When Daryl Olsen graduated from Iowa State University's College of Veterinary Medicine in 1982, his veterinary practice in Audubon, Iowa, was similar to others in the Midwest. The phone was always ringing, and the days were long trying to service the numerous clients within a 20-mile radius.
Fast forward to the 1990s. The trend in agriculture took root - consolidation of operations. Many producers exited the industry. The producers who continued became larger and more specialized. As integration continued and ownership of the livestock went to companies with in-house veterinarians, the services of the local veterinarian were no longer needed.
Those local producers turned to Dr. Olsen and his practice for help in new and different ways. From listening to their producer clients, the practice was able to grow and expand into new service areas to help them.
"In 25 years, our producer/client base had evolved so that if we had not changed, our practice may not have survived," Dr. Olsen said. "In fact, none of our practice's top ten volume clients in 1989 even make the top 25 clients in 2014."
His practice was able to adapt and thrive due to the strength of the people in the organization. "Listening to clients instead of telling them what they need may be the most important key to developing a successful business."
Did you know? The veterinary practice of 1982 grew to become a diversified business, Audubon Manning Veterinary Clinic, which today is the 10th largest pork production system in the United States.
Credit to: Alliance for Iowa State