Dan Isard

March 22, 2021

Chapter Three: Survival

The magnitude of the pandemic means you must reexamine your business from every angle. The past 12 months have been the longest in the history of mankind as we endured agonizing experiences caused by COVID-19. It was on March 11, 2020, that the World Health Organization declared COVID-19 a pandemic. And funeral service changed. Just as those who survived the Great Depression were never the same, everyone in America (and the world) will never be the same. In the world of funeral service, we have seen every dynamic of the business change – from the behavior of consumers and their support teams to the professionals. As consumer behavior changes, funeral service professionals must adapt. And while funeral service typically does a bad job reacting to change as a profession, the magnitude of the pandemic means you must revisit everything you […]
February 22, 2021

With 25,000 Across the United States, I’d Say Accounting for Cemeteries Is Pretty Important

Can there be a more boring subject to discuss during a worldwide pandemic than accounting? If that is what you are thinking, I disagree. Accounting is the oxygen to keep your business alive. You don’t understand it, so you denigrate its existence. Invest eight minutes into reading this article. If I have not changed your opinion, send me an e-mail yelling at me for wasting eight minutes of your time. If I have succeeded, go out and get a tattoo that says, “Accountants are cool!” The problem with your lack of appreciation for accounting is because your accountant is not making it important. Most cemetery managers think there are three reasons for accounting: Tax Return Accuracy Regulatory Compliance Trust Management If this is your honest opinion, that is fine. It is just like saying, when you go into a restaurant, […]
February 21, 2021

Industry Spotlight: Family Business Succession

In this industry spotlight, we want to highlight key insights into family business succession. As a young parent, you hold your baby in your arms as you sit at your desk.  You are doing all the tasks that you couldn’t get accomplished during the normal business hours.  You look at this innocent life and think, “someday baby, you will be sitting in this exact desk, doing these exact chores”.  But will they? As a business owner, you now have another “stakeholder” in your decisions in this new life.  Your business must provide great service for your families, must be profitable to provide for your household and now provide more for that household as this new creature has increased your economic liabilities.  Yet, with compassion you are thinking you have just begun to train your next generation of business owner. First, […]
February 21, 2021

Chapter Two: Memorialization Since COVID-19

And green funerals since the beginning of time. This month, my challenge is to write about memorialization and green funerals. On the surface, the subjects appear unrelated, so, like any writer who wants to understand a topic, I first made sure I understood their definitions. “Memorialization,” a noun, is defined generally as “the process of preserving memories of people or events.” The phrase “green funerals,” a noun more or less defined by the Green Burial Council, is “a way of caring for the dead with minimal environmental impact.” As I said, unrelated subjects… until I dug deeper. What do these two concepts have in common? Here, I quote Banksy, an English street artist and activist, who said, “…They say you die twice. One time when you stop breathing and a second time, a bit later on, when somebody says your […]
January 22, 2021

Industry Spotlight: Business Succession Metrics

In this industry spotlight, we want to highlight key insights into business succession. Every business will be sold or liquidated someday.  Given the choice, sold is usually much better.  Today there are about 19,000 funeral homes in the United States.   This is down from about 21,000, only 20 years ago.  To understand business succession metrics, you need to understand the following: How we lost 2,000 funeral homes? When did the total population has increased by about 20,000,000 Americans? What is the Average Age of American’s increased slightly? When did the mortality rate increase? We lost these businesses as active businesses because three dynamics: The business real estate was more valuable for general commercial purposes than it was as a funeral home The profitability of funeral homes is limited and as expenses increase, especially for staff and benefits, the profit decreases […]
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