Dan Isard

October 27, 2021

Chapter Ten: The Best New Thing

Why be influenced by someone you don’t respect? A confident owner/manager who knows that his staff and firm deliver exceptional service has no competitors.   Since I first set foot in a funeral home in 1984, one best new thing has come along and evolved. No, you can’t buy it. No, you can’t steal it. And no, you can’t copy it from your competitor. This new thing, however, will help you increase your profit and the value of your business by thousands. Will it bring a smile to your face? Absolutely! Is it advertised in the pages of this magazine? No. In fact, if you add it to your repertoire, you will be the only one to have it. You should be warned that it is as infectious as any virus, though, so it will infect your staff and those […]
September 30, 2021

Industry Spotlight: The Inverse Relationship Between Interest Rates and Business Values

In this industry spotlight, we want to highlight key insights on the relationship between interest rates and business values. As part of the holistic approach to protect our country and our country’s economy when the Covid-19 Pandemic struck, the Federal Reserve did its part by going into the market place and buying up bonds.  They also signaled this will be a time when they will lock in interest rates, rather than having the market set rates on supply and demand.  This was herculean!  As affected as our economy was initially and continues to be from this problem, the economy has not faltered.  Now, as we see the light at the end of the pandemic tunnel, the Fed is alerting us that these self imposed restraints will be eased.  The question is, how does this affect you? Since most privately owned […]
September 28, 2021

Chapter Nine: You Need a Business Plan, Part 2

In last month’s issue, I explained what a business plan is and laid the groundwork for why you need to have one. This month, I want to take you deeper, so, instead of more theories, I asked two industry veterans to contribute their thoughts. The first is Steve Shaffer, CEO and president of Homesteaders Life Insurance Company. Shaffer didn’t start at the top of this company; he spent the past two decades in public accounting, joined a national acquirer as its CFO and then founded one of the top acquisition companies before leaving it to join the preneed world. I also spoke with Chris Cruger, managing partner at the company I founded, The Foresight Companies. He had a major background in finance and operations within the funeral business before joining Foresight. Today, he influences some of the most successful funeral […]
September 28, 2021

It’s All in the Data

NFDA Consumer Awareness and Preferences Survey Commentary Complementary consumer surveys show three strong cultural trends for which you may need to adjust your business. Imagine you answer the phone and the voice says, “I have data compiled independently that will tell you what consumers are saying about funeral service and what they expect from a funeral provider.” You might cautiously ask, “Well, that’s all well and good, but how recent is this data?” The mysterious salesperson responds, “It is all from within the past year, tracking consumer changes since the advent of the COVID-19 pandemic.” Not wanting to seem too easy a sell, your next question would probably be, “Well, how much is this data?” To which the shadowy huckster replies, “It’s about $250,000, payable in one easy payment.” At that moment, you have an involuntary muscle spasm and hang […]
August 23, 2021

Chapter Eight: You Have No Business Not Having a Business Plan

This month, I’m going to rely on a basic statistic: 99% of all privately owned funeral home businesses do not have a business plan.* I know this because I’ve worked with more than a thousand funeral home owners over the past 35-plus years, and every time I ask for a copy of their business plan, I’m met with a crinkled-up forehead and an oral lesson starting with the words, “Dan, you don’t understand…” So, here is what I do understand: A business plan is a written document listing goals for the year and instructions on how to get to those goals. A business plan should be reviewed at least quarterly to see how the business is performing relative to the stated objectives. A business plan for a funeral home should cover the next year, the intermediate period and the long […]
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