Running a successful veterinary practice involves more than providing quality pet care. Your business also needs exceptional veterinary business management — overseeing the business side of your practice to ensure sustainable profitability and long-term success.
Whether you hire a certified veterinary practice manager or assign a front desk receptionist to complete these tasks, you need a detailed business plan that addresses every aspect of running a compliant, profitable vet clinic and sets clear goals for the future. Then, you’ll have the framework to manage your vet practice well over time.
You may also need a business plan if you’re looking to secure funding through a grant, private investment, or bank loan. Learn the essential components of a veterinary business plan and tips to help yours succeed.
Elements of a Veterinary Business Management Plan
A business management plan is a tool to set up the future operations of your veterinary practice. Your veterinary practice management plan should address all of the following:
In the past, providing excellent animal care may have been enough to run a successful veterinary practice. But today, your practice must compete for business with the other vet clinics in your area to stay afloat. You need effective veterinary marketing strategies to reach potential patients and get your name out there.
Your veterinary business plan should list the marketing strategies that are currently active and the ones you plan to initiate in the future. These may include digital marketing strategies such as:
- PPC ads
- Social media marketing
- Email marketing
- Search engine optimization
They may also include traditional strategies such as:
- Print ads
The more detail you include in your business plan, the better. Be sure to include the goals of each strategy, the budget, and any data about their performance.
Many vet clinics don’t have dedicated human resources departments. Instead, the practice owner handles any HR issues directly. Because of this lack of actual HR training and planning, many practices don’t have the infrastructure to address HR issues when they arise.
An effective business plan within the veterinary profession includes details about how your practice will resolve conflicts and overcome challenges in the workplace. It addresses:
- The hiring and firing processes
- Employee payroll and benefits
- Conflict management strategies
- Staff retention strategies
- Processes for working with current veterinary students and hiring recent graduates
Your practice’s finances are your lifeline. As such, your veterinary practice business plan should address your current financial standing, financial goals, and steps to achieve those goals.
At a minimum, include the following financial data in your plan:
- Balance sheets
- Profit and loss statements
- Cash flow statements
- Income statements
- Tax returns
Including all of this information in your business plan can ensure that you have a solid understanding of your finances moving forward.
The American Animal Hospital Association has a helpful Chart of Accounts specifically designed for companion-animal practices that you can use to make more sense of your financial figures and how they relate to your practice’s success. You can also look to the American Veterinary Medical Association’s Pricing Strategy to ensure that your pricing reflects your value-based medical services.
Spend ample time fleshing out the financial section of your veterinary business management plan.
What equipment does your veterinary practice need to optimize animal welfare, use effective communication with pet parents, and avoid wasting time on administrative tasks? Make a list of all your equipment — both physical medical equipment and software — and detail how they contribute to your practice’s goals.
If your practice doesn’t currently use veterinary practice management software, consider adding this tool to your repertoire. A veterinary practice management program can help you streamline communication with pet parents, appointments, payments, and more.
For example, Weave’s Vet Software includes comprehensive features to help you keep in touch with clients and simplify daily tasks, such as:
- Web assistant
- Mobile app
Utilizing this software can reduce the burden on your veterinary staff.
Listing your veterinary technology and equipment in your business plan can help you identify gaps and overlaps. It can also provide a quick inventory reference for when you decide to purchase new equipment.
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To ensure that the pets at your practice receive the best possible care, compliance is a crucial element of your business plan:
- General safety: How do you prevent accidents and ensure top-quality care for your pet patients?
- Corporate practice laws: Does your state prohibit the corporate practice of veterinary medicine?
- False advertising: Do your advertisements accurately and transparently reflect your services?
Refer to Veterinary Compliance Assistance for compliance resources.
Client Journey & Experience
Clients of your vet practice often worry about their pets’ health and seek peace and comfort. How you interact with your client base can significantly affect your reputation and long-term success.
Include details in your veterinary services business plan about fostering a positive client journey and experience. Then, create goals for how you can improve. These may include:
- Employing automated software to communicate with clients more frequently
- Sending surveys to your current client base to assess how your practice can improve
- Creating a detailed, heartfelt process to help pet parents manage grief after their pets pass away
Check out Weave’s Veterinary Case Study to learn how using an automated communication system can enhance your communication.
Veterinary Business Plan Tips
Your veterinary business plan shouldn’t just be a detailed record of your current processes and performance. It should look to the future and set your business up for growth and success.
To make the most of your business plan, review these veterinary business ideas:
Do Your Research
How do practice managers assess the success or failure of their veterinary clinics? You must perform research to determine how your clinic measures up to other practices in the veterinary industry. Look to resources like:
These associations have excellent resources for the veterinary management side of the veterinary field, such as information about obtaining a veterinary practice management certificate. They also provide veterinary medicine continuing education resources and certificate programs to ensure that your veterinary professionals use the latest techniques and practice management skills to provide exceptional patient care.
Of course, your veterinary management plan should accurately depict your business’s operations and objectives. It should be as precise as possible to provide value to your practice.
It should also have realistic goals with detailed processes for how you will achieve them. Consider setting SMART (specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-bound) goals.
Your veterinary practice shouldn’t exist in a vacuum. Just like veterinary students need feedback from professors to hone their skills, your practice needs feedback to shape your processes and deliver the best customer experience.
You should invite feedback from several different sources. First, look to other veterinary professionals and organizations to review your business plan and offer suggestions for improvement.
Client reviews provide valuable insight into issues you may not otherwise see. Your veterinary practice manager should read feedback on websites like Google, Yelp, and Facebook frequently.
With platforms like Weave Review Management, your practice manager can even receive notifications whenever someone leaves a new review so you can respond quickly.
Update Your Plan Regularly
Your business plan should always reflect your current skills, processes, and goals, so update it frequently. Many veterinarians adjust their business plans quarterly and write fresh plans each year.
Looking for ways to improve your veterinary practice operations? Request your free Weave demo today to and see how it can accelerate your veterinary business.