Last updated on October 18th, 2023
Your executive summary is the first part of your business plan, but you usually write it last because it is a summary of all the important parts.
The point of your Executive Summary is to get the reader’s attention quickly. Tell them what kind of veterinary clinic or practice you run and what your status is. For instance, are you a new business, do you want to grow your veterinary clinic, or do you run a chain of veterinary clinics?
Next, give an overview of each part of your plan that follows. For example, you could give a short summary of the veterinary clinic business. Talk about the kind of veterinary business you run. Detail your direct competitors. Tell us about your ideal customers. Give a brief overview of your marketing plan. Find the important people on your team. And explain what your financial plan is.
In your business analysis, you will explain what kind of veterinary business you run.
For example, you could run one of the following types of veterinary clinics:
- Small animal practice is a type of veterinary clinic that takes care of small animals like cats and dogs.
- Large Animal Practice: This kind of veterinary clinic takes care of horses, cows, and other farm animals.
- Emergency Veterinary Clinic: This type of veterinary clinic helps animals who are sick, hurt, or having an allergic reaction after hours.
In the section of your business plan called “Company Analysis,” you need to explain the type of business you will run and give background information about the business.
Answers should be given to questions like:
- When did you start your business, and why?
- What important steps have you taken so far? Some examples of milestones are the number of customers served, the number of good reviews, the total number of animals treated, etc.
- Your legal structure. Are you set up as an S-Corporation? An LLC? A single-person business? Tell us about your legal structure.
In your industry analysis, you need to give an overview of the veterinary clinic business.
Even though this may seem pointless, it has more than one use.
First, learning about the veterinary clinic business gives you information. It gives you a better idea of the market you are in.
Second, market research can help you make your strategy better, especially if it shows you market trends.
The third reason to do market research is to show your readers that you know a lot about your field. You do just that by doing the research and putting it in your plan.
In the industry analysis section, you should answer the following questions:
- How much money does the veterinary clinic industry make?
- Is the market going down or up?
- Who are your main rivals in the market?
- Who are the main market suppliers?
- What changes are happening in the field?
- How fast is the industry expected to grow in the next 5–10 years?
- How big is the market that matters? That is, how big is the market that your veterinary practice could serve? You can figure out such a number by figuring out how big the market is in the whole country and then applying that number to the population in your area.
In the customer analysis section, you need to explain who you serve and/or who you hope to serve.
Pet owners, livestock owners like farmers and ranchers, and horse owners are all examples of customer segments.
As you might guess, the type of veterinary clinic you run will depend a lot on the customer segment(s) you choose. Obviously, marketing campaigns for dog and cat owners and ranchers would be very different.
Try to figure out who your ideal customers are based on how they look and how they think. In terms of demographics, talk about the ages, genders, locations, and income levels of the people you want to serve. Most veterinary clinics mostly serve people who live in the same city or town, so it’s easy to find this kind of demographic information on government websites.
Psychographic profiles explain what your target customers want and need. The better you can understand and define these needs, the easier it will be to get customers and keep them coming back.
In your competitive analysis, you should list your business’s direct and indirect competitors and then focus on the direct ones.
Other veterinary clinics are your direct competitors.
Indirect competitors are other places where customers can buy things that aren’t direct competitors. This includes online vets or telemedicine for pets. You should also talk about this competition.
In terms of direct competition, you should talk about the other veterinary clinics with which you are in direct competition. Most likely, the closest veterinary clinics to you will be your main competitors.
Give an overview of each of these competitors’ businesses and list their strengths and weaknesses. Unless you’ve worked at one of your competitors’ companies, you won’t know everything about them. But you should be able to find out key facts about them, such as:
- What types of animals do they help?
- What kinds of care do they offer?
- How much do they charge (high, low, etc.)?
- What can they do well?
- What do they do wrong?
For the last two questions, try to answer them from the customers’ point of view. And don’t be afraid to ask the customers of your competitors what they like and dislike about them.
The last part of your competitive analysis section is to list the ways you are better than your competitors. As an example:
- Will you give animals better care?
- Will you offer things that your competitors don’t?
- Will you treat your customers better?
- Will you price things better?
Think about how you will do better than your competitors and write them down in this part of your plan.
Usually, a marketing plan has four parts: the product, the price, the place, and the promotion. Your marketing plan for a veterinary clinic should include the following:
Product: In the product section, you should repeat the type of veterinary clinic company you wrote about in your Company Analysis. Then, give specifics about the products you’ll be selling. For instance, in addition to being a veterinary clinic, will you also offer dental care or grooming?
Price: Write down the prices you’ll be charging and how they compare to those of your competitors. In your marketing plan, the product and price sections are basically where you list the services you offer and how much they cost.
Place: This is where your veterinary clinic business is located. Write down where you are and how that will affect your success. For instance, is your veterinary clinic in a busy shopping area, an agricultural area, etc.? Talk about why your location could be the best for your customers.
Promotions: The last part of your marketing plan for your veterinary clinic is the section on promotions. Here, you’ll write down how you’ll get people to your location (s). Here are some ways you could promote your business:
- Putting ads in newspapers and magazines in your area
- Contacting local websites
- Social media marketing
- Local radio advertising
In the other parts of your business plan, you talked about your goals. In your operations plan, you talk about how you will reach those goals. Your plan for operations should have two separate parts.
Everyday short-term processes include all of the tasks you need to do to run your business, such as making appointments, marketing tasks, meeting with owners, treating animals, and billing.
Long-term goals are the goals you want to reach in the future. These could be the dates when you hope to treat your 1,000th animal or earn $X. It could also be when you plan to move your veterinary clinic to a new or bigger location.
To show that your veterinary clinic can be successful, you need a strong management team. Showcase the backgrounds of your key players, focusing on the skills and experiences that prove they can help a company grow.
Ideally, you and/or other members of your team have managed veterinary clinics before. If so, talk about your experience and skills. But also highlight any experience you think will help your business succeed.
If your team is missing something, you might want to put together an advisory board. A two-to-eight-person advisory board would help your business in the same way that a mentor would. They would help answer questions and give advice on how to plan. If you need to, look for advisory board members who have run veterinary clinics or small businesses well.
Your 5-year financial plan should include a monthly or quarterly breakdown for the first year, then an annual breakdown after that. Your income statement, balance sheet, and cash flow statement are all part of your financial statements.
A more common name for an income statement is a Profit and Loss statement, or P&L. It shows your income and then takes away your expenses to show if you made a profit.
You need to make assumptions in order to make your income statement. For example, will you treat 50 animals every day or every week? And will sales grow by 2% or 10% every year? As you might expect, the financial forecasts for your business will be greatly affected by the assumptions you choose. Do as much research as you can to try to make sure your assumptions are true.
Balance sheets show both your assets and your debts. Balance sheets can have a lot of information, but try to boil them down to the most important parts. For example, if you spend $50,000 to build up your veterinary clinic business, you won’t make money right away. Instead, it is an asset that you can use to make money for years to come. Likewise, if a bank gives you a check for $50,000, you don’t have to pay it back right away. Instead, you will have to pay that back over time.
Cash Flow Statement: Your cash flow statement will help you figure out how much money you need to start or grow your business and make sure you never run out of cash. Most business owners and entrepreneurs don’t realize that you can make money but still go bankrupt if you run out of money.
When making your Income Statement and Balance Sheets, be sure to include some of the most important costs of starting or growing a veterinary clinic business:
- Location build-out, which includes construction, design fees, etc.
- Cost of supplies and equipment
- Payroll or salaries given to employees
- Insurance for businesses
- Taxes and licenses:
- Legal expenses