Articles

August 24, 2021

Growth is Calling

It’s time to decide whether you’ll evolve your business or prepare for succession. The reference to “growth” in the business world does not necessarily coincide with multiple acquisitions. What it does pair with is the word “evolve.” The Foresight Companies’ 2021 Funeral and Cemetery Consumer Behavior Study revealed that consumers are embracing completely new ways of doing things and have no intention of going back to the old ways. They are evolving, and so should we. Empirical insights from the study show this clearly: 74% of consumers expect to find prices online (66% expect to see products online as well). 47% of consumers will not do business with a firm if it does not provide pricing online (if there is an alternative). 32% of consumers’ attitudes about the profession have changed because of COVID. Consumer attitudes about the profession’s ability […]
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 […]
July 20, 2021

Survey Says…Cremation is Still a “Burning” Desire

How do you ignite a conversation in a room full of funeral directors? Toss in the word “cremation.” It will spark conversation—some good, some bad. But in all cases, you will witness myriad emotions. It may be hard to believe that some funeral professionals are still adamantly opposed to cremation. Rather than embracing the opportunities that can be found in cremation, they are still fighting for a return to the way things were “in the good old days.” For most of us, we recognize those days are gone, and it is time to embrace ways to create opportunities with cremation families. According to the recent Performance TrackerTM Analysis: 2020 COVID-19 Impact Report, 55% of all cases in 2019 resulted in cremation. During the recent COVID pandemic, our industry saw a 5%–10% increase in cremation disposition cases for 2020. Although cremation […]
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 […]
July 20, 2021

Chapter Seven: The Staffing Crisis

How long will this peril haunt funeral service businesses? If you measure funeral service by universal crises, the crisis echoing in the 1980s was the FTC’s Funeral Rule. In the ’90s, the crisis was heralded as The Rise of the Acquisition Companies. Ironically, the crisis of the 2000s was The Fall of the Acquisition Companies (although it seems that everyone who hated them then somehow loved their money when they were ready to get out later, and now the market has crashed). Anyway, I would label the challenge of the 2010s The Cremation Crisis, as a 50% cremation rate became a reality in the United States. What about the 2020s? While it’s still early, I believe that for those of us who survived a pandemic and now progress from looking day by day to longer term, this span’s awakening peril […]
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