You’ve worked for decades to build the practice of your dreams. You’ve overcome obstacles and, sure, you’ve seen your share of ups and downs. But in the end, you’re proud of what you’ve accomplished.

What do you do to ensure your dream lives and thrives in the next generation? It’s all dependent on a well-thought-out succession plan.

By developing an effective succession plan, you can feel a bit more confident that your business will be passed on to a qualified and appropriate successor as seamlessly as possible.

Ken White, DVM, Perryville, Mo., and Randall Spragg, DVM, Rogersville, Mo., both have worked on succession plans of their own. They say with a bit of planning and foresight, any veterinarian can ensure a successful future for his or her practice.

The beginning of their dreams

Dr. White began his practice in 1971, upon graduation from the University of Missouri school of veterinary medicine in 1970.

In 1997 his son, Brad, followed in his footsteps, graduating from the Missouri school of veterinary medicine and returning to the home practice. Brad’s wife, Christine, also a veterinarian, began practicing at a clinic 30 miles away.

Before long, Brad had developed a beef marketing alliance with producers in the area and took on public speaking engagements.

“He then went back to school and found his niche,” Dr. White says. “Today, he works at the Kansas State University vet school. He does an excellent job there and he did an excellent job in our practice, too. But he’s now following his passion.”

For Dr. Randall Spragg, the veterinary passion runs in the blood. His father, Robert M. Spragg, began the Spragg Veterinary Clinic in 1959.

Dr. Spragg’s brother, Gary, graduated from the Missouri school of veterinary medicine in 1967 and after a two year term in the Army, returned to the practice in 1970. In 1982, Dr. Spragg received his veterinary degree and immediately joined his father and brother in the practice. And moving into the third generation, Gary’s son, Michael, has joined the practice, as well.

“The clinic has grown from a one-man practice to a three-man practice,” Dr. Spragg says. “We’re seeing more small animals and horses today. And, we see a good amount of cow-calf operations spread out across a greater distance than in the past.”

Although the practices are unique, one concept is the same; the need for a succession plan was realized well before it was actually needed.