I’m certain that as a follower of this blog, you’ve noticed an absence of postings for a while. No, I haven’t ceased my relentless pursuit of spreading the Funeral Gospel according to the Commander. Not to mention co-hosting Funeral Nation TV, for which Ryan Thogmartin and I recently published our 102nd show. I haven’t exactly been sitting around waiting for the funeral industry to change. Rather, I’m leading the conversation, providing common sense commentary and solutions for problems some see perplexing, yet I see invigorating.
Hence, I’m broadening my position as a funeral industry superlative to offer several avenues of approach for fellow professionals to hear/see what needs to be said: WAKE UP! In the next few weeks, you’ll see a new articles, short blog pieces, videos, and basically get a snout full of my perspectives about our industry. From business practices, training, suppliers, industry news, and stuff that comes to mind…it’s all going to be here at The Funeral Commander and shared throughout my vast social media connections. Please follow me at LinkedIn, Facebook, and Twitter). Be vigilant and remember, “A vision is only a dream without execution.” Cheers y’all!
As we launched into 2017, I see all sorts of resolution and other feel good articles how to live a better life this year. Frankly, I wonder why we need prompting to do what should be done in the first place. For most people, there are a few top “resolutions” with simple solutions:
- Want to lose weight and get in shape? Quit eating poorly and exercise. The food that goes into your mouth comes directly from your own hand. You don’t need a gym membership to roll your carcass out of bed in the morning and take 30-45 minutes to walk/run, do some push ups, planks, and get on with your day. Get your ass out of bed a little earlier in the morning, exercise, and quit eating junk. Why is that so difficult?
- Want to make more money? Focus on what brings in revenue rather wasting time on crap that does not pay the bills. Take a look where the money comes from and increase your effort to make more. The harder you work, the luckier you get, monetize everything!
- Want to live a better life? Read 1 & 2, then organize your time:
- Each day has 24 hours and each week has 168 hours.
- If you work 45 hours per week, that leaves 123 hours.
- If you sleep 48 hours a week (8 hours a night), that leaves 75 hours.
- So that leaves 75 hours a week, 10.71 hours a day that you are not working or sleeping. Surely if you want to better educate yourself, start a new hobby, spend more time doing anything, the math above dictates that it’s possible.
Make the decision to take command of yourself and life will get better. From the Command Post (W), Cheers Y’all! #thefuneralcommander
David kicked Goliaths ass. Interestingly, David’s fellow warriors remained on the sidelines, huddled like a covey of quail, and just waited to see David get beat down by the giant. But David was not only brave, he was an innovator. He knew there was a simple solution to attack to win, versus the conventional “we’ve always done this way (and getting our ass kicked too)” crowd.
Guess what, fellow family-owned, small suppliers, and free thinkers of the funeral business: “Goliaths” don’t innovate. They dictate!
Think about it. What new innovation has made serious impact on the way we serve families or make our job better in the last 10 years?
Recently I was having a conversation with a funeral home owner client and he was lamenting how the funeral industry seems to be completely driven by “the big boys.” And by “big boys,” he meant publicly-traded funeral homes and casket companies, membership organizations and other funeral industry providers who seem to determine our direction.
Over the next few weeks I’m going to address different categories of funeral industry Goliaths and highlight the emerging Davids. I have a sling in one hand and rocks in another. Yeah, this is going to be fun! From the Command Post (West), Cheers Y’all! #thefuneralcommander
In my funeral business consulting practice one of the most frustrating phrases I hear from funeral home owners and managers: “Oh, my local guy handles our accounting.” I take a deep breath and think, “your local guy doesn’t know a rough box from an alternative container, yet he is in charge of your business’ financial advice?” A Profit & Loss statement tells a story for a funeral home. However if your accountant doesn’t know the language it’s doubtful the next chapters are going to change and the story is going to end poorly. The average funeral home makes 7% profit; if your funeral home is at or below this average then you need to consider changing your accountant.
- If your accountant has not addressed the comparison between your current year budget/forecast (if you have one), current year actual activities, and the last few years…YOU GOT THE WRONG ACCOUTANT!
- If you your accountant does not provide you with analysis and suggestions of where to reduce cost and increase revenue (making profit) on a regular basis… YOU GOT THE WRONG ACCOUNTANT!
- Take a look at your P&L and compare it to the same month last year and the year before. If your funeral home is not making more money versus years past… YOU GOT THE WRONG ACCOUNTANT!
- If your accountant can’t look at a trocar and casket key and identify what they are…YOU GOT THE WRONG ACCOUNTANT!
So, ask yourself; am I going to keep doing the same thing over and over again because I’ve always done it this way? From the Command Post (West) and a cigar just waiting to be lit, Cheers Y’all! #thefuneralcommander
As a funeral consultant, I interact with at least 25 funeral home owners on a typical week and through social media I’m in contact with hundreds of funeral directors. When I ask, “What’s the biggest challenge you face in the funeral profession?” almost on key I hear, “cremation is killing us.” Cremation is by no means the major challenge we are experiencing, it’s our failure of “doing the business of the business.”
Let me explain by asking questions.
- Cremation is a disposition. As such, funeral directors have the same opportunity to embalm as burial. Why doesn’t that conversation take place during cremation arrangements?
- Why do burial families pay full price for basic service fee and cremation families get a discount on the exact services performed?
- Why doesn’t every family receive a complete presentation for disposition of cremated remains including interment, scatter, keep, urn, and jewelry options?
- Why don’t funeral homes get paid in full or secure payment prior to signing a goods and services contract?
- Why don’t funeral directors train on their profession (not CEU) weekly to improve their skills (like the four questions above)?
- Why do funeral home owners pay accountants that give them a P&L statement and balance sheet but no advice on how to increase their profit?
Take a moment and answer these questions honestly. It’s not cremation; put some mirrors up in the funeral home and you’ll see the problem.
From the Command Post (West), Cheer’s Y’all! #thefuneralcommander
In my consulting practice, I spend quite a bit of time with funeral home owners and directors providing solutions to get paid for their goods and services. For the most part, when honest with themselves (and me), their payment policy is useless resulting in increasing accounts receivable as well as pressure on cash flow for the business. However, the acknowledgement doesn’t always translate into corrective action. So my question is, “When is the pain of not getting paid for your work intense enough that you actually take action to correct the problem?”
If your firm does not secure payment prior to conducting the service, you have a problem. If you are not getting paid within 5 days on your insurance assignments, you have a problem. If you have accounts receivable over 30 days, you have a problem. If you knew you had cancer, what would you do? Wait until the pain becomes unbearable before seeking help? Or, would you immediately seek the finest specialists to eradicate the disease?
You know you have a problem, but is the pain great enough for you to take action or are you going to wait for the lump to grow completely out of control?
If you have one of the problems above, let’s communicate. Yes, I am a specialist and I have the solution to your failed payment policy, lack of training, as well as accounts receivable problems. From the Command Post (West), Cheers Y’all! #thefuneralcommander.
I was recently traveling and saw the sign providing glory for the 4th place team in the 2009 Illinois Class 4A Basketball (I don’t know if there was a championship of some sort, the sign doesn’t say). Is congratulations in order for a 4th place? What are your thoughts? #thefuneralcommander