October 25, 2023

Finance 301: Chapter 22: Autopsy and Eulogy: Business Autopsy, Part II

Last month, I provided a postmortem of the most common causes leading to the death of a funeral business. Here, I share a few thoughts on eulogizing those firms. Funeral directors are mission-driven people, not profit-driven people. Just as a church can fail if its revenue does not exceed its expenses, so, too, can a funeral home. Unlike other for-profit businesses, funeral providers cannot generate more revenue by advertising or somehow “stimulating” business. At-need services cannot be driven. The death of many iconic businesses can be tied to technology. Do funeral homes face the same risk? Big-box retailers were hurt by technology, for example, and Amazon is now the independent-business killer that Walmart was accused of being 30 years ago. That said, Amazon can’t even deliver caskets in a timely manner, so I doubt it could handle cremation very well […]
October 25, 2023

What Happens When You Hit the End of the Road?

Owning a fully subscribed cemetery is not a good thing. In fact, no one wants to be the owner of a fully subscribed cemetery! City and state planners, being what they are, have made many mistakes when it comes to cemeteries. Crazy how that cemetery, which was planned to be on the farthest reaches of the city a century ago, now is located practically in downtown! How does that happen? Well, cemeteries are not mobile, of course. Once that land is consecrated, it is fixed. The city’s growth must grow around the cemetery, short of disinterring the cemetery. In my experience, managing what is now an “urban” cemetery is a great problem to manage. But the bigger issue is when that cemetery becomes fully subscribed and there are no interment rights to sell. State regulators planning for a cemetery usually […]
October 25, 2023

Funeral Service at the Crossroads Part Two

Part 2 of 3 Written by Chris Cruger with Alice Adams Will you succeed in your profession’s new era? If so, the massive knowledge gap between consumers and funeral service needs immediate attention. At the end of a recent celebration of life for a popular teacher, high school tennis coach and longtime community volunteer, many commented to her husband on the unique experience. “I didn’t know you could have a catered meal at a funeral home.” “I loved the jazz trio during lunch.” “I wish I could have had a celebration like this for my mother.” “I’m really glad I came.” “I hope my kids do something like this for me when my time comes.” “Everything that happened today– from her favorite food to the music to the stories from former players, family members and friends, and the displays of […]
September 28, 2023

Introducing Our New Ask the Owners Column

The Foresight team is excited to announce that we are introducing a new blog column! When we first started our Ask the Experts and Ask the Analysts columns it was our goal to use these blogs to answer the most important questions funeral and cemetery professionals had about their businesses. With this is mind, we wanted to bring a new perspective to these vital questions: the viewpoint of owners and operators. We are honored to introduce you to Stephen and Diann Anderson, formerly of Anderson Funeral & Cremation Services. Each month Stephen and Diann will provide insightful information to help you improve how to operate your businesses. To start our column, please allow us to introduce you to Stephen and Diann as they tell us their goals for the “Ask the Owner” blog column: To the Funeral and Cemetery Profession, […]
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 […]
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