The Business of Practice: Veterinarians Shopping at a Trade Show

Dr. Bob Magnus has tips for equine veterinarians about shopping at a trade show ahead of the 2022 AAEP Convention.
AAEP Convention trade show
Dr. Bob Magnus offers tips to veterinarians who want to shop at a trade show. Image courtesy AAEP

Many veterinarians are headed to the 2022 AAEP Convention and its associated trade show. In order to help them make the best use of their time, we talked with Bob Magnus, DVM, MBA, about shopping at a trade show. Listen to him in episode 47 of The Business of Practice podcast.

Big-Ticket Trade Show Items

When shopping at a trade show for big-ticket items, veterinarians should prepare before a trade show. That preparation means making connections with potential vendors ahead of the show to set appointments. Make a list of what you want or need ahead of talking to the vendors. Also, Magnus recommended that veterinarians talk to colleagues who have the item they want to purchase.

Big-ticket items for an equine veterinary practice might include digital radiography units, CT machines and ultrasound equipment.

Magnus recommended looking at cost, how it fits with your practice demands and whether there is a referral center or another practice that will compete for your business.

“Toys” at Trade Shows

Magnus said some diagnostic equipment, practice software or other lower-cost items also can be purchased at trade shows.

“Go through the first day—not during a break so it is a time without crowds,” suggested Magnus. “By walking through you get a big picture of what you want and what vendors have. Walk the middle of the aisle from one end to the other of the trade show. Makes notes on your phone or tablet.

“Then go to the CE program and business and ‘must-see’ educational items,” he continued. “In the gaps, come back to do your shopping. Then go have fun with networking and colleagues and opportunities!”

Investing in Equipment

Magnus said veterinarians should do their homework ahead of trade show shopping in order to make the best use of their money.

“Ask yourself, ‘Can I afford it? and “How can I break even?” he said. “Do that analysis. Sometimes I’m happy to break even to build my practice.

“At the end of the day, you ned to know that you have to do 200 procedures to break even and figure out you will only do 50,” he said.

Financing at trade shows can be helpful to a veterinary practice’s budget. Magnus said sometimes even if you have the cash, it might make more sense to lease or borrow from a bank to purchase the equipment you want.”

Warranties are also an important aspect of shopping at trade shows. “You can negotiate for a longer warranty,” he said.

About Dr. Bob Magnus

Bob Magnus, DVM, MBA, is North American managing partner of Oculus Insights. Dr. Magnus was the founder and past CEO of Wisconsin Equine Clinic & Hospital, a full-service nationally renowned equine referral hospital and ambulatory practice established in 1992. He started Wisconsin Equine as a solo practitioner and grew the practice to include more than 12 veterinarians and 25 support staff.

In 2005, he founded Equine Business Management Strategies LLC, an executive business education program for the equine veterinary industry. In 2017, Dr. Magnus formed the veterinary business consulting firm Oculus Insights LLP with colleagues Mike Pownall, DVM, MBA, of Canada, and Joop Loomans, DVM, PhD, of Holland. Together this team has expanded veterinary business education offerings to a global level. He also is now Mayor of Oconomowok Wisc.

Editor’s Note:You can find information about the 2022 AAEP Convention trade show here.

Disclaimer: This content is subject to change without notice and offered for informational use only. You are urged to consult with your individual business, financial, legal, tax and/or other medical providers with respect to any information presented. Synchrony and any of its affiliates, including CareCredit, (collectively, “Synchrony”) makes no representations or warranties regarding this content and accept no liability for any loss or harm arising from the use of the information provided. All statements and opinions in the article are the sole opinions of the author. Your receipt of this material constitutes your acceptance of these terms and conditions.

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