6 ways to fight the veterinary competition—without fighting


6 ways to fight the veterinary competition—without fighting

Take a deep breath, hang up the gloves, and take a good look at these tips. They'll help you handle interclinic aggression without stooping to your competitor's level.
Nov 01, 2011

Andrew Roark, DVM, MS
They did what?" I sputtered. The practice owner I was talking with on the phone was a longtime friend. He lowered his voice and explained, "They bought reviews on Google."

We were discussing the megapractice down the road. This practice had been amassing negative online client reviews for months—at the same time that my friend's clients were posting glowing reviews of his small startup clinic.

But suddenly, the megapractice had garnered 30 five-star reviews in a matter of weeks, all from "clients" who had all—coincidentally?—given five-star reviews to a slew of other unrelated businesses across the United States. Either these reviewers were traveling cross-country together, reviewing the same random businesses, or the competition was buying their praise. Unbelievable.

Now, a little friendly competition can be healthy. It can motivate you to improve both your medicine and your business practices. Plus, the presence of others in your business space pushes you to create better value for clients and patients and keeps you from resting on your laurels.

However, the fear of competition stealing clients can also make for a stressful situation—especially when your rivals play dirty. In my years as a veterinarian—working at a fledgling startup practice, a megapractice, and now at a three-doctor clinic in an area where new practices are constantly opening—I've dealt with many different competitors. I've led strategic planning sessions for veterinary organizations, clinics, and corporations, and dealing with veterinary competition is one of the most frequently discussed topics.

In facilitating these discussions, as well as leading veterinary teams on the ground, I've discovered some excellent tactics for addressing rivals. It's time for the gloves to come off so you can focus your energy on tackling what's most important: your practice. Here are six tips for handling interclinic aggression without stooping to your competitor's level.