard of. He had between 350 and 450 people there, which is just amazing. It's incredible to think about people coming for an opening of a practice that many people said there was lines, difficulty parking. It was incredible. So there are so many good lessons about how to do that for your practice, whether you want to do special events or open houses or anything like that. This is a fantastic episode and it's going to be full of value for you. So first off, I want to be sure to let you know that if you find value in this episode or other episodes, please be sure to share this with somebody that you think could benefit from it.

Brandon (00:01:02) - It would be very helpful to them and it's awesome to help the podcast grow. So I appreciate you for doing that. Secondly, we have two sponsors for this episode, so here are messages from our sponsor. This episode is being sponsored by the International Veteran Dentistry Institute and Veterinary Dentistry. Dot net. If you're a veterinarian or you have veterans that you work with, you struggle with dentistry. Or who'd like to be more confident when it comes to dental procedures, then you definitely should go to IBD. Org Forward slash VMP that is Ivy to sign up for a free upcoming live training that's going to go far beyond your average dentistry seminar. This is the gateway to the Veterinary Dental Practitioner Program, an intensive master class program that is a comprehensive initiative designed to enrich veterinary associate skills while empowering practice managers, practice owners to take their practice to new heights. This live training is going to be conducted by board certified veterinary dentist Dr. Brett Beckman. He's been on the podcast twice and is incredibly talented teacher and educator.

Brandon (00:02:12) - He's going to dive deep into actual cases. He's going to dissect all the vital components of effective dentistry case management, and this is going to give you some really direct insight and a clear blueprint to improve your prowess in veterinary dentistry. So if you're ready to elevate your practice and your professional skills, simply go to Ivy. Org Forward slash VMP. This is going to be the golden opportunity that helps you to make a significant impact in your practice. It's going to help to give your patients and your clients better care, and it's also going to improve the personal professional development that you have in your career. Go to Ivy. Org Forward slash VMP. This episode is being sponsored by two websites by Brad Haven. We have used vet equipment and new vet equipment for over nine years now. Used vet equipment has been helping vets to buy and sell used equipment. You can save money when you buy used everything from cages, kennels, pumps, X-ray equipment, lasers, ultrasounds, dental equipment, surgery equipment, lab equipment from a backseats and tables, tubs and sinks, vet trucks and vet boxes.

Brandon (00:03:21) - What do you have to sell at used vet equipment? They bring the buyer and seller together. Also, if you're looking for a new vet equipment with amazing warranties, check out new vet equipment where they show you the price up front. They have digital X-ray equipment, dental X-ray equipment, ultrasound equipment, surgery, lighting, surgery, tables, autoclaves. When you go to new vet equipment, you'll clearly see the price on every single item for sale. And you'll also know what the warranty is so that you can buy without regret. So without further ado, here is the episode with Michael. Third time, actually.

Michael (00:03:54) - That's right. Am I? I know, I'm excited. This is one of my favorite podcasts I've shared with your listeners before that, you know, I started listening to your podcast at the very beginning and I haven't missed an episode. We really appreciate all the content that you provide for veterinary professionals like this.

Brandon (00:04:11) - Thanks, man. I appreciate it. I think we mentioned to you that the first time you called me, I think you were running like a.

Brandon (00:04:18) - The cat5 wire for your practice. When you're building it, you're like in the attic. And I spoke to you. Either you're in the attic underneath the crawlspace or something.

Michael (00:04:26) - I've seen that in the in the old building. I seem to spend a lot of time in both of those places.

Brandon (00:04:31) - So thank you so much, man. It's been great meeting you and just becoming friends with you because you're. You're not some guy. But what I wanted to talk to you about today that I think everybody being really interested in is the practice that you just opened. So congrats. You opened a new location, first off. I mean, it's incredible. Tell us a little bit about your new practice and kind of the thought that went into designing it, too, because I think it's incredible practice.

Michael (00:04:59) - So for those that haven't heard me on your show before, my name is Michael Shirley. I am not a veterinarian. I married one instead. My wife, Dr. Amy Shirley and I opened Family Pet Health in Murfreesboro, Tennessee.

Michael (00:05:13) - It's about 30 miles south of Nashville, and we opened in the spring of 2018. We bought an existing practice that was in an old 1960s ranch style house. So it had two exam rooms and that was it. And we've grown that practice over the past five and a half years. And we just in July had the grand opening for our brand new fear free inspired veterinary Hospital. We have about 70 400ft² of medical space with ten exam rooms, six of which have doors straight to an outdoor patio for each exam room and then to the parking lot. So people don't even go through our lobby. We have a four car, two bay garage that we use as future expansion space, but also as drive through veterinary care, but also as a community space. I'm sure we'll talk about that today. And then upstairs we have our break room and a conference room, my office and a call center. So all together it's just south of like it's about 9500ft² altogether.

Brandon (00:06:15) - It's it's beautiful. And I mean, you thought of everything like even the parking spaces are further apart and it just is like, incredible.

Brandon (00:06:24) - Every detail is amazing. We talk I mean, we'll talk about a few things there with that. But real quick, tell us how that grand opening went as the result and then we'll kind of reverse engineer what you did and how you thought about this kind of.

Michael (00:06:42) - We had we had an outstanding grand opening. We estimate between 350 and 400 people were there that day. It completely shut the area down. I mean, there were people parked all over the place. We're actually in a in a warehouse district. And so right across the street from the Amazon fulfillment center. And so I even went and talked to them and they allowed us to park in their parking lot. We had people everywhere. So it was a it was a great success. We had 12 community partners that showed up as a part of our day, so we invited them from animal rescue groups to a woman who does fire burning like she does paint pet portraits, but she burns them on wood with a hot iron. It's really amazing.

Michael (00:07:30) - So, yeah, so so we just had all sorts of different community partners that were there. Of course, they helped us increase our spread because they were advertising the event for us as well. And yeah, it was just we had tours and a scavenger hunt we gave away. We had one winner for free vaccines for life for one of their pets. So all of those things together created a lot of buzz in our community and we had a really great turnout.

Brandon (00:07:54) - I think is probably the best grand opening I've ever heard of any any hospital. It probably is a record. So you had community partners as one of the things. What was your strategy when you're thinking about like, what did you want the event to be like? And also how did you incorporate those people to get them to see all of the aspects that and features that you were wanting to promote to you? Because I think you did a great job of not only getting people there to show up, but also to go through everything.

Michael (00:08:25) - So I'll just kind of walk you through the whole event.

Michael (00:08:27) - And this may be a little long winded, but I'll try to be as short as possible, which is hard for me. But but so when you when we envisioned the day we wanted it to be a destination, like an event that people would talk about and invite their friends to, we knew that kind of like an open house where people just kind of come. They're curious. We wanted to make it super accessible so that if anybody that lived near the hospital that had seen it being built over the previous eight months, that they would find this as a welcoming place to come and explore and, you know, kind of satisfy their curiosity for what this vet hospital with all the windows was all about. So we had kind of a three there's three really just three different kind of phases to it. Number one, we had a guided tour number. Two. We had the self-guided tour and number three, we had our community partners that were there as well. And so what was really important to me was that everybody, if they came for the event, would would leave understanding why family pet health was different than any other vet hospital around.

Michael (00:09:36) - You know, we talked about I heard your last podcast, last the last one I listened to was about differentiation. If you're if you're just seen as a commodity, people are just going to go shop for the price, right? So how could we differentiate ourselves from all the other vet hospitals that are out there not to talk down about what they do, but to talk up what we do and why we do it? So that was what my goal was. We wanted it to be super, super clear as to what family Pet health was all about when somebody left. So it started with the grand, with the guided tours. So people would walk into our lobby and we would gather them in groups of 5 to 10, and we gave them this little stuffed animal dog with a with a card that talked about all of the symptoms that that dog was having. And they would start they started off they went to the first station was an exam room where we performed a fear free exam, medical exam. And we explained what was different about a fear free exam versus some of the other exams that they may have experienced in the past.

Michael (00:10:35) - It is different. What we do is different and it works for us. It is what it is. Our brand. When we talked about in the last podcast about branding, it is on brand. So what they discovered in quotation marks is that, Oh, something's off with your dog. It's showing all the symptoms that we should probably go to x ray. So they took it back to radiology where Yousuf put it on the table, talk to the kids about PPE, all the protective gear the kids got to put on the x ray gown, the big lead aprons and feel how heavy that was. They put the little stuffed animal dog on the on the trough, on the on the x ray table and captured an x ray. And they put that up on the screen and, oh, my gosh, your puppy's pregnant. Oh, it's got all the puppies in it. So we had an image from one of our golden retriever breeders that comes to our office. And so they got to count all the skulls in the picture.

Michael (00:11:30) - And it was really cool. They thought that was really neat. But what Yousuf said is, Oh no, we have a problem. One of the puppies is stuck. We've got to go to we've got to go to surgery. So then they would leave their little tour guide would go over to the surgery prep area where they talked about I.V. catheters and monitoring and the fact that we use licensed technicians to do all of our monitoring. And that's another differentiation point from us to others. And so they prepped the pet, that little puppy for surgery or the dog for the stuffed animal dog for surgery. And they wielded into the surgery suite where Elizabeth performed the surgery and all the little kids had a surgery towel. And she talked to them about, okay, when we pull the puppies out, it's your job to to make them a wake up. And we got to start breathing and rub them. And so she the little stuffed animal that we got off Amazon, it had a zipper on it on its belly.

Michael (00:12:21) - When you unzipped it, there were puppies inside. So. So she draped it and she had the scalpel blade and she started to make the cut and that was really just opening the zipper. And then we pulled out all these puppies and the kids started drawing them off. And we all celebrated because all the puppies lived. And then the last station was in our treatment area where we do recovery. So we recovered the puppies and the mother and we put them in our brand new cast pet cages, where we talk to people about all the features of those Casco Pit. They're called Whale Kennels, how cool they are in the different light settings and the built in heater and and all of that. And so, so that was the end of the guided tour. And so even if they had just left after that, they would have understood what made family pet health different than other vet hospitals that they may have experienced once they finished that and I failed to mention each participant of the day received a passport book and in the passport book there were little, little squares or circles.

Michael (00:13:24) - And when you completed the different parts of the of the tour, you would get a stamp at the different locations. So the guided tour was one stamp location. There was a total of 15, I think. And then the then on the self-guided tour, they would walk around through the whole hospital. We had everything open except for the pharmacy and they could just walk around and they would go to different stations, learn about that station and get a stamp. So some of the other stations was we had somebody in pharmacy, then they would go to the dental suite, the exam rooms upstairs. We were recording our podcast for the Family Pet podcast, and then they also learned in our break room we had a station set up about bringing home pets with the with your, with kids like so introducing families to pets. And then we had a station about. You're free, then the rest of the stations. So. So the rest of the stamp stations were all our community groups. So all of the nonprofits, everybody went and spoke to all the different nonprofits and learned about what their missions were, what what niche they were filling in our community from low cost spay neuter clinic to pet care for the homeless population in our area.

Michael (00:14:40) - The local spay neuter animal control was there talking about animal laws, so people had to go and get stamps from all of those different stations if they wanted to enter to win free vaccines for the life of one of their pet. So you got to dangle that carrot out there that made made it worthwhile to walk around and get those stamps. But everybody we had to I forget how many over 100 of those passport books, over 200 of the passport books turned in to win free vaccines for life. So it was it was a great event and we felt like it did a really good job of of conveying the message to the potential customers that we have of what Family Pet Health was all about.

Brandon (00:15:22) - That's amazing. That's amazing on so many levels. So I think first off, showing people instead of just telling them is always better. And then I think breaking down all of the steps that go into showing people what is involved in in your services. I don't think I've ever seen or had anybody actually explain to me what goes into a wellness exam.

Brandon (00:15:45) - Like I actually don't know. And I think most people don't either. And I work with veterinarians all the time and we are marketing their services, right? So I think that's just incredible and a fantastic way to give people a context for the value that you offer versus, you know, other people. And you probably were talking about differentiation and just all kinds of good stuff. Um, so I think that that is just amazing. And that offer of free vaccines for life is a genius offer in my opinion too, because it's just such a high perceived value for somebody. It's something that they actually would want for sure. And that was obvious because people took a ton of time to go fill it out to try to win.

Michael (00:16:27) - So that's now one thing, that one thing that that they had to do on that sheet to to enter is provide a working phone number and a working email address. So we told people like, we're going to announce the winner via a video that we're going to send an email link to.

Michael (00:16:44) - And you only have 48 hours to claim your prize once we send that email out. So don't give us like spam at because you don't want to actually be on our email list. We told people we were very upfront with them. You're going to be put on our email list where we're going to be sending out information about family pet health. And it's not about it's so that was creating that sales funnel. How do we we now built we built up an email list for people that clearly were interested in free vaccines for life, which means that they're also going to be interested in just general veterinary care for their pets. So we'll we have that email list and that's my goal for this. This last quarter of the year is to actually build a good email campaign because I don't have that done yet. But we've just been dealing with so much other stuff. But we have those email addresses on standby and we can market to the people that have already expressed an interest in family pet health versus trying to, you know, just throw a really wide net over all of Murfreesboro looking for people, looking for a veterinarian.

Michael (00:17:49) - We we have already these people have made a huge step in that they came to our building and they are saying by doing so, they're saying we are interested, tell us more. And now we have a way to do that.

Brandon (00:18:03) - Definitely. And I doubt that they're going to go in. It's just because they already know you. They've seen the place and it's amazing. And to show off all your cool new things that you have to is really great. Leading up to that event, I think you did a fantastic job on your social pushes that you were doing and. Can you talk about your your strategy behind there? So you had just a ton of content that was showing people what was cool about your building, obviously as you're building it, which is a really good opportunity. But what was your general kind of strategy with the content that you're producing on that?

Michael (00:18:41) - The main objective was to plant seeds of curiosity that would lead to them saying, Hey, I know I've been telling you about this and you've wanted to see how this would.

Michael (00:18:50) - What does it mean to have exam room doors that go straight from the exam room to the patio to the parking lot So you can see it and you can hear me talk about it on a Facebook live video or a TikTok video. But what does it look like in person? Well, you can come to the grand opening and see for yourself. So for the for the eight months leading up to the grand opening, I made videos all the time. And and this is one thing that I would tell your your viewers is that people want authentic videos. They want to be brought into a story. They do not it does not have to be professionally produced. It doesn't have to be perfect. It doesn't have to have the greatest effects. It can literally just be you and your cell phone recording a video like, hey, everybody, I'm just going live. That's what people want. And that builds interest leading up to the grand opening. So I would I made a lot of videos. We did do some where we actually edit them to like the top five reasons you should come to the grand opening.

Michael (00:19:52) - Right or the top. The here's my favorite. Here's five of my favorite features about our new veterinary hospital and I would just edit those to make them, you know, 30s or so so that people so we used your services to help us place those in in Instagram and YouTube and Facebook and they got a ton of clicks. Our click through rate was great and it showed up at the grand opening.

Brandon (00:20:19) - Yeah, it was actually really interesting. I think the fact that you had so much organic content that you were producing really led to a more engaged audience because usually video ads that we we ran for you, they don't get very many clicks. Generally speaking. They just get typically views and it's better for awareness. But you had a massive amount of clicks for your campaigns, which was cool. And I think that was attributed to the organic content that you're producing. Definitely.

Michael (00:20:48) - And and I think it was interesting because we had a brand new building, it looks like no other vet hospital around. And so people were naturally curious.

Michael (00:20:58) - Like I remember on Nextdoor somebody posted What's up with this new vet hospital over there? Like, is the doctor going to live there? And I'm like, Yeah, actually I feel like we will, actually. But and then what was amazing, Brandon, was that somebody goes, Well, I hope everybody's prepared to have price increases. And another another person who I don't even know if they were a client of ours but but I talked about this in my videos. I acknowledge the elephant in the room. When we build a brand new building, people are going to expect, Oh, I guess prices are going to go up. I talked about it. I said this bill, this building is going to allow us to see more patients, which that means that we don't have to raise our prices because we're going to be our volume is increasing. You know, if I was if I was having to pay for this new building with only two exam rooms, yeah, prices are going to go up. But because now we have ten exam rooms and we've been able to add a doctor to our team with more on the way, we can create more volume at the same profit margin which allows us to pay for the building.

Michael (00:22:07) - Well, I explained that in a video. Somebody, somebody answered that next door person without me even having to say anything. I was like, Yes, this works. It's working. So I want to I used I use the videos and our social media marketing to control the message. We also send out emails and keep kept our existing clients informed of what we were doing and why we were doing it. We're doing this so that we can hire more doctors so that we can see more patients, but also so that we can be there when you need us because we're going to have more capacity. This is going to allow us to provide better care for you and your pets in a building that matches the quality of care that our team's already providing. Yeah, And so I controlled that message. And I think that's the power of doing these types of marketing campaigns.

Brandon (00:23:00) - Well, I think that's that's amazing. And also, if people expect that it's going to be more expensive because the building is nicer and it matches a higher end experience, then you're able to also charge more to.

Brandon (00:23:11) - Right.

Michael (00:23:12) - I was listening to your podcast with is it Dough? Is that how he pronounces his last name? Christo. So I was listening to that that podcast and. And I was thinking to myself, we should charge more. Not because I can't. Not. Not because I can, but because we are providing a better experience. We are. We are at a different level. And so it's a and and that's okay. Like, that's okay to charge more. But but if you're going to do that, you better deliver. So, you know, so that that's a that's the as I was listening to that, that episode of your podcast, I was thinking that to myself not not to take advantage of anybody or price gouging, but it's okay. It's okay to charge what we're worth And and yeah, exactly.

Brandon (00:24:04) - Absolutely. Well, I think some of the the coolest things that you have. Well, there's a lot of cool things about your new practice, but I really like your community space that you have.

Brandon (00:24:13) - Can you tell me what your thoughts were? Well, there's a few questions that I'll start with this one, but I think it's just kind of really aligns well with your brand. You are just kind of building community around family pet health with outside providers, and I think you do that better than anybody I've met. Um, and probably part of your personality, right? But tell me about your community area that you have and some of the things that you're doing and then want to talk about how to attract the right kinds of community partners that you're, you're finding.

Michael (00:24:46) - If people want to see our floor plan, they can go to family pet scroll down to the very bottom and there's a link that says building project. When you open that you can you can actually see our floor plan So it's a family pet health com slash building dash project I think but you can see this floor plan. All right So on the far right of our building, we have a four car or two bay garage. It's a drive through just like so close your eyes and picture an oil change, a five minute oil change place right where you drive around.

Michael (00:25:20) - Yeah, it's a jiffy. There is a Jiffy Lube at the end. I should have, but that would have cost a lot more. So. So site prep, Site prep. You could get your oil change while we're taking care of your dog. I mean, that would have been perfect. Yeah. So. So this, this. So when our architect was planning Marie Allard from Panama, when we had our initial conversation, she asked like, what are the things you absolutely have to have? And I said, natural lighting. So windows, outdoor exam spaces, ten exam rooms and a meeting space for 50 people. And she's like, What's that about? And I said, I am a I'm a school teacher. Like, that's what I do. I was in agriculture education for 16 years before stepping away. And so meetings are very important to me. I just spoke at Kansas City about the importance of team meetings in your veterinary hospital and how to do them so that they don't waste time or money, right? So I wanted a space where I could meet with our entire team at one time and and what that ended up being was this garage.

Michael (00:26:28) - So that is my teaching classroom. So I'm super excited to have it. The cool things about it is that you can fit over 75 people in there because we had we had a lot of people in there during the reign of our during our grand opening, it rained for like a pop up shower and everybody ran into the garage. But we had we had we had we had tables and chairs for 50 people to eat. And then we had all of the community groups were around the outside edge. So it's very large. Okay, I can allow people to use that space but not have access to the rest of my hospital, even though it's connected. We have locks and alarms, So the locks and the alarms, we can section off the garage in the bathroom and the kitchenette that all go together. And I can rent that space out to the community. So far, we have had dog training classes that have been out there regularly. We've had a seminar about dog communication. We've had two cookie decorating classes and a wedding shower and a baby shower all since all since July.

Michael (00:27:30) - And so can you imagine having your wedding shower at the vet hospital? It's like like somebody somebody called and asked me and I'm like, Yeah, sure, you can use it for that. That's fine. And they're like, Well, how much do you charge? And I said, I'll just charge $25. That's that pays for the toilet paper and the water and the electricity while they're out there. It is heated and cooled and you can't find a meeting space for 100 people for $25 in our town. But what that's done for me, first off, I want to help and give back to our community. This is where we live. It's where I was raised my whole life. I want to just give back to the community. Also, people that show up for dog training classes have dogs. Oh, I know, right? And so people that have dogs need a veterinarian. So if they're already coming to family pet health. Or their dog training classes for their puppy. And they have a good experience and they see our building and they're like, wow, this isn't you know, this is the same price as my vet, but I get all this.

Michael (00:28:33) - I'm going to switch over here. And so that that has that has already materialized for us. So yeah, I'm only renting it out for 25 bucks, but what is the lifetime value of a new client? And that's what we're really getting out of it.

Brandon (00:28:48) - Very cool. That's amazing. I think that just has so much forethought. There's so many people that you can connect with through doing in-person events and having related businesses. And I guess as as we wrap up here, the last thing that I would like to talk about is how do you find your community partners and things like that. What's your best tips for finding people that are in businesses that are kind of parallel to yours, but not competition so you can be collaborative?

Michael (00:29:18) - Well, we just always looking, right? So we go to a lot of community events. So the like coming up here in a couple of weeks is Paul Palooza. So it's a dog, a community dog festival. We'll be there for the family pet health booth. But I'm also looking around to see who are the groomers that are here that are fair, free, certified, who are the animal rescue groups that seem to really have their stuff together? Right.

Michael (00:29:44) - A few of the community partners that we invited were animal rescue groups that are clients of ours. And so I told them like, hey, we're doing this grand opening. We'd love for you to be a part of it. And they're like, Oh my gosh, thank you so much for asking. I'm like, Absolutely. You know? So just strengthening the things that we've created, you know, the the the relationships that we've built over the past five and a half years, We just that's that's how we did it. We're just always looking for for the for community partners that are of a like mind for us. Now you mentioned not the competition. Let me just share this little story with you. When we first opened, we're about a mile down the road from the low cost spay neuter clinic in town. You know, they have an endowment. They're doing surgeries for fractions of the cost of what we are. And I would I considered them competition because they started offering wellness exams and flea and tick and heartworm testing and prevention and all that.

Michael (00:30:40) - And I'm like, I can't believe this. They're like, And I would get so mad because they could just post on Facebook that, Hey, we need paper towels. Would anybody bring us some paper towels? And people would just show up with truckloads of paper towels for them? And I'm like, Well, no wonder they can charge. So less like people. I have to go buy my own toilet paper and yeah, I know. And so but what I realized was that they are filling a they're filling a need that we have in our community. Yes. There are people that could totally afford not to go there, but the majority of the people that are using that service, they need it. And if they didn't have the Beesley clinic they're operating, then I don't know what would happen to those pets. So I had a little bit of a mind shift and one of our doctors actually became a she's on the board of directors for the Beesley Clinic. And so I had a complete 180 and instead of in instead of seeing them as competition, I started asking, how could we work together because we were full.

Michael (00:31:41) - We we couldn't even see the people, right? Like we didn't have any capacity in our schedule. And what that has led to is we have a great partnership with them now that we're helping them fundraise for their they call it the Oliver Trust, the Oliver Care Fund for people that really can't afford pet care, but they love their pets. Just because they don't have money doesn't mean they don't love their pets. And this fund is making it available to them so that they can get vet care because the Beasley Clinic doesn't do surgeries like extract tooth extractions and tumor removals and things like that. So at any rate, I just would I would challenge the listeners to make sure that like see how we can work together in our industry with other people rather than seeing them as competition because we don't have to have the, the, the mentality, what is the scarcity mentality like? There's an abundance of pet owners out there and if we concentrate on what we do, then we don't have to be feel threatened by someone else doing what they do.

Brandon (00:32:41) - Absolutely. You'll find better clients. Everybody be happier and correct collaboratively. That's a that's a good point. Well, thank you so much, Michael. It was really, really helpful. I'm sure everybody's going to really get a ton of value out of listening. So what's the best way for people to find you? I know you're active on LinkedIn. You want people to follow you on LinkedIn or follow your Facebook or.

Michael (00:33:03) - Sure, yeah, you can follow me. It's my it's LinkedIn slash Michael Shirley. The best way to find me really is just to search for family pet health. So on Facebook, just it's slash family pet health. And I would be remiss if I didn't plug the Veterinary Leadership book Club for. Or all of the listeners out there, make sure you it's a it's a Facebook group with more than 3000 veterinary professionals. We're always reading something and applying it to our veterinary lives. So just look for the Veterinary Leadership Book Club.

Brandon (00:33:34) - But cool little book you got coming up next.

Michael (00:33:37) - We haven't decided. I was reading Dr. Betsy Charles. I don't know if you know Dr. Charles or not. She mentioned this book that she mentioned this book at Fetch, and I wrote it down and I've been listening to it. It's called The Love Prescription by the Gottman. It's a marriage book. But she mentioned it and she mentioned it in her veterinary talk about the basically how we're training people in our veterinary hospitals. And I read it. It's called the Love Prescription. I don't think we'll do it in the book club, but we might. But it has really helped me with my marriage as well. So I would encourage everybody to read that. That's that's what I'm reading right now.

Brandon (00:34:15) - Fantastic, man. Well, that's awesome. Thank you so much, Michael. And we'll have to have you on again sometimes.

Michael (00:34:21) - Well, I'm I'm always excited to talk to you. And again, want to tell you thank you for all of the content that you've made available to people in the vet. It is it has like when you look at family pet health, I want you to understand that the things that I've learned from your podcast helped us to get where we are.

Michael (00:34:39) - So I really appreciate the thought that you put into that and making it available to everybody here.

Brandon (00:34:45) - Michael I think I killed it anyways, but thank you. Man.

Michael (00:34:50) - Yeah, thank you, Brandon.

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Brandon Breshears
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