Consumer Studies

January 22, 2021

Industry Spotlight: Business Succession Metrics

In this industry spotlight, we want to highlight key insights into business succession. Every business will be sold or liquidated someday.  Given the choice, sold is usually much better.  Today there are about 19,000 funeral homes in the United States.   This is down from about 21,000, only 20 years ago.  To understand business succession metrics, you need to understand the following: How we lost 2,000 funeral homes? When did the total population has increased by about 20,000,000 Americans? What is the Average Age of American’s increased slightly? When did the mortality rate increase? We lost these businesses as active businesses because three dynamics: The business real estate was more valuable for general commercial purposes than it was as a funeral home The profitability of funeral homes is limited and as expenses increase, especially for staff and benefits, the profit decreases […]
January 22, 2021

The Royal Flush

When thinking about succession planning, I am reminded of the musical legend Kenny Rogers and his famous song entitled “The Gambler.”  The most iconic words of the song are “If you’re gonna play the game, boy, you gotta learn to play it right.  You got to know when to hold ‘em; know when to fold ‘em; know when to walk away; know when to run.  You never count your money when you’re sittin’ at the table, there’ll be time enough for countin’ when the dealin’s done.”  The sage advice that gambler gave the young man aboard the train one night is also sound advice when considering succession planning. Succession planning can be a real gamble if it is not done properly.  With proper planning, “every hand’s a winner”, but without it, “every hand’s a loser.”  According to the recent 2020 […]
December 22, 2020

Succession Planning in 2021: If You Won’t Do it for Yourself, Do it For Those You Love

 Simply put, succession planning is the strategy of passing on leadership roles, and often ownership of a company, to an employee or group of employees. Sounds simple, right? So why is this so difficult to do? – Its because there often isn’t the depth of leadership or skills within a small, often family-run funeral or cemetery business. It is also because many of us have problems letting go! Not long ago, the NFDA and Foundation Partners Group published a study called “2020 Funeral Business Planning Survey” about the state of Succession Planning in the Funeral and Cemetery Industry. The study showed that more than 50% of Owners plan to retire within the next five years (25% within the next 24 months) and more than 50% of those have little or no plan!  In a profession where we preach preparedness and […]
December 21, 2020

Technology Adoption Is A Must Nowadays…But Not A Silver Bullet

“Science and technology revolutionize our lives, but memory, tradition, and myth frame our response.” – Arthur M. Schlesinger (Historian) As always, I like to begin with a quote…firstly, to hopefully whet the brain’s appetite a little for the reader, and secondly, to provide somewhat of a theme for what I am about to write. In our recent Foresight Focus White Paper entitled Five Ways Technology Is Changing The Profession, we highlighted certain findings from our 2020 Foresight Funeral & Cemetery Consumer Behavior (FFCCB) Study on how the pandemic had changed consumer behaviors and forced our profession to adopt technology in order to continue serving families.  Those five highlights included the following: Investing in and embracing technology. Becoming comfortable with virtual communication. Being transparent with online information. Making it simple for consumers to interact with you. Failure is an option. For […]
December 21, 2020

Charting Your Course

The late Winston Churchill said it best when he said, “Fear is a reaction; Courage is a decision.” As we usher in a new year and what appears to be a new administration in power at the federal level, there is one certainty on the horizon…change!  Some changes many hope to see include the eradication of the COVID-19 virus, elimination of masks and other restrictions, and the return of freedoms we all enjoy.  Other changes bring worry and anxiety over the strong likelihood of increased income tax rates, including capital gain hikes, the effects of the rising minimum wage, and the potential for sweeping legislative changes that may negatively impact your business.  Although we may not be able to alter the course of history moving forward, we do have the ability to choose whether to react with fear or to […]
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