business development

Prepare Your Funeral Home for 2017

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1Funeral Director & OGR Member Resources Director Laine Phillips shares his thoughts for preparing your funeral home for 2017.


What’s the financial health of your funeral home? Do you know?

In today’s economically challenging world, it is imperative that you know the health of your business. In my travels across the country, I have found that a high percentage of funeral home owners do not track the important numbers of their businesses or have yearly budgets. This is not a knock on those businesses, just a wake-up call.

In this post, I will give you five easy-to-start steps that will help a funeral home owner who is not tracking his/her business get started without having to be an accountant. The tips focus on key financial indicators, that if watched for 12 months, will reveal trends in your finances before it’s too late to correct them.  Read the rest of this entry »

2016 Trends that Shaped Funeral Service–Part II

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2016-trendsLast week we began a review of 10 developments in funeral service that caught the attention of national–and sometimes–international media. Coverage focused on changing trends, occasionally on what went wrong, and often what were the most outrageous ideas. Here are another five topics that demonstrate what is catching the attention of media outlets and their readers.  Read the rest of this entry »

2016 Trends that Shaped Funeral Service–Part I

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In many people’s minds, 2016 will be remembered as the year celebrities dropped like flies. According to Legacy.com, the number of celebrity deaths was comparable to previous years, but three factors made it appear that celebrities were dying in droves: 1) a higher-than-average number of those who died were either A-list or legendary stars; 2) many musicians died who had extremely loyal fan bases; and 3) the average age of celebrities who died this year was about 10 years younger than usual.

Aside from celebrity deaths, growing pains continued to reach every aspect of funeral service. During the last 12 months we saw some outrageous trends, some of which have already used up their 15 minutes of fame. Other news stories highlighted shifts in public preferences that merit our continued attention, even if these changes seem undignified to some traditionalists.

Part I of this blog will examine five topics which drew national, and sometimes international, attention to funeral service in ways that are relevant to serving families in the near future. Next week, Part II will examine five more topics.  Read the rest of this entry »

10 Things I’ve Learned from Working with Funeral Directors

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Here’s a typical conversation that I have when I’m out with friends, meeting new people.

“What do you do?” asks someone who doesn’t really care but feels obligated to engage me in conversation.

“I work for a trade association that works with independently owned funeral homes. I’m a meeting planner.” I respond to cut to the chase.

“Oh! So you plan funerals? Do you embalm bodies?” returns the individual who now has a stronger interest in hearing what I have to say and obviously wasn’t listening.

“No. But I know quite a few people who do. Why? Do you need a discount on an urn?”

The asker typically turns pale and isn’t sure where to go from there.

So goes many a conversation at cocktail parties and other events when I have the opportunity to interact with anyone who doesn’t work in funeral service. It’s made me stop and think about what funeral directors face when they share their story with others.

Since I joined OGR’s staff four years ago, I’ve learned quite a bit about funeral service professionals and have found that they have a pretty challenging job. They work long, irregular hours around strange smells, extreme emotions, and lots of paperwork. They respond to phone calls in the middle of the night, often miss holidays with their families, and care for dead bodies. They maintain composure and professionalism in the midst of family conflict, inclement weather, and national tragedies. A lot of what they do is behind the scenes, unseen and unheard.  Read the rest of this entry »

Networking: Make It Personal

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7-21 McClure Networking CoverIn today’s world of social networking and associated technologies, it’s easy to conduct business from behind the desk or mobile device. As a society, are we forgetting the importance of face-to-face interaction?   While funeral service professionals interact with families face-to-face on a daily basis, it is easy during slow periods to stay inside and behind screens. To expand your business and your network of relationships, it is imperative that you take the time to enrich yourself and your businesses by participating in varied networking opportunities outside the funeral home.

In-person relationships and events are where we learn more about the people we do business with, meet potential customers, and expand our business knowledge. We must commit to taking advantage of these opportunities and learn some things that we just couldn’t learn the same way online.

Try these easy tips for making networking personal and learn something new.  Read the rest of this entry »

How Funeral Professionals Can Make Their Businesses Thrive

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Do you ever feel like there isn’t enough time in the day to accomplish all you need to or like you’re treading water and barely keeping up with your competitors? For small business owners, scheduling time for success makes all the difference according to Clay Clark, founder of Thrive15. Clay has built several successful companies over the past 15 years and plans to launch more using time-tested strategies. His keynote at OGR’s Annual Conference & Supplier Showcase highlighted six of these strategies, which will help funeral service professionals increase the gross revenue of their businesses by ten percent this year.

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1. Develop a growth mindset. Read the rest of this entry »

Funeral Directors as Entrepreneurs- How to Share Your Great Ideas

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Have you ever had an idea you’d like to see implemented at your funeral home, but you haven’t known how to get started? Our Young Professionals event on Monday, February 29 will give funeral professionals the opportunity to discuss their ideas and practice pitching them. For those of you who can’t make the event, here are a couple pointers from our presenter Matthew Pollard on how to get started in seeing that great idea realized. We’ve split the advice for employees and employers.

Read the rest of this entry »