Chris Cruger

May 30, 2023
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Contemplate The Future NOW

Change is what will separate the firms that capture the opportunities ahead from the ones that simply fade away. Determining how much to reinvest in your business is never an easy task. It’s even more difficult when times are tough. The rising cost of doing business, an incredibly difficult labor market and rapidly changing consumer preferences are making these decisions more challenging. However, I would like to present these challenging times as times of opportunity! What we reinvest in our business is a combination of money and time. Today, both seem in limited supply. How we measure them is the most critical decision we make for our future success. Conventional wisdom would suggest that you reinvest 20%-50% of your profits back into your business. This figure shifts depending on where a business is in its life cycle. Typically, that amount […]
May 29, 2023

Post-Covid Funeral Service: Understanding The Emerging New Normal

Written By Chris Cruger and Alice Adams 2018 – Business as usual — the “normal” as we knew it. 2019 – The COVID-19 pandemic arrives, ravaging both coasts then quickly spreading across the U.S. 2020 – Hospitals at capacity, death rates climbing daily, funeral homes and cemeteries overwhelmed. 2021 — COVID-19 listed as the underlying or contributing cause of 460,513 deaths (111.4 per 100,000), an increase from 384,536 deaths (93.2) in 2020, according to Centers for Disease Control/Prevention. 2022 — COVID-19 accounted for about 270,000 deaths in 2022, according to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University, down from 473,000 in 2021, and 350,000 in the pandemic’s first year. 2023 – America back to work, nation in recovery, “new normal emerging.” ***** By mid-2020, phones stopped ringing in businesses, members of the workforce who were not furloughed were now working from home, most schools were closed and […]
March 20, 2023
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Leadership in a Sea of Change

A peacetime army often can be effectively led with good administration and management up and down the ranks, with strong leadership at the top. In wartime, leadership is required at all levels. No one has figured out how to manage people effectively in battle, they simply must be led. I am not suggesting that funeral service and wartime are one in the same. However, I do think this analogy does highlight the reality of the times we are facing in funeral service. The radical changes that have impacted our profession has often made it feel like we are in crisis mode. In general, times have been quite good for most of us in funeral service over the past few years. We have been pushed to the limits but have come out better and stronger for it. The pandemic ushered in […]
January 25, 2023
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Planning for Your Future Starts Today

So 2023 is here. The question is what do we do now? The last few years have seen changes in our profession like never before. What used to take years to change, now takes months or weeks. The process of planning for the future is more important now than ever. We have seen incredible challenges in staffing, rising costs, and rapidly changing consumer attitudes. If there is anything to be learned over the past few years, it’s that the business is different today than it was three years ago. You all have seen it; the way we conduct business has simply changed. The pandemic ushered in a new era of funeral service that requires us to plan and adjust quicker than ever before. Some leaders in our profession have been resistant to change; but operating “the way it’s always been” […]
November 21, 2022
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Strategic Planning Isn’t an Option

It is absolutely essential for those looking to thrive in the profession today. It’s that time of year again – time to close out the old one strong and get the bricks in place for a solid 2023. We’ll talk about the planning process and 10 simple steps to get you on your way, but first, there are some areas requiring a little extra-special attention in 2022, areas of critical importance be-cause the profession is not keeping pace with the world around it. From 2017-21, the average price of a funeral has increased 6.6%, while the CPI (Consumer Price Index) increased more than 16%. This scenario is not sustainable. There are forces in play today that require you to be at the top of your game. Rising costs, the cremation rate and rapidly changing consumer attitudes require a well-thought-out plan. […]
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