What’s In a Number?

How do you know that your business is successful? The short answer: You need goals, or milestones, for each month, quarter, and year. Then you have to measure the data to know if you’re meeting the goals.
Without relevant and accurate data, you cannot solve problems and make decisions that keep you moving forward. Eventually, the practice’s productivity and profit languish as you continue NOT to pay attention to the numbers.
As Peter Drucker and Gino Wickman–both famous business authors and speakers–have pointed out, that which gets measured gets improved. To get on track with data, here’s where to start:
  • Identify five to 15 high-level numbers for the practice.
  • Develop a dashboard to track them.


Identify What’s Most Important

To identify the numbers that you should be tracking, meet with your leadership team and:
  • Brainstorm and list the major numbers you need to track.
  • List who is accountable for each number.
  • Decide on a weekly goal for each category.
  • Assign someone to collect the numbers each week and report them to the leadership team.
  • Meet at least twice a month to monitor the data together.
Common high-level numbers include weekly revenue, new clients, number of new referring DVMs, number of referring DVM contacts, payroll numbers, drug and supply costs, and client-service ratings.

Create Your Dashboard

The dashboard–also known as a scorecard–is the list of the high-level numbers you chose. It tells you at a glance how your business is doing. Your dashboard might look something like this:
As Gino Wickman points out in his book, Traction, “Your leadership team will become more proactive at solving problems because you’ll have hard data that not only points out current problems but also predicts future ones.” Data matters because it takes the subjective quality out of your work and turns it into tangibles. Without it, you can’t achieve your vision.
This article is adapted from content in Shawn McVey’s presentation titled, “Pathway Planning: How to Get Traction.” Book Shawn today for a one-, two-, or three-day version of this presentation to learn a revolutionary, sustainable way to run your business! Contact Cindy Oliphant at 888-759-7191 or by email.

Move Your Team Forward With a Clear Vision Statement

It’s a practice owner’s job to align the team with his or her vision and move the practice forward. If you haven’t written down your vision and shared it with your team, your staff isn’t working toward a common goal. Sure, everyone knows that you want to “help pets,” but you have to get more specific. Vision is the foundation of a successful business because it serves as a compass, pointing everyone in the right direction.

Define Your Vision

As defined by Gino Wickman in his book Traction, vision is a clear definition of where your practice is headed. The way I define it is what your practice would look like if you had no encumbrances, meaning you had all the time, staff, money, and energy you needed, and everyone wanted your services.


When you write your vision statement, talk about outcomes and feelings. Define “who we want to be.” Talk about what’s going to happen in the future if the team works to achieve the mission and lives by the organization’s core values. Make it as specific as possible so that your team and your clients can buy into your perfect future, as in this example:

“Venice Veterinary Hospital is known for its modern facility, state-of-the-art equipment, highly skilled doctors and staff, and comprehensive services. We pride ourselves on being the most trusted provider of uncompromising medical care and customer service in our market.

In our ever-expanding practice, we treat clients and their pets with great compassion and respect. We focus on educating clients one-on-one about pet health and wellness. Open
communication–with our team and our clients–is a priority.”

Share Your Vision

After you write the vision, continuously communicate it and clarify how it relates to the day-to-day work at your practice.

To start, hold an all-hands kickoff meeting to share your vision. Give examples of behaviors that demonstrate alignment with it. For example, brainstorm with the team how each person can contribute to educating clients or show compassion and respect. Save time for a Q&A session at the end.

Then, schedule short, quarterly, vision meetings every 90 days. As a team, identify answers to questions such as, “Where have we been? Where are we? Where are we going?” The leadership team should be prepared to provide data to support the discussion.

When It’s Not a Fit

It’s your business, and you have the right and obligation to expect each team member to understand your vision, share it, and work to achieve it. Some people will find that your company is not a good fit for them and leave on their own. For those who don’t align and don’t make the decision to leave, you must let them go.