Don’t think you’re growing your business just because you’re busy - Veterinary Practice
Your browser is out-of-date!

Update your browser to view this website correctly. Update my browser now



Don’t think you’re growing your business just because you’re busy

Paul Green says that making key marketing decisions on gut feel can be dangerous and offers a five-step strategy to help owners ensure that the hours they spend on their business is productive

IF you talk to enough practice
owners for long enough about their
businesses and how they are
performing, you start to notice
some really strange anomalies.

For example, you spot that the
ones who are struggling with their
business, typically work just as hard as
the ones who are seeing their turnover
and profit grow.

That doesn’t make sense, does it?
That’s not what they teach us at
school and

They teach us
that the
harder you
work – the
more hours
you put in –
the better the
results you

So how come that isn’t the case
with your practice? How come there is
a disconnect between hours worked
and success achieved?

The first time I noticed this a few
years ago I dug a little deeper to see
why this was the case. And I realised
that practice owners whose hard work
is getting them nowhere
fast are often confusing
activity for progress.

Put another way,
they are working on the
wrong things, and so
get easily frustrated and
demotivated when
those things don’t give
them the results they

For example, the practice owner
who works hard on the perfect new
client generation advert, but then puts
it in the wrong place. There’s no point
putting it in the local paper, or in
Yellow Pages or on a billboard. These
methods don’t give you a good
enough ROI (return on investment) in

The website where the practice
owner has spent thousands of pounds
and many hours of meetings getting
the design right, but then puts in the same generic boring text as every
other vet’s website.

Writing “Welcome to the XYZ
Vets website – we offer the best
service and quality” hurts your

The practice owner who spends
hours writing a new reminder letter
from scratch, tries it with 25 clients,
and then bins it because in their
opinion “it doesn’t work”. And
returns to the tired old one they’ve been using for a decade already.
Making key marketing decisions on gut feel can be dangerous when split
testing allows you a scientific way to
measure and improve any piece of

If you’re working hard but not
seeing results, you really need to
STOP and do something differently.

Here’s a five-step
strategy to make sure
that every hour you
spend working on your
business is productive.

1. Set the right

If you don’t know what
you’re working towards, how can you know what to invest your
time in? The leaders of successful
practices know exactly what they want
and remind themselves every day that
their main priority at work is not
spending time in the consulting room
… it’s pulling the business towards its
big goal. Seeing patients is an
important activity but not one that
grows the business.

2. Develop the right strategy

A goal without a plan is just a dream.
So develop a strategy and start
working it. Don’t worry if you’ve got
the right or wrong strategy; all
strategies evolve over time, especially
as you learn more about your goal and
what you need to do to get to it more

3. Use the right balance of

You have three resources available to you: time, energy and cash. Make sure
you use them in the right balance.
Your time is the most precious
resource and the most finite. Don’t
waste it. Your energy will start to run
out earlier and earlier each day as you
get older (which is why business
development is best done before the
day’s clinic starts). Use whatever cash
you have available to make up for lack
of time and energy.

4. Grow the right team

Your staff are one of the key factors
that will help you succeed or fail in
growing your business. If they’re the
wrong people, they have to go. Hire an
aggressive HR expert and adopt a
policy of “hire slowly, fire quickly”. Get
rid of the dead wood. A little short-
term pain will pay off in the long-term as new motivated and excited staff
move you forward even faster.

5. DOA

Traditionally this has always meant
Dead On Arrival. Well that’s what you
will be if you try to do everything in
your practice yourself. Instead you
should Delegate, Outsource,
Automate. Ninety per cent of all the
tasks you are currently doing,
someone else can do for you. Which
means you focus just on the things
that really matter.

Please don’t read this and think
I’m just saying you should work less.
That in itself isn’t the answer. I’m just
saying that if you are going to work
hard, then work hard on the right
things. After all, you’re in business not

Have you heard about our
IVP Membership?

A wide range of veterinary CPD and resources by leading veterinary professionals.

Stress-free CPD tracking and certification, you’ll wonder how you coped without it.

Discover more