I’m going to start this article by making a couple of assumptions (yes, I know what assuming does):
- Your veterinary practice has a mission statement.
- Your mission statement sucks.
If the first assumption applies to you but the second doesn’t, my apologies. (But, you should probably read on just to be certain.)
Here are a few veterinary mission statements found through a quick internet search:
- “To provide excellent veterinary service by utilizing the highest standards of care…”
- “To provide the highest quality medical and surgical care to our patients while providing our clients with education and assistance in all aspects of animal care and ownership…”
- “To provide exceptional care to our clients and patients during every visit in a caring and compassionate manner…”
- “To provide the highest standards of health care to the pets we serve…”
Well, that’s just great! As a pet owner, I can’t go wrong with any of these practices! They all provide excellent, high-quality medicine! Thank goodness. I’d hate to take my pet to a veterinarian who provides terrible, low-quality care.
Do you see the problem, here?
The mission of every single veterinary practice is to provide high-quality medicine. That’s a given. No one aims to be the worst. No one hopes to provide low-quality medicine or client service. Your mission statement doesn’t need to state the obvious. Instead, it should convey how your practice is different.
How to create a compelling veterinary mission statement
I love shopping at Nordstrom. Their mission statement is “To give customers the most compelling shopping experience possible.” They live up to that mission every single time I shop there. They have the best brands and displays. Their stores are always clean, organized, and smell fantastic. Their customer service is second-to-none. Nordstrom gives me the most compelling shopping experience possible, and I’ll choose to shop there over other stores that might be less expensive or closer to my home because of that compelling shopping experience.
Nordstrom uses their mission statement to guide the way they do business—the products they carry, the services they offer, the customer service they provide. The same can apply to your veterinary hospital. Here are five tips on how to create a compelling mission statement for your veterinary practice:
- Use a thesaurus. If you think I’m crazy and still want to include “to provide exceptional medicine” in your mission statement, at least try to find a new way to say it. Extraordinary, phenomenal, remarkable, unprecedented…. Thesaurus.com is your friend.
- Think about outcomes, rather than actions. What will happen if you provide exceptional medicine and client service? Perhaps you’ll “Inspire pet owners to take the best care of their pets.” Or, maybe you’ll “Nurture the human-animal bond so pets and their owners can live long, happy lives together.” You might “Make the world a better place for companion animals and their humans.” By talking about the outcome, the action (providing exceptional medicine) is implied, and you avoid sounding like every other veterinary practice.
- Focus on how you differ from your competitors. Why are your clients loyal to you? Because you’ve been around since your dad opened the practice in 1964? “To continue the legacy Dr. Founder started in 1964 by caring for the pets of ABCtown as if they were our own.” Or, maybe your clients love your practice because you give back to the community regularly. “To be the business that takes care of pets, people, and the ABCtown community by giving our time, resources, love, knowledge, and hard work when it’s needed and where it’s needed.”
- Think about your clients. Obviously the kind of medicine you practice is important, but what about the kind of client service you offer? What do your clients think about? What do they care about? Do your clients value your honesty and willingness to recommend what you’d do for your pet, even if it isn’t the most expensive option? “Veterinary care with integrity.” Do your clients value your empathy and relatability? “To treat pets and their people how we want to be treated.” Think about what makes your practice stand out in the eyes of your clients—you can peruse your online reviews to find common key words clients use—and then anchor your mission on those features.
- Don’t be afraid…
- …to go short and simple. “To spread the power of optimism.” That’s the mission of Life is Good. “To create and promote great-tasting, healthy, organic beverages.” That’s the mission of Honest Tea. These mission statements are short, sweet, and to-the-point. There’s no guesswork here.
- …to go long. Have more you want to say? That’s OK! You can include a bulleted or numbered list within your mission. You can add sections for each segment you serve. As long as it’s interesting, unique, and relevant, include it.
- …to spice it up. Millennials make up the largest segment of the pet-owning population, and they want to work with businesses that stand out and challenge the status quo. So, “Just do it,” as Nike would say.
There is no special template for a mission statement. Be unique, be you, and you can’t go wrong.
Learn more about creating a strategic mission and vision for your practice. Check out the Relationship Centered Practice Academy.