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November 23, 2021

Ask the Experts! Your Strategic Planning Question Answered by Foresight!

Preparation is key when it comes to your strategic business plan for the new year. We were recently asked what steps are needed to take right now to plan for a successful year. Chris Cruger provides his insights to this important question below. Question: What do I need to be doing in order to set my funeral home up for success in 2022? Chris Cruger: First, I would suggest to take a moment to be grateful. This has been a very long, hard past couple years. The profession has gained new levels of recognition in the media and society. The emergence of the profession as the “last responders” has propelled the profession to new heights. However, this recognition does not come without a price. Many are worn out, stressed and on their last nerve. As we look towards 2022, many […]
November 23, 2021

No Slick Salespeople Allowed!

Purpose, Plan, Passion & Persistence Lead to Pre-Need Marketing Success Throughout my 35-plus years of working in the family funeral business, I have written hundreds of pre-need contracts. I have also actively managed a multitude of sales counselors and sales managers. To grow our department, I had the opportunity to work with some of the most talented pre-need consultants in the industry, such as Gary O’Sullivan, Quinn Eagan, Rob Meredith, and others. During my funeral tenure, I funded our program with trust accounts and insurance policies, partnering with industry leaders such as Precoa and Funeral Services Inc. So why do I share all of this with you? Because I’ve tried to take the best that all of them had to offer, and now, I want to share what I believe is key to success in pre-need and beyond. I call […]
November 22, 2021

Mise en place a` la Deathcare Marketing

Customize Your Brand Recipe’s Ingredients for a Perfect Fit Mise en place is a French culinary phrase that means “everything in its place.” It refers to the setup required before cooking and is often used in professional kitchens to refer to organizing and arranging the ingredients. A mentor of mine once told me that “your brand is equal parts of your reputation and your visibility.” This is something that always has stuck with me throughout my career. Having a strong reputation and high visibility solidifies who you are and what you do. It is only after you have your vision that you can begin to craft the elements of your brand, such as your colors, a well-designed logo, business tagline, and appropriate imagery. While it is acceptable to be aware of your competitors, do not let that influence what you […]
November 22, 2021

Chapter Eleven: Protecting Your Investment

Estimating case count during/after a pandemic. Creating and implementing a strategic plan starts with estimating your revenue. While calculating revenue involves a simple formula, estimating it during a pandemic is very difficult. More on that later in the article. So, as I said, revenue involves a simple formula, R = C x $, in which revenue equals calls multiplied by $ or average dollars/call. For example, if you expect to serve 100 families annually and your average dollars/call is $6,000, then your revenue will be $600,000. Now, during normal, non-pandemic times, you would need to make two basic assumptions to calculate your revenue: Normal Assumption 1: Upon how many calls should I build my budget? Most people use a three-year average, while others look for trends up or down and make a pro forma estimate based on those trends. I […]
November 22, 2021

How Strong is Your Playbook?

Strategic and operational plans are not just “set and forget” items. Your business’ growth and success depend on them. One ultimate mistake funeral home and cemetery owners and management make when putting together a strategic plan is confusing it with other types of planning. A strategic plan is a tool that provides you and your business with the framework to accomplish the company’s mission with proficiency and impact. Sorry, folks, the grand blueprint in your mind doesn’t qualify. Your plan really must be measurable and in writing. Typically, your strategic plan will encompass a timeframe of three to five years. It is not something you just set and forget. It should be your playbook for the business. You will constantly monitor and adjust it into a clear annual operating plan and budget. Regardless of what you call it, the point […]
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