Try something new or innovative? Nah…it won’t work.

10489664_10204233373373040_6140789426579688307_n (3)Living in the entrepreneur world is quite an experience. Thinking of an idea/process/product, development and working through to completion which is basically market acceptance and penetration, is a great reward of satisfaction that drives our motivation.

The hard part of being an entrepreneur is not all the creative, coordination, structure development, testing and so on.  That part of our “existence” is why we engage in our endeavors.  One of the most difficult facets of entrepreneurialism is the struggle with people that have either no understanding or will to learn about our creative initiatives.  Interestingly, even after vetting products/services in “beta” situations (at need arrangements) with real funeral directors with real funeral consumers, posting positive revenue numbers and elimination of “glitches,” skepticism abounds.  So why is the phenomenon of knee jerk “well, that won’t work” so pervasive?

I believe and understand that we all have natural skepticism about anything new.  Having stated this, I also believe that many people don’t possess natural intellectual curiosity to research for themselves prior to providing their opinion.  Thus, the term “knee jerk” is appropriate; just what comes off the top of mind with no real foundation or reasoning to support a given position.  Is this because the “opinionated” has never invented or created anything in their life and merely shows up everyday to perform repeated tasks for their livelihood, thus hating change?  Or is the “opinionated” always positioning or believing themselves as the smartest person in the room, resentful of not being the one that created the enterprise?  We see this type of reaction is pervasive in our society today on social media (mindless reactions) and even in our Nation’s leadership;  “JV team” comment sound familiar?

In particular, the funeral industry is quite adept in providing “often wrong but never in doubt” opinions on a wide variety of subjects.  However much like the reference to the Middle East scourge, the issues we face are real and not going away.  In fact, the problem is getting worse and there is no plan of how to address the escalating and dangerous situation we are finding ourselves.  For example, in many cases our approach to cremation, use of technology, regulations, competition, price transparency, the economic environment we are operating and shifting consumer views of funeral service have not been a track record of stellar business practices.

Ten years ago, we were so surprised when consumers actually choose a custom cap panel, or shopped prices, purchased a non-gasketed casket, or asked for a “direct cremation.”  Today these examples are common and closer the norm.  So when the subjects of technology to serve families (bricks and mortar not necessary for services provided), use of celebrants, declining revenues from financially challenged consumers, DNA in the funeral industry, sending cremated remains into space, alkaline hydrolysis and such…are they so far fetched?  However, remember your first Thumbie sale? I suppose the proprietors and change leaders of our industry that now enjoy the fruits of their effort are humming the Toby Keith song “How Do You Like Me Now?”

Fortunately the funeral industry has forward thinking and operating professionals that actually provide leadership by having the intestinal fortitude and broad view to pave the way for those that don’t.  Actually, I addressed these leaders in a post Kiwi or Eagle earlier this year.  So from my view as a funeral home owner/partner and funeral service/product business owner/entrepreneur, there is a bright future for the funeral industry Eagles!  As for the Kiwi’s, well as we say in the South, “Bless your heart,” your beak is getting warmer as we speak.  Cheers y’all! #thefuneralcommander

  1. Marcus Ericson said:

    Well said!


  2. Jeff Harbeson said:

    Thank you Marcus!


  3. David said:

    Jeff, I support and completely agree with your post apart from your choice of metaphor. The Kiwi is the national bird of New Zealand and the affectionate name given to the people of this very innovative nation of 4.6M people at the bottom of the World. As an example, our business is called One Room and provides an automated platform for private webcasting and recording funeral services to reach family and friends who are unable to attend the funeral on the day. Kiwi-engineered and delivered through Amazon Web Services to funeral homes across NZ, Australia, USA and Canada and reaching viewers in over 65 countries on any viewing device connected to the internet. There are 40 funeral homes in NZ that have already adopted this technology. “Bless their hearts…” Come down for a visit sometime then you will appreciate how innovative a little flightless bird has to be in order to get a meal in!


  4. Jeff Harbeson said:


    Greetings and thank you for reading…of course, I understand your position defending the Kiwi. Frankly, the analogy has nothing to do with New Zealand, however we all are entitled to opinions. Great to hear of funeral homes adopting web technology to provide broader service to their families. At our locations and multitudes of others we have enjoyed using web-casting for years…I’ll make that visit in 2015 and we’ll break bread. Cheers! Jeff


  5. Smithe2 said:

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