Thought Leadership

May 14, 2014

Remembering Life

The funeral and cemetery profession has survived somehow, often in spite of itself. I think that memorialization is a perfect example of this fact. Allow me to point out that both the funeral and cemetery sides of our profession have not provided the long-term service that memorialization needs, to the detriment of the emergent services. Can we establish a time period that the funeral home maintains a vested interest in the relationship it has with the consumer? I think there is no doubt that the three- or fourday period from the time of death until the time of interment or cremation is a given. I have long thought that this period is too short as we serve the family when dad dies but then do nothing for the next 10 years, waiting patiently to serve them again when mom dies. […]
May 12, 2014

Migrate, Mutate or Die

A Call to Change the Education of Funeral Directors Every decade I get motivated to change another dynamic of this profession. In the 1980s, it was eradicating the guarantee from preneed – and in the 1990s, it was to increase the reasonable profit from operating a funeral home. The advent of the 21st century makes me want all funeral homes to employ aftercare and other outreach marketing offerings. I also have another goal: Changing the educational requirements for licensure of this profession. You might not like what I am about to write here, so if you are happy with this profession having more cynics attacking it, lower profit margins and lower average revenue per call, turn to another article. If you want to join me to oppose these trends, please read on…
May 12, 2014

An Open Letter to National Hospice Care

For almost three decades, funeral homes have coexisted with hospice, and to many, it’s been a symbiotic coexistence. Both are experts in dealing with the dying and survivors of the deceased. Hospice, in general, has been a great aid to our society in recognizing that death is as much part of the life cycle as is birth. Dear Hospice, It is 4:26 a.m., and I am thinking about a phone call I had with a client. The call was identical to many other calls I have had with many other clients over the years. Hospice, you were the topic of the discussion. I hope your ears were burning. My client called to ask how to handle the referrals…
May 12, 2014

The Case for Accountants

Most small business owners do not understand accounting. You do not have to comprehend the complex intersections of the general ledger, the balance sheet and the resulting income statement. Many think that the reason to do accounting is to file accurate tax returns. Accurate tax returns are important, but the reason to do accounting is to have the data to know what is driving or impairing your business. The bigger issue is that it’s more important to look at business operations than going through the motions of completing a tax return. With up-to-date financials I can see if a business is hitting its budget, and if not, why not. If it is exceeding the budget…
May 12, 2014

The Don Quixote of Pre-Need

Your required reading to become a funeral director probably did not include “The Ingenious Gentleman Don Quixote of La Mancha.” If you don’t know the story, it is a tale by Spanish author Miguel de Cervantes published in the early 1600s about an older man who reads novels that then affect his understanding of reality. He dons an old suit of armor, thinks of himself as a knight, and goes out in search of adventure. I am beginning to think that in the quest for my perfect preneed scenario, I too, am slaying dragons in a fool’s mission. Like Don Quixote, I travel the country, but I speak on the subject of preneed. I want funeral home owners to take control of their preneed paradigm. If I were…
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