“How can I grow my veterinary practice?”, is probably the most asked question, when I met with other vets, so I started doing some research.

Starting or growing your veterinary practice is an exciting experience. While growth brings a great deal of potential, this task is often easier said than done. Maybe you’re wondering how can I grow my veterinary practice? There are many potential areas of growth to consider.

When you’re wondering how you can grow your veterinary practice, I would advise you to focus on these 6 areas:

  • Niche Down – May sound counter-intuitive, but we’ll get to that
  • Build a Great Team – Not just with nurses and vets
  • Expanding Your Reach – Not just online
  • Take Time To Market – And the most sustainable method is also the cheapest
  • Modernize Your Clinic
  • Manage Your Reputation Online – By starting offline (again… counter-intuitive, I know)

Before moving forward, use these tips to get started. Whether you’re considering opening up a new practice or simply expanding your current business, these pointers will get you started on the right path.


Niche Down and Focus on a Couple Core Services

This might sound counter-intuitive. If you want to grow your practice, wouldn’t you try to expand your offering?

The trouble with doing that is clients will get confused, and not be sure what you stand for. If you both the expert in dermatology, dentistry and emergency care people will assume you only half-decent at all three.

And most likely you’ll enjoy doing one of the three over the others.

Both marketing and attracting the right team will get easier. If you looking for clients that are searching for the top expert in your area, you’ll want to be the logical choice. If skilled vets are looking for challenges within a specific skill set, they’ll most likely choose the clinic with the best reputation and highest patient flow in that area.

You don’t have to fire all your client’s all at once, but find the courage to focus your hiring, marketing, and your continuing education in only one area. Some clients that don’t need your specific skill set will move away from you over time, but more clients that do you as an expert will find you more easily.


Build/Assemble a Great Team

Growth doesn’t happen alone and you need a supportive environment to get started. If you have customers at present, consider putting together a small team that will help you make the next steps.

Having a few experienced players on your team will help you avoid common mistakes.

Who exactly needs to be on your team?

A financial adviser is a person who can manage finances and put together a financial plan. If expansion means any additional costs, which it almost always does, then you need to know more about investments and returns with growth.

You should also have a legal expert. If you want to expand into a new property, a legal expert is a great asset. If you’re part of a local veterinarian association, they may have resources for members already. Consider getting a referral from this or another veterinary practice as needed.

Finally, consider a lending partner. Always keep any business finances separate from personal finances. Whether you need to take out a loan, consolidate current debt, or other financial resources, you need a lender that can be trusted. You also want a person who understands your industry.


Expand Your Reach

Before taking the next step, you need to have an idea of where you’re going. Developing a business model should be your starting place. Consider the pros and cons of each option before moving forward.

For example, you may want to add another clinic to your portfolio. Your options include starting a new office from the ground-up or acquiring an existing office. Each has its owns benefits and drawbacks. You and your team can decide which is the most feasible option.

For example, starting a new practice allows you to build the business that you want. However, it also comes with a hefty price tag. This choice may mean taking on excessive debt.

Another option is using an acquisition model. This allows a vet to purchase an existing vet practice that comes with customers, staff, and current cash flow. Buying into the practice typically allows a vet to purchase part of the business. The model then involves purchasing the rest of the business when the seller retires. Working with the original owner may not be ideal for some but allows for an easier transition.

These are examples of growth but they’re certainly not the only options. However, growth means taking on more clients which usually involves increasing your office or taking on a new office.


Take Time to Market

Referrals make up an important part of a successful veterinary practice but marketing also brings in new clients. Consider starting small with an email marketing campaign. If you have the financial resources, consider a larger investment in marketing.

Launching a new website or consulting an expert to run a marketing campaign are all great options. This choice can pay off in the long run so make marketing a priority.

My personal favorite though is content marketing. Unfortunately, this is often considered the most boring one. Even if you hire a good firm, you’ll still need to do most of the work yourself. How else is going to be better telling your story, than you?

The benefit though is one hour spend now can bring in literally thousands of clients over the years without you having to do anything else. A well-written article on your website can attract visitors 24/7 year-round.

The exciting challenge is to pick the right topic and crafting and interesting article – and then having the patience to wait 7-9 months before Google deems your article good enough to serve to searchers.

This is a topic for another day, but as an example, this is what happened you a clinic’s website when we added a decent article to an existing tiny blogpost.


Modernize the Clinic

If you work in a space that looks old and dated, you’re going to be hurting your business. Upgrading to new equipment is an investment that provides a great return. Also, any new techniques or practices that may be sought by your target market should be explored. The goal is to improve each customer’s experience.


Manage Your Reputation Online

Managing your online reputation is best don offline in my opinion. Again, counter-intuitive?

You might leverage some online tools, and indeed you should do that. But! There’s no substitute for good client service.

If you have the courage to ask a client: “How was your experience? Is there anything else we can do?”. And please: Mean it, and care!

I hate, and you might too, the sleazy customer support person how reads from a script, saying all the right words, but not listing to anything you have to say. They couldn’t care less. You should!

If your clients have anything that wasn’t at 100 %, go out of your way to fix it – even if it was originally out of your control. And if you can get happy clients even with a failed treatment, is again a story for another blog post. I believe you can, and the key lays in actually caring.

If the client was happy, follow up with something like: “Would you mind taking half a moment to write to a two-sentence review on XYZ? It would mean the world to me.”

People look to the internet more than ever before when finding a veterinarian. Do a quick search to find out what your reputation is online?

A quick search leads people to social media sites and review sites where they can view ratings and comments from customers. A poor rating is going to hurt you. Encourage current customers to leave online reviews to boost your reputation. Also, address any negative reviews right away to avoid long-term pitfalls.


Finally, be ready to invest your time. Growth doesn’t happen overnight but these steps help you build a successful practice. Use these tips to get started on the right track.