May 12, 2014

An Open Letter to National Hospice Care

For almost three decades, funeral homes have coexisted with hospice, and to many, it’s been a symbiotic coexistence. Both are experts in dealing with the dying and survivors of the deceased. Hospice, in general, has been a great aid to our society in recognizing that death is as much part of the life cycle as is birth. Dear Hospice, It is 4:26 a.m., and I am thinking about a phone call I had with a client. The call was identical to many other calls I have had with many other clients over the years. Hospice, you were the topic of the discussion. I hope your ears were burning. My client called to ask how to handle the referrals…
May 12, 2014

The Case for Accountants

Most small business owners do not understand accounting. You do not have to comprehend the complex intersections of the general ledger, the balance sheet and the resulting income statement. Many think that the reason to do accounting is to file accurate tax returns. Accurate tax returns are important, but the reason to do accounting is to have the data to know what is driving or impairing your business. The bigger issue is that it’s more important to look at business operations than going through the motions of completing a tax return. With up-to-date financials I can see if a business is hitting its budget, and if not, why not. If it is exceeding the budget…
May 12, 2014

The Don Quixote of Pre-Need

Your required reading to become a funeral director probably did not include “The Ingenious Gentleman Don Quixote of La Mancha.” If you don’t know the story, it is a tale by Spanish author Miguel de Cervantes published in the early 1600s about an older man who reads novels that then affect his understanding of reality. He dons an old suit of armor, thinks of himself as a knight, and goes out in search of adventure. I am beginning to think that in the quest for my perfect preneed scenario, I too, am slaying dragons in a fool’s mission. Like Don Quixote, I travel the country, but I speak on the subject of preneed. I want funeral home owners to take control of their preneed paradigm. If I were…
May 12, 2014

Why Funeral Directors Should Engage in Aftercare

I would like to explain, in 1,000 words, why funeral directors should engage in aftercare. If I were a contestant on the show, “Name That Tune,” I would tell you I can name that tune in one word: “Because.” Now, I have about 980 more words to elaborate. Because you are the most knowledgeable person on death, dying and grief adjustment. There may be some your equal. Usually those who are promoting themselves as your equal are not your equal. Most ministers only deal with one or two deaths among their congregants in a typical year. The average funeral director makes…
May 12, 2014

The Importance of Asking Why

Deciding When to Use New Technology Before we had “social media” we had “social drinking” and, of course, “social diseases” – that euphemism for those things only bad people got. While technology has surrounded this profession, the last dose of technology this industry universally appreciated was gravity. Today we talk about the new-fangled technology as if every funeral home in America has actually abandoned their push letter message boards. Nope, I am a cynic. I know better. So, when I have to write about “new technology,” I am going old school. To me, all the technological tools available to this profession are wonderful. Some are more wonderful than others. Those that actually work are really super wonderful. Don’t lump me in a class of those funeral curmudgeons that still brag that…
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