Articles

December 28, 2023

My Parting Thoughts

I have been blessed. I have worked my lifetime doing what I love and with people I respect as clients or co-workers. Truth be told, I can’t believe I earned a living. It was not work but a pure joy … most days. Now, I get to ride out of Dodge on my own horse, sitting upright. This is my last column, for I am now retired. The company that I founded, The Foresight Companies, and have reinvented for four decades, is continuing in the hands of my partners, Chris Cruger and Doug Gober. In fact, Chris will continue to provide thought-provoking ideas in this space going forward. In my swan song of a column, I would like to thank the members of the cemetery profession and all ICCFA’s members. More than that, I would like to beseech you to […]
December 28, 2023

End-of-Life Celebrations for Your Furry Companion

Serving Pet Families Can Be a Worthwhile Proposition Written by Chris Cruger with Alice Adams My friend, Andra, called to tell me her beloved Schatzki, a beautiful 12-year-old German Shepherd, was in hospice, her voice choking with emotion. “I’ll call you as things move along,” she promised. “I cry every time I say ‘hospice,’” she confessed before ending the call. A few days later, Schatzki succumbed in Andra’s arms as the vet administered the euthanizing injection. Her vet was partnered with a local funeral home offering end-of-life services for pets. Two uniformed and neatly groomed attendants waited in a removal vehicle until Andra had said her tearful goodbye. While the vet summoned the waiting attendants, a friend led the sobbing woman out of the room for a glass of wine. While Schatzki was in hospice, Andra made arrangements with the […]
December 28, 2023

Finance 301: My Final Column

After 39 glorious years, which went by in a nanosecond, this issue marks my final column before I turn over this printed space to Chris Cruger, my business successor. I’m also fortunate to hand over ownership and control of The Foresight Companies, which I founded four decades ago, to Cruger and the irrepressible Doug Gober. Selecting them as my successors was one of the greatest decisions I’ve ever made, but it took risk, patience and trust by all three of us to achieve a great outcome. With that said, I now seize my chance to bid you, my audience and friends, adieu in my own way. Well, not really “my way” since there will be no math involved. Past I entered the world of funeral service at an amazing time and, ultimately, the evolution of my career was totally on […]
April 19, 2023

Finance 301: Chapter 16: The Importance of the Side Hustle

In the disco age, the “Side Hustle” was a dance move. For me, growing up in Philadelphia, the side hustle was something altogether different. Today, that phrase has been resurrected by “gig workers” and others looking to make a little extra cash. Now, I’m not suggesting that funeral directors should try to generate extra money by dancing or otherwise. I’m just thinking about the future because the future for funeral service is vexing. I see costs for labor skyrocketing, assuming you can even find licensed people to hire. I see the number of price-focused consumers rising from the current 5% of at-need families to almost 20%. I see more pressure on the amount of revenue generated per call due to limitations on consumer spending, shortfalls on preneed crediting rates and the increasing preference for cremation. Unfortunately, any time businesses experience […]
April 18, 2023

PTO

If you grew up on a farm you probably learned that PTO stands for “power takeoff’ and that it is the connection point on a tractor for other implements and attachments. But today we will be talking about PTO as “Personal Time Off’ or “Paid Time Off’ as a system to replace the traditional vacation, sick leave, and personal leave policies that you may be presently using. Simply put, PTO combines vacation time, sick leave, and personal time into one “bank” of time-off available to your employees as the need or desire arises. Employees have more flexibility for a work-life balance while no longer having to be untruthful or deceitful when obtaining time-off. You don’t have to have a very large operation with very many employees before you will recognize that you have at least one “warrior” and one “wimp” […]
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