I was recently introduced to a game called WarLight. It is essentially the online version of Risk. Games of strategy are cool because they often involve a lot of thinking before moves can be made, especially when it comes to protecting your borders all the while deciding which enemy countries to invade. The veterinary world is no different in that all of its actors need to weigh the pros and cons of every move, be it a midline incision on a patient’s abdomen or the decision of how much to market his or her practice for.
In the basement of the library building at Tufts, there is a free giveaway table on which people can donate unwanted items such as old textbooks or scrubs. One day I happened across a booklet that discussed the ins and outs of veterinary economics and practice management. I never took more than a cursory glance at it during the semester. But now on break, I have had some time to look it over and glean so much valuable information from it. One of the takeaways from the section on marketing is the concept of SWOT: Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats. Strategic planning involves a thorough breakdown of the many factors affecting the viability of the business. It may sound tedious to have to write down all of the components, but doing a SWOT analysis can provide a more thorough understanding of what a veterinary clinic is doing well in providing services for its clients’ pets and what areas are lagging behind or can be tapped into for future gains.