Numbers Never Lie

In one of our previous blog articles, we highlighted how important it is that every person, whether or not they run a business, is 100% responsible for everything that happens in their personal and professional life.

In this article we will instead focus on how essential it is in any business, to collect and analyze as many numbers as possible. Specifically, I am not referring to budget or financial statement numbers: those are used to make an economic and/or financial assessment of a business and are generally handled by accountants and financial advisors. What I am talking about are all those numbers that allow us to determine in real-time what changes to make in our veterinary practice and to decide what direction to take. These numbers are not only fundamental for those businesses where a team is involved, but also for those managed as a single practice. Gathering and analyzing our numbers allows us to accurately know “where we are”, what is our starting point and consequently to plan for future projects or for the adjustments that need to be done in our practice. For example, I’m talking about numbers relative to “how many potential new customers are calling me or entering my clinic for the first time?”, “how many of these become my customers?”, “how many of these come back or call me again?”, “how many quotations are accepted?”, “how many discounts do I give?”, “what and in what number are the services I provide to each of my customers?”, etc., etc., etc., etc…. The list could be endless. How important would it be to know these numbers in real-time? How many indications could they give us? How much clarity would they make within our business?

How useful would they be in establishing development and/or change strategies? Being responsible for collecting these or other numbers involves strong motivation and discipline from the whole team and a very clear vision of the direction that the business leadership wants to take. I talked about motivation and discipline from all the team because everybody in the practice must be responsible for collecting his/her numbers. Simply because everyone carries out his/her activities at different times and places and also because sometimes there are special tasks performed only by an individual. Often collaborators and employees are reluctant to collect numbers because they often read it as being controlled. In my opinion, there is nothing more wrong than using numbers as a control tool. Collecting numbers must be used to allow the leadership to assess the strengths and weaknesses of the practice and the individual members of the team. The resulting awareness of strengths and weaknesses allows to make quick changes and to teach people what they need to be taught as to improve their skills and potential. It is therefore up to the leadership to sell its employees the reason why everyone should be responsible for collecting the numbers that are asked of them.

On the other hand, having the numbers under control allows having an optimal growth that brings to improved business productivity and benefits for the whole team. Don’t you think that running a business where numbers are accurately collected and evaluated is easier, avoids unnecessary mistakes and allows you to set goals more clearly and wisely?

But why are we often unwilling to collect numbers? Why are we hiding behind the fact that we don’t have time, that we’re not capable, that we’ve never done it, that it’s useless or that no one does it? Simply because numbers talk to us, they tell us where we are doing well, but also and above all where we are making mistakes! And nobody likes to be told that they are making mistakes! In our opinion, the reason why we often make excuses for not collecting numbers is that we are afraid of what they might tell us! On the contrary, when numbers are carefully analyzed they can help us to make informed decisions and have a very successful business!

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