Preparation is key when it comes to your strategic business plan for the new year. We were recently asked what steps are needed to take right now to plan for a successful year. Chris Cruger provides his insights to this important question below.
Question: What do I need to be doing in order to set my funeral home up for success in 2022?
Chris Cruger: First, I would suggest to take a moment to be grateful. This has been a very long, hard past couple years. The profession has gained new levels of recognition in the media and society. The emergence of the profession as the “last responders” has propelled the profession to new heights. However, this recognition does not come without a price. Many are worn out, stressed and on their last nerve.
As we look towards 2022, many of us are finding ourselves in an unusual situation. The days of looking to prior years financial information and simply applying a trend line are gone.
To understand what happened to your business’s bottom line in 2021 you will need to get out of the narrative and into the numbers. The only way to get an accurate picture of your company’s performance is to gather all the relevant performance reports. The key to accurate business reports is accurate data. As the year has transformed from the spring through the summer and into fall many funeral homes and cemeteries put recordkeeping on the backburner to deal with the crisis of the day. However, until the numbers are input into your tracking software your reports will not be accurate and assumptions will be based on conjecture (all too often a problem in our profession). Data gathering and input need to be a priority. Now is the time to schedule a time to work with your bookkeeper to double-check the accuracy of your data. Only then you can run reports to get a true financial picture of the past year. This work can seem less of a priority but before you can plan for next year you need to know what happened this year first.
As business leaders, we must assume that 2022 will be filled with as much uncertainty as 2020 and 2021. The key to planning in a pandemic is to be conservative. Plan for the worst and hope for the best. With all, the key to planning to keep it as simple as possible.
When we think about the year in review, we must be realistic. The call volume, financial figures and the consumer attitudes are changing in ways nobody could predict. Preparation is the key! When done properly, this process can be fun, informative, and open your eyes to opportunities you never thought possible. Take this time of year to check in and communicate with your key stakeholders in your success. Your success might actually depend on it!