Veterinary business planning is an important part of owning a vet business. We all know that without a plan, it would be impossible to achieve your organisation’s objectives. This blog is designed to assist your veterinary business planning and to provide some suggestions to help you achieve your own business goals.
So what is a veterinary business plan?
A veterinary business plan is a document that outlines the goals and objectives of your vet business. It should include information on the services you offer, your target market, your marketing strategy, your financial projections, and your long-term goals.
How to create a veterinary business plan
We’ll get straight to the point. Here are the five things you should keep in mind when you create your vet business plan:
- Know your veterinary objectives
- Research your niche
- Create a financial plan
- Set your marketing goals
- Plan for the future
These five areas will help you write a successful veterinary business plan. We recommend regularly reviewing your plan and explaining them to your team members. At the end of this article, we’ll give you tips on how you can engage your team members in your business planning and why it’s important to have team buy-in.
Know your veterinary objectives
The first step in creating a successful plan is to know what you want to achieve with your business. Start by asking yourself these questions:
- What are your long-term goals? For example, you may want to set your business up for success so in the long-term you can sell your veterinary business to another entity and retire.
- What do you hope to accomplish in the short-term? For instance, focus on the next six months – is it opening your veterinary practice and gathering clientele? Or if you’re already an established business it might be to improve your client experience to increase word-of-mouth referrals.
Once you have a clear idea of your objectives, you can begin to put together a plan that will help you reach them.
Research your niche
Before you can create a plan, it’s important to have a good understanding of the veterinary profession – and there is a lot to go into this section to help you build your business.
When we use the term ‘niche,’ we’re talking about your target market area in which you will concentrate on acquiring clients.
If you’re already in the field, this part will be simpler since you’ll have the necessary expertise. If not, Google will be your greatest ally as you learn more about it:
- Is there a gap in the current market?
We recommend joining community group pages on Facebook and reading comments about local veterinary businesses, researching with friends and family, and finding out about their experiences when they visit the vet.
- Are there any current relevant trends?
For example, are people in your area interested in doggy daycare for their animals, or do they need regular grooming services but can’t find a place that is open after work hours? Researching trends will help you determine your service offerings.
- What do your competitors offer?
Do a Google search for your competitors and look at their service offerings. Can you compete with their offerings? Do you have something extra to offer to improve the client experience?
- What is the potential for growth in your market?
For example, if you are the only veterinary business in a large geographical area, it may be viable for you to plan for a second clinic to expand your clientele, or offer mobile veterinary services to bridge the gap.
By doing your research, you’ll be able to create a plan that is tailored to your specific business and industry.
Create a financial plan
A veterinary business plan is not complete without a financial plan. This part can be tricky, and we recommend getting help from a professional if you’re not confident in your ability to put one together.
Your financial plan will include your start-up costs, operating expenses, and income projections. It’s important to be realistic in your projections – over-estimating your income and underestimating your expenses can lead to cash flow problems down the line.
- Project your income and expenses for the next 12 months and include a contingency plan for unexpected costs.
- Identify any start-up costs (such as renting, outfitting your business with quality equipment, and hiring staff members).
- List capital investments that will be required to sustain the business (long-term investments such as purchasing a building, or a vehicle).
- Calculate your break-even point – this is the number of Veterinary services you need to provide in order to cover your costs
- Operating expenses will be ongoing costs like utilities, inventory and consumables, insurance, and wages
- Determine your pricing strategy – will you charge by the hour, per service, or offer package deals?
- If buying an existing business, ask for the financial information from the last 12 months (at least) to help you with your planning
- Find a good accountant to help you navigate your financial planning
Set marketing goals
One of the most important aspects of your veterinary business plan is your marketing strategy. This is how you will acquire new clients and grow your business.
Identify your target market – who are the people most likely to use your services? Use the research you obtained in step two to help you identify your niche.
Once you know who your target market is, you can start to think about how to reach them. Traditional marketing methods like print advertising, radio or television commercials, and direct mail are still effective, but costly. The rise of social media has become one of the most cost-effective ways to reach your target audience and done properly, it will be your best tool.
Determine what marketing channels you will use to reach your target market. Will you use print, digital, or a combination of both?
Develop a marketing budget and allocate funds for each marketing channel you plan to use. Take a look at what your competitors are doing in terms of marketing and figure out how you might improve on their activities.
Finally, set some goals for your marketing efforts. How many new clients do you want to acquire each month? By setting measurable goals, you can track your progress and adjust your marketing strategy as needed.
By setting clear marketing goals, you’ll be able to develop a plan that will help you achieve them.
Plan for the future
As you put together your veterinary business plan, it’s important to keep the future in mind. What do you hope to achieve in the next five years? What are your long-term goals for your practice? By planning for the future, you’ll be able to make decisions today that will help you reach your goals tomorrow.
How to achieve team buy-in of your veterinary business plan
Okay, so you have your business plan. Now what? The next step is to get buy-in from your team. This means getting everyone on board with your vision for the business and ensuring that they understand their role in achieving your goals.
There are a few key things you can do to ensure team buy-in:
- Make sure your team members understand the business plan and their role in achieving the goals.
- Hold regular meetings to update everyone on your progress and solicit input from your team members.
- Encourage open communication and feedback so that everyone feels like they have a stake in the business.
- Be clear about expectations and hold everyone accountable for their responsibilities.
- Celebrate successes together and reward everyone for their hard work.
By following these steps, you’ll be well on your way to getting team buy-in for your veterinary business plan.
Following these tips will help you create a successful veterinary business plan. Remember, your plan is a living document that should be updated as your business grows and changes. By revisiting and revising your plan on a regular basis, you’ll be able to make sure that it remains relevant and helpful in guiding your business decisions.
No matter what stage you’re at in your planning process, a Veterinary Business Planning Guide can help you get started and keep you on track. This guide will provide you with the information you need to create a comprehensive and effective plan for your Veterinary business. It includes an overview of the planning process, tips on how to get started, and detailed instructions on how to put together each section of your plan.