Funds and games

Funds and games

Learning about the bottom line doesn't have to be boring. Make a game of it during a staff meeting, over lunch, or while record keeping. You'll build your team, raise some profits, and maybe even share a laugh or two. Here are four contests to get you started.
May 01, 2009

The dental dash

Pick an area in the practice where you really want to affect sales. Let's say dental cleanings. Set a reasonable number of cleanings, maybe six, for each team member to strive to schedule in a month. Then track participants' progress on a poster board in a room away from clients' eyes. Put a star next to players' names when they sign up a client. The first player who reaches the magic number picks up two movie passes.

Guess how much

Crack down on missed fees and score a free meal. Write down every forgotten fee you catch—such as a fecal that ended up being free—on a scrap of paper. Put the notes in a hat or jar. At the end of the month, everyone can guess how much "money" is in the hat. Add up the missed charges and reward the closest guesser with a free lunch—and exclusion from calling the clients about their escaped fees, if your practice does that. Want to raise the stakes? Ask the owner to throw a pizza party if next month's total missed charges are down by 25 percent.

The price is right

Get a grasp on wholesale product prices. Enlist the person who purchases products for your practice to display a combination of everyday and less commonly used items. Then ask contestants to bid by naming the wholesale price. Present a small prize, like a snack, to the team member who names the most accurate price. Move the top two contenders to the showcase showdown, where they'll compete to price two common procedures—maybe a dental and a spay. The competitor who guesses closest without going over walks away with a huge prize—like a paid afternoon off.

20 questions

Help team members understand the real cost of running a practice with a questionnaire. (Click here to download Rivers' sample quiz.)Give everyone 10 minutes to answer 20 questions on paper. Sample question: What's the most expensive antibiotic in the injectables cabinet? Read the answers aloud so employees can grade their quizzes. The high scorer wins a premium parking space for the week.

In the likely case of a tie, prepare a few extra queries and play oral sudden death. Put the tied team members in the middle of the room and alternate questions, eliminating players as they answer incorrectly. The last player standing wins the VIP spot, and everyone else gains the knowledge.

Bonus:Click hereto check out River's fifth financial game.

Caitlin Rivers
Caitlin Rivers is a Firstline Editorial Advisory Board member and a veterinary assistant and technician supervisor with Metzger Animal Hospital in State College, Pa. Please send your questions and comments to