When you are a solo practice owner, you’re used to just doing it all.

We’ve talked about this before, so say it with me:

You can’t fucking do everything.

You just can’t. So, you’ve got to wrap your head around this. What needs to get done? What I have found is that in the beginning, I just was doing everything, and that was necessary, and it was okay, but it’s not sustainable.

So, write down the things that you’re doing and see what you can offload.

We have some things that we do that relate to customer service and customers staying bonded with us, and when we first started, I would do those. I would send out little handwritten notes to new clients, and I still do that sometimes, but I don’t have to do it all the time.

We had a client who was battling breast cancer last year, and then her husband got sick this year. I could know that, which I do, and then I can take that information, and I can go call that person or get them something. Instead, what we’ve done is talk about it as a team, and my whole entire team is empowered to make decisions, to make that person’s experience better.

So, recently they came in, and my CSR said, “Hey, why don’t we get them some meals delivered?” Sounds great! Now, I don’t have to do that, but it still gets done.

Do you see where I’m going with this?

There are a million different things that we can talk about, but basically, as the practice owner, you need to have the vision, have the ideas, and then you might have to do those things in the beginning. Then at a certain point, you need to offload those to the person best suited to do it. And of course, with good communication and good follow through and a good follow-up saying, “Hey, this is how we’re going to want to do this. This is how we’re going to make sure it gets done, but I think you’re really well suited to do this job. Can you do this job? Great.”

Now, I think what happens a lot in veterinary medicine is we put things on our employees without really asking, “Do you have time to do this in your day?” Or, “Is this something you’re very well-suited for?” So that is also, of course, a conversation that you need to have, so you make sure you’re not just dumping it on them. Sometimes we like to think we’re giving somebody a promotion like, “Oh great, you’re good at this, so I’m going to give you that.” Doesn’t always work that way.

So, I am here to tell you, as the business owner, you should have all the ideas. You should have all the vision. You shouldn’t have to execute everything.

And P.S.—You can’t.

So take a step back the next time you get overwhelmed thinking about something you have to do. Think about whether that’s something you really have to do. Maybe it is. Maybe it’s something that you at least want to do the first few times, you get it down, and then you can pass it off to somebody else who’s really well-suited and is going to follow through on that.

So, that is it for today. “How do I get this done?” Versus, “How does this get done?” That’s an important distinction.