Applying the 80/20 Rule when Running your Vet Rehab Practice

Sep 19, 2019 | Business Skills

Time is one of the vet rehab therapists most precious resources. Because we have such limited time, its important that we focus our efforts on the tasks that produce the best results.

In my quest to improve productivity I came across the 80/20 rule, which I now apply to my everyday life. It helps me make the right choices when it comes to what I should and should not be doing at any given time.

The 80/20 rule, also known as the “Pareto” principle, states that 80% of the results of any undertaking come from only 20% of our efforts. Pareto was a 19th century Italian economist, who extrapolated his principle from his observations of results in diverse fields; for instance, 80% of the land in Italy was owned by 20% of the people, and 80% of the peas on a pea plant are yielded by 20% of the pea plant.

Pareto found that there was a universal imbalance between inputs and outputs. Not all activities generate results equal to the inputs; some generate far lower returns, and some, far higher. When we realize this, we stop wasting time getting frustrated at the lack of results from our efforts; we stop expecting them.  We grasp that this imbalance exists and we begin to work with it, not against it.

Pareto for Vet Rehab Therapists

Sometimes a business reaches a plateau, and its a real conundrum to know where to focus our energies to get us to the next level.  Perhaps you have found that you have consults booked every day, but no matter what you do, you just cant seem to push the business over that tipping point where you start generating profits. If so, consider where you are spending your energy in relation to your results. What is your 20% that is generating 80% of the income? Do you know?

Once you know this, the next thing to consider is marketing. Do you focus on the services that are slower and not generating an income, to try and increase the income you receive from these services, or do you focus your marketing on the services that are already generating a good income and have proven to be profitable for your business?

The answer is to focus most on the service that is creating the majority of the results.

Youll find, for instance, that 20% of your customers represent 80% of your sales. We have a few clients who are extremely dedicated and come and see us a few times a week every week. Then we have loads of clients who come maybe once or twice a month. Your marketing efforts may well yield greater results if you focus mostly on that 20%. That is not to say you exclude the others; but where choices have to be made, focus more on the 20% that are bringing in 80% of the sales.

The rule applies to how we spend our time, too.  You will find, if you examine a typical week, that 20% of your time is producing 80% of your results. If you can figure out exactly which activities constitute that 20%, you can spend more time doing those things and less time doing the others. The activities that generate most reward deserve most of our energy.

Applying this rule to your practice helps in so many ways:

  • Increase productivity: You can determine where to focus your attention and efforts for maximum efficiency.
  • Increase your profitability: Discontinue products or services that don’t generate revenue and focus on the ones that do.
  • Prioritize your time: Focus your time on the tasks that produce the greatest results.
  • Improve customer service: In general, 80% of our customer complaints are related to 20% of our products, services or staff members. By addressing this 20%, we can drastically decrease complaints and improve our customer experience.

Its all about Efficient use of Energy and Time

By using this rule, well find that we begin to shift our focus away from aspects of the practice that are not performing to their full potential, and focus on the activities that have the most profound, positive impact on our business.

When you look at your lists of to-dos, youll find 2 out of 10 items on your list will be worth more than the other 8 put together. The 8 items are trivial tasks that contribute very little in the end.

Focus your time and energy on the 20% that yield results, and you may well begin to see a definite upswing in the growth and success of your practice.


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  1. How do we better implement vet rehab into private practices?

    • Hi Bronwyn, this really depends on whether you are aiming to implement it as a Vet yourself, or if you are trying to get a vet to implement it. Let us know and we can guide you further – you can email me at

  2. I started using this in my practice as a non-animal PT, and it is helping me be more efficient. I also think it helps me prioritize what I need to work on with my pts so they get the most out of each session.

    • That is fantastic! It is esp valuable when we use this rule to guide our treatments, as we can really focus on the most effective and valuable modalities for each patient!

  3. Interesting

    • Thanks 🙂

  4. Nice points with marketing spend here. Its really important to measure results, but many people with online advertising for example don’t take the time to actually report on the outcomes. So they spend a bunch of money on a number of ad services (e.g. google / facebook / etc.) and at the end of the campaign don’t know which one is working and which isn’t. You may as well just tip your money over a cliff if you can’t measure the performance of your ads.

    • Thanks for that comment – you are absolutely right. Just like we need to have measurable treatment outcomes for each patient, the same rule applies to our marketing, and indeed how we spend our time growing our business – if there is no improvement in the measurable outcomes we set for ourselves in each particular area we want to be working on, then we are wasting time, money and resources – all of which are in short supply in our industry already!!


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