Gabriel Ngo

July 20, 2021

It’s All About the Team

Strategy for building a winning one for your firm. “Talent wins games, but teamwork and intelligence win championships.” – MICHAEL JORDAN As this quote suggests, talent alone does not guarantee that you will win in the long term. Still, you might wonder why I chose a sports quote to relate to funeral service. Both sports and funeral service are zero-sum games when it comes to competition. Someone wins, another loses. In funeral service, we have no control over the death rate in our community in any given year – we can only control how many calls we can secure and serve. One death call for you means one less death call for me as your competitor. Zero sum. The same can be said about competing for and retaining human resources in the funeral service profession. While the pandemic forced all […]
June 23, 2021

Legal Check: Funeral Home Contracts

Scenario: Kramer Funeral Home is an established firm that has been serving its community for over 35 years in the Northeast. The original owner, Gary, recently retired after a few years of gradually stepping back and grooming his successor, Dennis, who now owns and operates Kramer Funeral Home. While Dennis has less than 10 years of experience in the profession, he had proved to Gary that he is a very good lead funeral director and business-minded. Plus, the younger, less-experienced funeral staff, who brought many great ideas to serving cremation families, connect with and look up to Dennis. While the cremation rate had been increasing, Kramer Funeral Home is able to still serve a good number of burial families a year. Under Dennis, Kramer Funeral Home is poised to continue serving its community with a superb reputation and excellent service. […]
June 23, 2021

Back to the Basics of Leveraging Technology: Building a Robust Website

“When used right, technology becomes an accelerator of momentum, not a creator of it” — Jim Collins, Good to Great The COVID-19 pandemic has forced all of us in the profession—client families, guests, funeral homes, crematories, and cemeteries—into having to adopt new ways of doing things. And once we are open to doing things in a new way, we can never really go back to doing things exactly how they were done before. It is human nature. We have been forced to lean on technology in order to serve families—virtual meetings online (via Zoom, WebEx, etc.) for arrangement conferences, DocuSign to obtain signatures for contracts and approvals, online streaming of services, etc. However, this article is not about pioneering technology in deathcare services, nor is it about technology for tech’s sake. Internet, virtual meetings, and streaming services are no longer […]
May 24, 2021

Buying and Selling – The Cost of Time

“You may delay, but time will not.” – Benjamin Franklin (Founding Father and polymath) As the aforementioned quote suggests, this writing will focus on potential timelines as well as reasonable expectations of the time it takes to either buy or sell a funeral or cemetery business—when performed correctly.  And just as how I had written about Succession Planning a few months ago, and how like funerals, it just doesn’t happen on its own—that it requires leadership of people active in the process and management of schedules and time.  The buying and selling process is a resulting culmination of your succession planning, and it too requires time management because it simply does not happen overnight.  However, before we discuss what the time costs of buying and selling businesses entail, let’s quickly review what the processes for buying and selling a business […]
March 22, 2021

Leading People and Managing Things in Succession Planning

“Funerals just don’t happen by themselves.” – said every Funeral Director ever No, funerals simply do not happen by themselves.  They require expertise, planning, coordination, teamwork, management, and leadership in order to successfully serve a family and perform a funeral service—not to mention the consistency to do this over and over again at the highest level of performance. So why is it then, that the same typically does not occur in succession planning for most funeral home owners?  In a November 2020 Funeral Business Planning Survey published by an outside research firm in partnership with the National Funeral Directors Association (NFDA), nearly three out of four (73%) respondents do not currently have an exit strategy or succession plan, despite more than one-third planning on retiring within the next five-years. Now, I won’t get into the reasons why this typically is […]
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