Petplan to hold veterinary clinic business strategy speaker series

The insurer aims to help independent veterinary practice owners compete against marketing-savvy, corporate-owned hospital networks

Petplan pet insurance announced it will hold its Business of Veterinary Medicine Conference in partnership with VMX on Feb. 2. The speaker series is designed to help independent veterinary practice owners answer the challenge posed by the increase in marketing-savvy, corporate-owned hospital networks.

“Practice owners are becoming more aware of the need to pay attention to the business side of veterinary medicine,” said Andy Roark, DVM, an industry speaker, author, and media personality who Petplan partnered with to develop the series. “The rise of corporate practices are really forcing business to the forefront.”

According to Dr. Roark, the most important business principles that practice owners and staff should focus on are strategy (where they are going as a practice), operations (efficiency in providing services), marketing (how to tell their story to find clients), and client experience (how the practice makes people feel).

“Vets have always done a good job with operations and efficiency,” Roark said. “The area that has the potential to make the biggest impact now is a practice’s specific strategy for its clientele. Veterinarians are coming to the understanding that different clients want different things, and they can’t be all things to all people. Practice owners need to figure out who they serve and why they are different, and then tell that story.”

The good news is that even small independent practices with limited resources can take steps to better compete in this new veterinary landscape, he added.

“If there’s one thing anyone can do it is to make a strategic plan,” he said. “Figure out your core values, what you’re better at than everyone around you, and how to tell your story. If you figure that out, all of the next steps will become crystal clear. That’s the difference between a brand like Ben & Jerry’s and a generic ice cream maker. It’s about communicating what you care about and what your practice is about. And that doesn’t cost anything.”

Roark will present “Customer Service: You’re Doing It Wrong” at Petplan’s upcoming Business of Veterinary Medicine Conference. He’ll be joined by:

Mark Cushing, a long-time political strategist, lobbyist, and corporate executive specializing in animal health and veterinary education issues. Mark will present on telemedicine.

Robert Borghese, a member of the faculty of the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania as a lecturer in law and entrepreneurial management, for a presentation on legal considerations.

Tracy Dowdy, CVPM, who has been helping veterinarians and their teams operate successful practices for more than 20 years, who will host “Relationship Centered Practice.”

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