In a thought provoking article in the current issue of Today’s Veterinary Business, my VetPartners colleagues Karen Felsted and Peter Weinsten make a challenging assertion:
“Now is the time to think differently. The pandemic forced veterinary practices to adjust their business protocols. So, we know that practices can change. When the pandemic is over, you must ask yourself this: Will I return to February 2020, or will I use the opportunity to create a business model that meets the needs of my clients and provides for my team and me?”
Thinking differently is especially important for independent veterinary practices.
Felsted and Weinstein strongly recommend that practice owners “re-imagine” their business model – their core plan for success and profitability. This involves clearly defining why their hospital is unique and why pet owners would want to pick their practice instead of a competitor’s. Being intentional about these critical factors can help them stand out in their community, keep their businesses energized, and strengthen their profitability against the corporate practices that are engulfing the profession.
They go on to say that the most successful businesses focus on fulfilling customer wants, a concept much more important than fulfilling customer needs. What’s been clear for many years is that many pets “need” more care than they get, but it doesn’t work as a strategy. People have to “want” the care, and they have to find value in it. Wants change over time so the primary focus in determining your practice’s business model is knowing what pet owners want and value.
I would add that it’s also important to consider the connection between what clients want and where those things intersect with the unique gifts, strengths and passions that are shared by you and your practice’s team members.
Felsted and Weinstein offer specific tips for the homework you need to do to assess client demographics and changing pet owner wants. They also provide a variety of innovative ideas on ways individual practices can differentiate themselves from the sea of other practices offering similar services. There are many considerations including:
– Different “access to care” models
– Different “client experience” models
Add to these things the expansion of telehealth services and the increased integration of technology into pet care and I believe we have a very strong case for the need to re-think our current business models.
Is it time to re-imagine your practice? What Bob Dylan sang about in 1964 seems to be relevant for us today…
Come gather ’round people
Wherever you roam
And admit that the waters
Around you have grown
And accept it that soon
You’ll be drenched to the bone
If your time to you is worth savin’
And you better start swimmin’
Or you’ll sink like a stone
For the times they are a-changin’
Yes, “the times they are a-changin'” Read the article it’s definitely worth your time! And Happy Re-Imagining!
Being able to adapt to changes in customer wants and being willing to re-imagine the business model is so important! I’ve seen some owners refuse to change anything, from medications used to practice policies, because it was/has been successful and didn’t care to see how they could change to improve the clinic all around. I believe we should always be striving to learn and improve.