It’s 2019, and you’ve probably resolved to make various improvements in your life. If you’re a veterinary practice owner and you don’t have a strategic plan for your business, developing one should be at the top of your list of New Year’s resolutions.

The number one problem that prevents practices from being successful is the lack of a strong business plan and operational model that guides owners to create a high-performing and profitable business. Without proper planning, you’re just going through the motions every day, and your veterinary practice is susceptible to poor performance and failure.

By creating a strategic plan and clearly defining your core values, mission, and vision so your entire team understands and is committed to them, your veterinary practice will become sustainable, high-performing, and profitable.

Wondering how you can create an effective strategic plan? Here are four tips:

#1: Take a realistic look at where you are

This is not easy. Many of us have a difficult time seeing our shortcomings, and, as a small business owner, you may see a rosier picture of your business than those on the outside. Audits—internal and external—can help you accurately assess where your business is so you can identify exactly where you need and want to take it.

#2: Determine where you want to go

What are your long-term goals for your business? By understanding where you want your business to go over time, you’ll be able to more easily develop a practice mission and vision, and you’ll be able to determine the issues that are priorities to you. Your strategic plan should focus on those very issues.

#3: Figure out the who and how

To meet your goals and address those issues that are priorities to you, what needs to occur? What objectives must be met? Who will be involved, and how will they be held accountable? Involve your veterinary practice team as you develop a strategic plan centered around the issues that are important to you. By involving the team, they’ll be more likely to buy into the future direction of the veterinary practice. The shared vision becomes the standard by which all decisions are made and can be measured.

#4: Don’t set it and forget it

It is critical that your practice’s vision and strategic plan is communicated often with the team. Use regular team meetings to discuss the goals of the practice. Once the vision is integrated into your practice, a sense of teamwork will grow within your culture. Your team will understand why things are done the way they’re done and why particular decisions are made, and they’ll all be working toward a common goal. They’ll be more accepting of changes made in an effort to improve the practice and live up to the shared vision.

In addition to communicating regularly with the team, be sure to review your plan and refine your processes at least quarterly.


Don’t continue flying by the seat of your pants this year. Create an effective strategic plan and vision for your veterinary practice so you can make 2019 your most successful yet.

For more tips on how to propel your veterinary practice to higher levels of success, join the waiting list for the Relationship Centered Practice Academy.