BLOG: From the Big Apple to Blackburn, Brian Spar's JVP Journey
When Brian Spar packed up his life and made the move from New York to the UK, he hadn’t intended on becoming a veterinary practice owner again. But the realisation that he didn’t want to work for anyone else, led him to become sole Joint Venture Partner at Vets4Pets Blackburn. And within 4 and half years, Brian’s practice became debt free. Here we find out more.
Brian graduated from vet school in 2003 and went on to own a veterinary practice in his home of New York, going into business with another vet. In 2016, Brian made the life-changing decision to sell up his practice and move across the globe to the UK “I had intended on simplifying my life” he says on his decision to relocate. It soon became apparent to Brian, that he did not want to spend his time working for someone else and that led him to start considering the various practice ownership options available.
Brian was already working at Vets4Pets Blackburn when he decided to learn more about Joint Venture Partnership. He didn’t know much about Vets4Pets or the partnership model prior to arriving in the UK, “I assumed Vets4Pets was much like corporate ownership in the USA, but I soon came to realise how different the Joint Venture Partnership model was”. What attracted Brian to learn more about becoming a JVP was understanding that he would be free to make his own management and clinical decisions. Having gone through his Discovery Day and learned everything he needed to about Joint Venture Partnership, Brian continued with his journey and signed to become the sole JVP at Vets4Pets Blackburn in March 2018.
I soon came to realise how different the Joint Venture Partnership model was
In June 2020, Brian began to pay back his bank loan, and within 2 years of beginning to pay this back, his practice was debt free “I got there a lot quicker than anticipated” he says. Becoming debt free differs for each individual JVP, but on average, the expectation is that the business loan is paid off in around 7-10 years.
He credits a lot of this to the superb team he has supporting him. He is well staffed and has a low turnover within his clinical team. Likening himself to the title character from the Apple TV show, Ted Lasso “I have an overly positive attitude” and makes sure he is there for his team and that the environment is a place they wish to continue working. Brian took steps to improve their quality of life by setting a working week of Monday-Friday and a half day Saturday “we saw no negative impact to the business” but what he did notice was the recognisable benefits to the team “it’s provided huge improvement to all our wellbeing. When you care about your staff, they care about you and the business. In turn, this reflects in the success of the business, which makes its way back to them.”
His ambition to create an environment in which he’d be happy to work has paid off.
Dispelling the corporate myth
On becoming a Joint Venture Partner, Brian says “I would never have owned a veterinary practice again had it not been for Vets4Pets. I can focus on the clinical side of running my practice and Support Office is there to provide me with the business support as I need it” he continues “it feels much more like a real partnership that way.”
He describes life as a practice owner with Vets4Pets as being “the least corporate, ‘corporate’ vets – we are individuals.”