Finance Column Collection

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 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

Graduation and Chapter 1: Operating in a Pandemic

Dear readers: Since 2006, you have endured my monthly column, Finance 101, and worked hard to read each installment without moving your lips, perform math without pencil and paper, and avoid laughing out loud as you read the column in the back of church during a service. (Cue Pomp and Circumstance background music.) Well, congratulations and move your tassel to the other side because we’re now going to take things to the next level and enter the realm of Finance 201! So, what’s the difference between 101 and 201? Like any good professor, you spoon-feed the freshmen and then exasperate the sophomores (i.e., it’s your time to be exasperated). Finance 201 will not look at your business but rather at the ­businesses of others. This column will also feel more “interview-ish” as we learn from those who are doing things […]
December 21, 2020

Step 12: Tying It All Together

Life is what happens when you’re making other plans. In September 2019, my publisher shared with me his idea for 2020’s editorial theme: “20/20 Vision.” Thus, we meticulously laid out the focus of each month’s article and left my December column – the one you’re reading right now – to arrange all of the pieces and tie the previous 11 months together. Well, guess what? It can no longer be done! For the record, in 30 years of writing articles for The Director, I have never all-capped a sentence. Moreover, I’ve worked with my publisher for at least 25 years, but he did not take the novel coronavirus into consideration. The COVID-19 pandemic, which has killed more than 220,000 people and scarred the health of millions more, turned his plans and your business upside down! As a study my company […]
November 23, 2020

Step 11: Valuation and Business Succession

The top five uninformed mistakes people make when buying or selling a funeral home. First, dear reader, understand that our relationship involves mutual responsibilities. As the author, I write. As the reader, you, er… well, you read. I promise never to lie to you in my monthly columns. You promise never to plagiarize my articles. Given our sacred relationship, I must therefore make sure you understand this month’s subtitle: “The top five uninformed mistakes…” Note it does not say, “The five uninformed mistakes,” but instead, “The top five uninformed mistakes.” In 35 years, I’ve simply seen too many mistakes to list them all in a 1,500-word article. Maybe, after I retire, I will write another book about all the errors people make. Secondly, dear reader, understand that these errors are not limited to buyers or to sellers but to both […]
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