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    November 2009 Management Insights Newsletter

    IN Newsletter On 11-25-2009

    From the Chairman’s desk:

    Welcome back. Happy Thanksgiving. It’s truly a time for us to give thanks for our families, friends, associates and all the blessings bestowed upon us. We, at Johnson Consulting, are very fortunate to have the many clients and friends that we work with each day and throughout the year.

    Our year has been a very busy one. We relocated our corporate offices to give us additional space to better serve our clients and make room for our product enhancements and some new innovative products that have been well received in the marketplace.

    We are very fortunate and excited to have added three widely recognized individuals as new associates to the Johnson Consulting Group: Alan Creedy, Rich Sells and Manny Francisco. Rich and Manny’s highly successful careers in pre need funeral and cemetery marketing and operations have given us the opportunity to expand our services in this area. Our first client is a large cemetery operation in Mexico.

    2009 has been a very interesting year for us in funeral service. Our economy has had some effect on average funeral value. Cremations are still increasing. Credit is beginning to loosen up, but not back to where it needs to be. Our new Loan Sourcing Program has helped several of our clients. We had an excellent year in our M&A division, but it came more from quality than quantity. And then there is Wal-Mart entering the casket business. If they win, we only have ourselves to blame.

    A few issues ago, we added a survey to our newsletter and we received an excellent response from our first one. Last issue we ask just one question: “This summer our nation lost two very influential and trusted public figures, Walter Cronkite and Ted Kennedy. We ask you: Who, in your estimation, is the most influential living person in the funeral service industry today?”

    I must be candid: our responses were underwhelming to say the least which may have said a lot. “I just cannot think of “the person” The one that got the most votes was nameless but a very powerful and influential individual in our society: THE CONSUMER. We better all listen to what they are saying.

    Since we are fortunate to have a large subscriber list that is made up of both funeral home owners and associates as well as suppliers, we thought we would ask you to respond to a few questions pertaining to the supply side. We will again make it short and easy to reply. We sincerely appreciate you taking the time to respond.

    As we begin to close out the year 2009 and put it in the record books, my perspective will be that it was a challenging, but productive year. We worked with several firms that made a commitment to change and make improvements to their operations. Their potential worst of times turned into much better times and for them the best is yet to come. Doing more with less and doing the right things, right will make all the difference.

    We hope you enjoy this issue …

    Regards,

    Tom Johnson
    Chairman

    Year end tax tips from our tax service partners

    Johnson Consulting does not provide tax advice, but relies solely on the experience and expertise of:

    Tax Services

    As the year end approaches, now is the time to start planning for your 2009 income taxes. Conventional tax planning calls for deferring income into 2010 and accelerating tax deductions into 2009. However, these are anything but conventional economic times. With large federal deficits and an expanding federal debt, we see increased tax rates in the future. The only question is how high and when will these tax increases take effect. Much will depend on how the economy performs in 2010. If the economy continues to struggle in 2010, we feel that the tax cuts scheduled to expire at the end of 2010 will simply be allowed to expire. However, if the economy improves during 2010, we think that we could see increases as early as 2010.

    Most taxpayers have thus far experienced lower taxable incomes in 2009. Many taxpayers have large capital losses generated in 2008 that are being carried over to 2009. Investment income in 2009 will most likely be lower. This means that for many taxpayers, their marginal tax rates will be lower in 2009 than they expect to have in 2010. Therefore, it may make sense this year to accelerate income into 2009 and defer deductions into 2010. When looking at any tax strategy, the alternative minimum tax should be considered. Continue Reading Funeral Home Tax Tips >>>

    Feature article

    Johnson Consulting highly recommends that you survey your families that you have served. It is a gold mine of valuable information that will help you formulate your marketing plans and strategies….

    2010 – THE BIG QUESTION – “DO WE REALLY KNOW WHAT IS GOING ON?” Todd Van Beck

    This is a powerhouse of a question for funeral service and cemetery work. Do we really know what is going on out in the world? Of course we do, certainly we keep tabs on how the community is changing, we keep our fingers on the pulse of the funeral/cemetery environment; of course we do, been doing it for years.

    These responses are predictable and totally natural and understandable. However they do not answer the question – do we know, really know what is going on out there? It might be that we don’t know precisely the details, and the realities, and nay the unpleasant news that might be, could be, and is most probably is floating around our communities about you and me.

    Here is an example. I once had occasion to perform a focus group for a particular funeral home. Most everything was changing for this particular funeral home and unfortunately the owners were in psychological denial. In other words they truly and honestly “thought” they knew what was happening but in reality there were many gaps in their “knowledge” base. So they asked for a focus group. Continue Reading about the value of Funeral Home Surveys

    Product Highlights for 2009 and What we will be featuring in 2010 ….

    2009

    1. JCGPerformanceTracker™ Web-Based Customer Survey and Sales Analysis Program
    2. Accounting Services Growth
    3. Management Service Growth
    4. Expanded services in Preneed Consulting Through Rich Sells and Manny Francisco Coming on board
    5. New Enhanced website with client portal
    6. Introduced our Funeral Business Performance Analysis and Improvement Package along with Summary Strategic Plan
    7. Busiest year ever at Johnson Consulting for Private funeral home acquisitions and divestitures

    2010

    1. Web-based client access and interactive menu for reviewing funeral business customer ratings and sales performance
    2. Summit Meeting in early 2010 (March)
    3. Johnson Consulting Group’s (Memorial Classic Golf Tournament in Las Vegas, NV)
    4. Monthly benchmarking reports for our accounting clients (new enhancement to accounting)
    5. Johnson Consulting Group funeral study group financial analysis package for study group’s wishing to make the most of their financial discussions
    6. Expansion of the already extensive training library

    From all of us to all of you have a great Holiday Season


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