Thought Leadership

September 26, 2023

Ask the Analyst: Key Considerations When Choosing a Successor

Having a succession plan in place for your funeral home or cemetery business is vital in today’s business environment. While there are many elements that go into your succession plan, one that is of high importance is who to choose as your successor. In our latest Ask the Analyst blog, Sierra Heil shares the key consideration when deciding who the successor of your business will be. Question: I am in the process of deciding who to succeed me in my funeral business. What are the important things to consider when selecting my successor? Sierra Heil: For all funeral home owners the decision to choose a successor to sell your business to is a significant and deeply personal one. Your business holds a special place in your heart, as you have helped families during their most challenging times and built up a […]
September 26, 2023

Funeral Service at the Crossroads

PART 1 OF 3 Written by Chris Cruger with Alice Adams Will you succeed in your profession’s new era? This is the first of a three-part series based on the results of The Foresight Companies’ Funeral & Cemetery Consumer Behavior Study, its annual public/professional funeral and cemetery survey conducted for the past four years. This article will focus on current perceptions and expectations of the consumer public and the gap occurring between these perceptions and those of funeral service and cemetery professionals. The second installment – education, education, education – will appear in the October issue of The Director and provide an extensive “how to” for educating your community. The final article in November will amplify the survey data on the importance of trust and transparency in the reality of consumer perceptions and needs in today’s marketplace. Modern eras are […]
September 26, 2023

Finance 301: Chapter 21: Autopsy and Eulogy: Business Autopsy, Part I

In the last generation or so, the funeral industry has lost more than 2,000 funeral home rooftops – from about 22,000 to just under 20,000. How many more are on the brink of going under in the next decade? This month, I offer my assessment of why funeral home businesses die. Charles Darwin is well regarded as a naturalist and biologist, but his thought-provoking propositions dealing with evolution do not just apply to zoology. I believe they equally apply to economic matters. When it is too easy for people to make lots of money, a Darwinian “economic pall” will occur so that only the best and brightest can dominate the business landscape. In short, I think businesses must “migrate, mutate or die.” Some think prejudicially that cremation is a factor in funeral home failures. I disagree. Cremation is only the […]
August 28, 2023

Prove Your Worth on your Website

Written by Jarod Bernat, Senior M&A Analyst Over the past few decades, we saw the introduction of the FTC rule requiring funeral homes to provide families with GPL’s when requested, the introduction of the internet providing a whole new interface with consumers, and the newest FTC rule requiring online access to GPL’s in some states. Given that the industry is well-known for not being early adapters to new technology or trends, it is no surprise that there has been significant pushback to the utilization of the internet to display pricing within the profession. Business owners fear that when prices are posted online, they will be compared to their competitors, and prices will become a race to the bottom. But while this may seem like the only possible conclusion at first glance, there is much more to consider as the internet […]
August 28, 2023

Open Your Ears

Funeral service consumers are speaking up, but are we listening? A little-known fact about me – I am a sucker for greeting cards and quotes. I cannot get enough of them and will easily spend hours browsing for the perfect card to give a loved one. Some may find them cheesy and cliché, but I am not one of them! I want to begin with a quote from famous novelist Ernest Hemingway, who once said, “When people talk, listen completely.” Are you still with me? Those words of Hemingway’s are a solid example of what should be a guiding principle for funeral home owners and cemetery operators when dealing with client families. Okay, one more and I promise I’m done. This is from Epictetus, a Greek philosopher. He states, “We have two ears and one mouth so that we can […]
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