Thought Leadership

December 28, 2023

Legal Check: Pet Business

Scenario: Stewart Spector is a fourth-generation owner-operator of Spector & Steinberger Funeral & Cremation Services in Smyrna, Georgia. The business changed to its current name from its original name of Spector & Sons Funeral Home in early 2010 when Stewart’s key employee, Nell (“Nelly”) Steinberger, bought into the business. This was also the year that Stewart and Nell started their pet end-of-life service business, Rainbow Bridge Pets, since both were animal lovers as well. Spurred on by Nelly’s passion for the environment and greener alternatives, they decided to make the investment and offer only flameless cremation for their pet families, installing only a resomator in their newly built facilities. Because both Stewart and Nelly believed so much in flameless cremation or aquamation/alkaline hydrolysis as a “greener” alternative to flamed cremation as well as it being a “gentler” process, it was […]
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 […]
November 28, 2023

Ask the Analyst: Growing Your Market Share

Growing your business can be challenging for some owners and operators within the funeral and cemetery profession. Between competition in your market to adapting to new consumer behaviors, we understand the process of growth can become complex. We asked Senior M&A Analyst, Jarod Bernat to further elaborate significant ways to expand your business. Question: I feel like our funeral home’s market share has hit a plateau and can’t seem to grow any further. How can I continue to grow my business? Jarod Bernat: Since the funeral industry is one where serviceable market areas and direct competitors can be easily identified and tracked, it’s easy to keep up with how you compare to “the other guys”. Sometimes it might feel like you’ve exhausted all resources trying to grow within your market, but you’ve hit a wall and case count won’t budge. […]
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