When funeral home owners and managers are challenged regarding their failed payment policy of collecting funds for their goods and services, finger-pointing begins. Often I hear “Once that arrangement door closes, there is not much I can do” and “We have a payment policy, but funeral directors are just not following it” along with other nonsensical gibberish. When statements are made like this I think about the old saying “The inmates running the asylum.”
I had the opportunity to present a Continuing Education Unit over the weekend at Tidewater Community College on the subject “Cash Flow Solutions for At Need Services.” The attendees were very engaged and truly seeking solutions to create better financial postures and processes of recovering the hard-earned revenues of their respective funeral homes. The problems can be solved with four steps.
Leadership: Step up and be the leader your funeral directors need and initiate solutions with immediate action. Any non-action to address failure is failure.
Training: Create a training program that is easily adapted, intentional and produces measurable results. If your funeral home does not have organic competence or experience (most don’t) for training, hire a professional. Interesting in the funeral profession there is much howling of directors “hire professional funeral directors” to consumers rather than use online services, “disposers” or “discounters.” Yet when the same barking ilk are in need of assistance in an area that they possess no background or expertise, they seek remedy’s that rarely produce results by non professions. Some examples: Business Management, Financial Advisory/Oversight, Marketing and Social Media Management.
Accountability: As a funeral home owner or manager, hold yourself accountable first. If you know there are problems (accounts receivable, discounts, life insurance recovery), then it’ your obligation to raise your hand and ask for help, not the funeral directors or employees. Once you initiate training, then accountability on all levels may be assigned.
Monitor/Measure/Improve: Training without monitoring the process, measuring results, and continuous refining is a futile exercise. In fact, the funeral industry has created the notion that “education/CEU” is sufficient. If that’s the case, why do 30% of our colleagues get repeatedly fined by the FTC for simple GPL violations?
After reading this post look at your YTD (year to date, you know the start of 2016 to now) accounts receivable and discounts allowed. If you don’t know how to find this data, you are in huge trouble. If this report reveals any AR balances or discounts given, you are in some trouble because your payment policy does not work. Multiply those numbers x 4 to see how bad your year is going to turn out. If you have $0.00 accounts receivable and have not offered any discounts, congrats as you are among a small few of your peers (or you don’t have a clue and in denial). Get professional help now, remedies and resources are available but you have to raise your hand (and write a check). Want to know who and how? Contact me.
It’s all about #FNchange, #FNhustle and #FNbrand people!
From the smoke-filled Command Post; Cheers Y’all! #thefuneralcommander