In the investment world there is a saying “Trees don’t grow to the sky.” The meaning is a warning that stock prices for a given company will not increase forever, they top out. When I thought about writing this post a few analogies came to mind relative to the funeral industry whether you are a funeral home operator or product/service provider.
First, take a look at the tree in the image above. I know there are exceptions (as I am not a tree expert), but trees tend to narrow at the top when they stop growing. If your funeral home has stopped growing more than likely it’s pretty narrow at the top with only a few branches “near the sun” failing to notice the root system beginning to weaken. The same holds true for funeral industry product/service vendors (look what’s happening in the cornfield).
We all know that trees have roots and can live for hundreds of years but the fact is trees reach a peak of vertical growth. If your funeral home has deep and a strong root system, yet peaked vertical (market) growth, what do you do? Perhaps just stand tall, firmly rooted and simply continue to serve in your sphere of ground. It’s not a bad thing at all. But your funeral home has stopped growing and perhaps vulnerable to planting/maturing of competitive funeral homes in your market. From a vendor perspective, new technology is being created in some cases before products even hit the market. Remember all the video folks? “New and improved” simply by a color or interior cloth change is basically putting lipstick on a pig, it’s still a pig.
Perhaps the notion of planting more trees (seedlings) from the tall and healthy (but ceased growing) tree is an option. Many funeral homes, successful, longstanding and deep rooted have planted seedlings that are maturing. New locations to serve different market areas and new models to serve different consumer segments are signs of recognition the original tree has ceased growing, but recognize the need to have a stronger presence of the brand. There few products and services in the funeral industry that are linear as well as strong enough to survive on their own. Yes, there was a time when funeral home website development, custom casket panels, “personalization” and such were revolutionary. But today many products/services are ordinary and being produced everywhere for significantly less than originally introduced into the market. Unfortunately, most new products and services are not developed from within or from the traditional industry providers, thus the analogy of the tree.
The point of this post is that trees truly don’t grow to the sky and there is a limit to growth. However, recognition by analysis of costs, market-share, real estate, market (consumer) shifts (demands), competitive landscape and growth potential should be a focal point of funeral home leadership. Unfortunately, many funeral home leaders are not equipped, possess the tools, or recognize the importance of such assessments. Conversely many product/service providers have armies of mutants in their basements providing such data, but often try to maneuver/manipulate the market rather than supply the demand. Why? Because their “tree has stopped growing” and still functioning on outdated models not understanding (or blatantly ignoring) the real needs of funeral home operators success.
As a funeral home owner or industry vendor, don’t become too busy at the top taking in the sun and assuming anything. Want to know more? Let’s connect to assess how to expand your brand for growth in your own forest at 540-589-7821. From the haze of cigar smoke in the Command Post, Cheers Y’all! #thefuneralcommander