You have to spend money to make money. But where does that money come from?
If you’ve never started your own business, it can seem like businesses appear out of nowhere. Taking out a loan is perhaps the best-known way to get essential capital, but there are many other ways of getting together the money to open a new veterinary practice. Read on to learn some of the ways of getting your veterinary practice off the ground.
Maybe the most obvious way of getting the money for your new practice is by dipping into your personal funds. If you’re considering opening a practice, you’ve probably been working for someone else’s practice or a veterinary hospital for a while. Along the way, you’ve likely saved up some money.
These funds will most obviously include a savings account. They may also consist of less liquid assets like stocks, bonds or even a retirement account — but be aware that liquidating these assets may carry hefty fees or tax penalties.
In general, you don’t want to drain your entire savings to open a new business. You want to leave yourself a financial cushion to rely on in case the business fails or doesn’t pick up like you’re hoping. So unless you’re very flush, you should probably supplement your own funds with another source.
Grants are an often-overlooked way to get the capital you need to start a new business. These will be particularly useful if you’re servicing an underprivileged or underserved area or population, because government agencies and charities will often earmark grant money to go toward these communities.
The downside of applying for grants is that you have to apply for them, and assembling the grant application takes time and potentially money (if you hire a grant writer). There’s no guarantee that you’ll get the grant, either, so you shouldn’t plan your opening date around a grant you’ve just applied for! But with a well-written application and a good vision for your practice, you’ll greatly improve your chances of receiving a grant.
Bank and Private Loans
Banks and private companies both offer loans to businesses looking to get off the ground, and this is how many (if not most) practices get established. However, unlike many of these loan types, you’ll owe interest on your loan. The more you take out, and the more time it takes you to pay it back, the more you’ll owe.
What’s more, the interest rate will depend on your credit. If you’ve had trouble paying your bills, or if you have a bankruptcy in your record, you’ll end up paying far more back to the bank over time. For these reasons, it’s a good idea to explore other options first and only borrow what you need (and can pay back).
Friends, Family and Crowdfunding
If your friends or family are affluent, you might try asking them for money to get your practice started. In these scenarios, it’s good to treat these loans like a bank or private loan. Don’t just take the money — pay it back over time. Set out the terms in advance, including the payments you’ll make, and any interest that will accrue.
Another newer option is crowdfunding. Using GoFundMe, Indiegogo or Kickstarter can help you raise capital for a business by distributing the costs across a community of interested people who want to see you succeed. Of course, you’ll need to advertise the crowdfunding campaign to make it successful, and you might need to find a way — even something small — to show your donors your appreciation.
Starting a private veterinary practice takes a lot of capital. But with these methods in hand, you’ll be well on your way to raising the funds you need, so you can serve your community and fulfill your dreams.