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Another 3 costly mistakes that even smart veterinary practice owners make (regularly)

Posted in Management @ Aug 11th 2016 - By Dr Diederik Gelderman, Turbo Charge Your Veterinary Practice
The Costliest Mistakes You Can Make In Your Veterinary Practice 2 1

What are the next three costliest mistakes you can make in your veterinary practice?

In a recent blog post we explored the two Costliest mistakes you can make in your veterinary practice that even SMART practice owners and managers make and these are mistakes that are easy to make and hard to avoid, until……. You’re really deep in the doo doo….

Today we’ll look at the next three common and very costly mistakes...


This mistake is huge – working with and servicing ALL clients.

It’s where a practice tries to ‘serve’ everyone and makes the mistake of not focusing on a particular market niche, a group of ideal clients.

When you’re working with everyone, you have to be everything to everyone and work with people you would really prefer not to – they don’t have your beliefs on pet care, it’s hard to get them to do what you think is best for their pet.

And so you’re not jumping out of bed every morning looking forward to helping those wonderful clients…. Because they’re not all wonderful.

It’s really easy to fall into this trap because early on when you're trying to grow your practice you’re really happy just to see clients, any clients. Frankly – you need the work and you need to pay the bills.

Who is your ideal client?

But even at this stage you should be looking to define your client ‘Avatar’ by asking 10-15 simple questions such as: 

  • Who is your ideal client?
  • Where do they live?
  • Are they families or younger or older couples? 
  • Where do they work?
  • What sort of jobs do they work in?
  • What sort of schools do the children go to?
  • What sort of pets do they have? etc.

These answers will help you to develop a very solid Avatar and once you know that, then you know where to find them and you also know how to attract them.

Hey – accessing the Census or similar data in your country will also give you a real leg up here.

Do this correctly and you’ll attract your ideal client and you’ll quickly become their ‘ideal’ Veterinarian - you’ll be happy as heck and so will they.

I can point you to many Vets who FINALLY (because they were dealing with clients they were not passionate about and had become burnt-out by that), bit the bullet, decided to develop their client niche, their Avatar and then concentrate on working with THAT group of clients. Every one I know has never been happier.


This mistake costs you your lifestyle, your sanity and most importantly your FREEDOM – working IN the business and not ON the business.

The quickest way that you can get your FREEDOM in a Vet practice is to BECOME A QUITTER!

That’s right….

Early on in your practice life you have to do virtually everything; from doing the drug orders, unpacking them, working at reception, cleaning the odd cage and mopping the urine up and even putting out the trash and paying the bills and the wages.

I could go on and make this list even BIGGER, but you get the drift.

As soon as you get a little spare money, hire someone to take out the trash, do the kennels and mop the floor. And put in a system so that these tasks are done as well as you’d do them yourself – even better perhaps. Then all you have to do is to occasionally monitor the system.

Then you might hire another Veterinarian and train him/her in your way of doing a consultation, managing clients, doing surgery, etc. So now you are putting in place a system for client satisfaction with this Vet and then all other Vets who join your team.

Now you can quit yourself from some of the Vet work.

Then you’d hire a bookkeeper to pay the bills and the wages. You’d teach her your system for these processes. Then you’d quit yourself out of these roles and just monitor the system.

The idea here is to QUIT YOURSELF out of almost all aspects of the practice.

So then all you have to do is to monitor the systems and do a bit of Vet work if you want to do so. Eventually you can even get someone else to monitor the systems.

Target outcome; Work 2.5-3 days per week and earn >20% net profit (after all expenses including fair wage to owner)

As you work through this process you’ll have MORE AND MORE FREEDOM.

And YES – it is scary to do – initially, it feels like you’re losing control. But in fact you’re actually gaining MORE control. Because you have the most amount of control when you have no control at all!

It’s also simple but simple doesn’t necessarily mean ‘easy to do’.

You can make this process very simple, pain-free and easy if you follow a tried and true system, a blueprint if you like and have someone mentor you through it. With someone to guide, mentor you and figuratively ‘hold-your-hand’, you’ll do this in 1/10th the time and with MUCH LESS STRESS.


This mistake is why 75% of Veterinarians retire on LESS THAN THE MEDIUM WAGE - because they are not monitoring their financial data, nor their practice Key Performance Indicators.

I won’t spend too much time here, but there are about 6-8 KEY financial data sets that you should monitor monthly and there are also about 6-8 KPIs that you need to monitor as well.

So that’s a total of just 12-16 numbers that you need to look at monthly. And when YOU DO THAT, you’ll be totally abreast of everything financial that’s happening in your practice. You’ll have PEACE OF MIND knowing that everything is perfectly on track!

The sad fact is that 99% of practices only review this data once a year at tax time.

If you want to be like me and lose a quarter of a million dollars in 2 years (1996/97) then this once a year monitoring of data is a PERFECT recipe.


If you want some financial security and FREEDOM from worrying about money, then put in place a simple process to monitor this essential data monthly. You can monitor ALL OF THE FINANCIAL AND KPI DATA YOU NEED IN JUST 30 MINUTES A MONTH.

That’s right – just 30 minutes a month……

Your Freedom; Is it worth putting a simple system to monitor this data in place in your practice? I know you’ll agree - the answer is a resounding YES

That’s it, you now know the 5 most costly mistakes that EVEN smart practice owners and managers make – and you also know how to avoid them. Time for you to get cracking…….

BTW – if you have any questions on this or need someone who’s been there to bounce ideas off or talk to, then just email me on and you can also add any comments or questions to the Comments section below.

About Diederik

Dr. Gelderman is a certified NLP Master Practitioner and Trainer. He began coaching veterinary professionals with his Turbo Charge Your Veterinary Practice seminar, in 2004, to a small group of associates. In 2009, the seminars expanding internationally to Hong Kong, NZ, Europe and the US.

Dr. Gelderman has coached and consulted with more than 350 Small to Medium Enterprises in a diverse range of industries. For more information visit 'Turbo Charge Your Practice'.

Click here to visit the Turbo Charge Your Practice Page in the Vetanswers Business Directory



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