May 30, 2022

When Your Board Has to Make That Big Decision

The cemetery has been in operation forever. You have been on the board for a long time. But times are changing. Sales are impaired. Cash flow is tight. You need to reconfigure your master plan to be more cremation focused. Finding good management for day to day is worrisome. On top of that, there is going to need to be an infusion of capital and you can’t find a bank to loan to your cemetery. What do you do to resolve this seeming impasse? This conundrum is not limited to nonprofit cemeteries. It is a similar matter for public cemeteries owned by municipalities. It is also an ongoing issue for church cemeteries. As you attend ICCFA meetings and see old friends, a few of them have chosen to try and sell their cemeteries. You now understand why they chose that […]
May 30, 2022

Putting the Value Back in Funeral Service

Your clients will thank you In the 1609 William Shakespeare play, hamlet, the main character is torn between life and death. His famous line, “To be or not to be, that is the question,” is most appropriate when discussing Celebration of Life ceremonies. And although the question is different, the conundrum remains the same: Do families want a celebration of life or not? I’m here to tell you that the answer is yes, but will it be held with you, the funeral professional, is the real question. As identified in The Foresight Companies’ 2021 Consumer Survey, 63% percent of consumers feel a big celebration is important in honoring the life of the deceased. In fact, this number has increased in the post-pandemic world in which we now live. On the surface, that number looks to be good news for the […]
May 30, 2022

Five Traits Leaders Share

Many of us think of leadership and management as being synonymous, but they really are not. Moreover, leaders and managers potentially possess very different skill sets. While management and leadership often have overlapping functions, they should not be used interchangeably. Peter Drucker said, “Management is doing things right; leadership is doing the right things.” A very subtle, yet profound difference. The good news, bad news – You do not necessarily need management skills to lead, and vice versa, you do not need leadership skills to manage. What you do need is a clear direction and plan to execute on. Management is the how and when, while leadership is the what and why. Now, the interesting thing about these two functions is that they play a role in every organization. Whether you are a team of two or have 200 employees […]
May 29, 2022

Reinvesting in Your Future

Things in your business have changed, and owners may need to refocus their plans. The last couple of years have been quite the wild ride as the world as we knew it was turned upside down. The ways we’ve done things for decades have changed and so must our thinking when it comes to reinvesting in our business. What we reinvest in our business is a combination of capital (money) and your most valuable resource, time. There is only so much of each, and the way we use them is vitally important in securing the future of our business. We have been filled with revelations about consumers and their propensity for convenience, transparency and preneed. Their wants and needs are different now, so we must adapt. We are plagued by staffing challenges and many of the same factors impacting the […]
May 29, 2022

Finance 301: Chapter 5: Estate Planning and Business Succession

I got my start in the financial services world by selling life insurance across the kitchen table to young families. Once, as I met with a 20-something couple, the husband told me it was ironic we were meeting because they had just found out the day before that his wife was pregnant. Sensing an opportunity, I immediately started to explain a family life insurance policy that offered coverage on the husband, the wife and any and all children once they were born. The premium was $25/month, however, which was a lot of money for a young couple in 1980. The husband said, “We will probably wait on this until the baby is born.” In hindsight, I now understand why my reply caused them to evict me from their home: “Why wait? Do you want to see if you like the […]
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