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    December 2011 Newsletter

    IN Newsletter On 12-09-2011

    jake-johnsonShort Survey

    As with every newsletter, we like to put together a short survey and then anonymously share it in our next newsletter.  (Follow this link to take this survey…Customer Satisfaction & Incentive Survey)

     

    Results From Last Survey

    In the last company newsletter, we asked the readers for their input on various questions regarding training and development.  Of those who responded 83% said that they regularly participate in a training and development program.  55% said that they have 1 to 3 training programs they utilize in a year while the other 45% said they conduct 4 or more different training programs.  Another question asked was whether the more preferred training method was in person or online through the web.  77% of those respondents indicated that live or in-person training sessions were preferred.    Interestingly enough though, 90% of the respondents said they would be willing to utilize online training and development.  Also interesting was that 67% of the respondents said they would take the online training regardless of whether they were to receive continuing education credits to do so.  As it relates to the time in the program, most were agreeable to sitting through a 1 to 2 hours session, but no longer.

    I find these results interesting as training becomes more and more of importance in funeral businesses.  Our business is changing all the time and the existence of continual improvement on our service delivery at all levels of the funeral process is critical.  I hope you will glean valuable input to this data so that you can better your programs as well.  Keep in mind that Johnson Consulting offers training programs for virtually every aspect of the funeral process.  You can research this library by clicking here.

     

    This Month’s Featured Services for Johnson Consulting Group

    JCG Performance Tracker™

    The JCG Performance Tracker™ is a funeral customer survey and sales contract analysis benchmarking program. It provides a complete solution designed specifically for the funeral business that gives you the most insight into both customer satisfaction and sales contract analysis by each arranger, location and company.

    You can begin tracking performance today with:

    • No Contract to Sign
    • Low Monthly Cost

    Let our JCG Performance Tracker™ put you on the path to accountability with your staff. Know what your customers think of your funeral home and how it can be improved.

    Click here to get started!

     

    Johnson Consulting Group’s Online PreNeed Insurance

    Pre-Licensing School

    Johnson Consulting Group has partnered with TesTeachers Online to create a program that will ensure you pass your Pre-Need Insurance Licensing Exam on your first attempt. Our programs have an extremely high first time pass ratio.

    We offer Insurance Pre-Need licensing courses in the following states: AZ, CA, CO, CT, GA, HI, IA, ID, IL, KS, LA, MA, ME, MI, MO, NH, NJ, NM, PA, SC, SD, TN, TX, UT, VA, VT and WA with more states coming soon!

    Start our on-line insurance Pre-need Licensing Program today! Enter code “jcg” to receive 10% off.

     

    Press Releases

    Johnson Consulting Group Forms Strategic Alliance with Federated Funeral Directors of America

    Phoenix, AZ – Johnson Consulting Group (JCG) has announced an alliance with Federated Funeral Directors of America, a Fiducial company to provide business valuation and merger and acquisition services to Federated member firms.

    Federated is the funeral industry’s largest comprehensive accounting and business consulting firm with a client base of 1,300 funeral homes in 45 states. By creating an affiliation with Johnson Consulting Group, Federated clients will have access to the most comprehensive business valuation and merger and acquisition group in the death care industry. According to Jake Johnson, President of JCG, “Our volume and expertise in mergers and acquisition provides a solid foundation for providing the market value support necessary for credible funeral home valuations”. A business valuation is typically used for any of the following reasons:

    • General Business Value Inquiries
    • Estate Planning
    • Succession Planning
    • Acquisitions
    • Divestitures

    According to Mr. Johnson, “At JCG, through our successful buying and selling engagements, we can provide the largest database of comparable funeral  home value market data. When we tap into that data for our business valuation projects, we can say with confidence that our valuation summaries represent the best determination of market value available in the business.”

    For more information on Johnson Consulting Group’s services to Federated Funeral Directors of America members, contact Johnson Consulting at 888.250.7747 or Federated Funeral Directors of America at 800.877.8832.


    Johnson Consulting Group Enters into Canada

    Phoenix, AZ – Jake Johnson announced today an affiliation with Todd Lumbard to further expand Johnson Consulting Group (JCG) services throughout Canada. Johnson Consulting Group is the death care industry’s premier consulting firm in areas of Mergers & Acquisition, Accounting, Management Consulting, Customer Satisfaction Surveys and Business Valuations. The company has grown over the past 15 years through affiliations with some of the death care industry’s leading consultants including:

    Tom Johnson
    Ken Knauss
    Robert Horn
    Greg Hilgendorf
    Al Asta
    Bill Cutter
    Rich Sells
    Dale Espich
    Brooks Cowles
    Charles Merrick

    JCG is proud to have served a number of Canadian firms, and has made a commitment to elevate the standard of services in Canada by affiliating with Todd Lumbard, who will work exclusively with Canadian firms. These consulting services will include the areas of Brokering, Business Valuations, Financial Accounting, Management Consulting, Customer Satisfaction Survey Programs, and Loan Sourcing.

    Mr. Lumbard’s experience in funeral service includes being a current owner of funeral homes, crematories and a cemetery located in Manitoba and Saskatchewan and as past President of Selected Independent Funeral Homes (SIFH). Todd is also currently involved with the Funeral and Cremation Services Council of Saskatchewan and is a licensed funeral director and embalmer. Prior to entering funeral service, Todd pursued a career as a professional athlete as a hockey goaltender, culminating his career with the New York Islanders.

    “With SIFH, Todd developed an international perspective of funeral service having worked with funeral businesses throughout the free world. This perspective will serve him well as he works with JCG’s Canadian clientele”. – Jake Johnson

    Todd Lumbard stated “I am excited about the opportunity to bring the expertise of Johnson Consulting Group combined with my knowledge of Canadian operations to funeral directors and cemeterians throughout Canada”.

    For additional information about the Johnson Consulting Group’s services in the US and Canada, visit www.JohnsonConsulting.com or telephone 888.250.7747 or 480.556-8500. For Todd Lumbard you may email him at tlumbard@johnsonconsulting.com or telephone 306.501.8920.

     

    Thinking of Selling your Business?

    Douglas O. Meyer (Law Office of Douglas O. Meyer Woodland Hills, CA)

    The last several years were a tough time to try to sell a funeral home.  Values were depressed and then the credit market collapsed, so would-be buyers couldn’t obtain financing for a purchase.  Now, however, I’m seeing more acquisition activity.  For those of you thinking of selling, I have the following suggestions and observations…

    (Click here to view this article in it’s entirety)

     

    A Wake-Up Call: Are You a Party Planner or a Creator of Meaningful Funeral Experiences?

    Alan D. Wolfelt, Ph.D. (Center for Loss & Life Transition)
    www.centerforloss.com

    Perhaps it is time for a “wake-up call!” There is an undeniable truth that more and more people are saying things like: “When I die, just get rid of me…no muss, no fuss.  Maybe you can throw a party, but I sure don’t want a funeral!”  I believe it is time for those of you committed to the future of funeral service to firmly choose your course- or the relentless drift of events will make decisions for you.

    How many families have walked through your doors in recent years requesting not a funeral, but a “celebration” or a “party?”  Quite a few, if the conversations I regularly have with my friends in funeral service are any indication.  Of even more concern, do you think your helping role is to create one of these two options for families?  While it is tempting to think your job is to create a celebration or a party when that is what is being requested, I would urge all of us to pause for a moment and consider what’s best for families served.

    (Click here to view this article in its entirety)

     

    Cemetery Succession and Exit Planning

    tom-johnsonRecently, Tom Johnson was asked to “weigh-in” on the below trends

    Cremation – I think everyone will agree that the cremation rate will continue to increase. But I also think the number of cremations with some sort of service will also increase. That’s good news! Many funeral directors around the country are getting better each day in the handling of a cremation family. All funeral directors who handle cremations need to continually improve in this area. Most suppliers and consultants in this business are also willing to assist.

    (Click here to view this article in its entirety)

     

    Strategic Planning: From your budget to your facilities to your finances-Get your year off to the right start

    Tom Johnson & Jake Johnson (Chairman & President)

    The subject of this article is most interesting for a couple of reasons; one, most funeral directors do little strategic planning and, two, even less prepare an annual budget. I have spoke about this subject for many years but see little progress. The typical modus operandi for most independent operations is to keep things just the way they are. It’s worked in the past to some degree. However, it probably will not work in the future.

    (Click here to view this article in its entirety)

     

    Cemetery Succession and Exit Planning

    tom-johnsonRecently, Tom Johnson was asked to “weigh-in” on succession planning at cemeteries.

    1. Why is exit planning for cemetery owners important?

    Succession planning for cemetery owners may be more important than any other type of business for on simple reason; you have a depleting resource. Once a cemetery is full there is nothing to transfer or sell. The only remaining issue is the liability of maintaining the property into perpetuity. Hence the importance of looking at your cemetery and understanding the current and future inventory needs. A Masterplan is essential for this reason.

    (Click here to view this article in its entirety)

     

    Quotes and Blogs

    “To effectively communicate, we must realize that we are all different in the way we perceive the world and use this understanding as a guide for our communication with others.” – Anthony Robbins Getting Good at Communicating

    “Spend your energy searching for solutions, not excuses.” – David Cottrell 180 Ways to Build Commitment and Positive Attitude

    “To motivate your team, provide “freedom with fences.” Giving individuals the room to maneuver in a clearly defined playing field (with timetables, budgets, goals, etc.) allows them to have clarity, confidence, and a greater sense of control within their area of responsibility.” – John Baldoni
    180 Ways to Walk the Motivation Talk: Proven and Practical How-To’s to Energize Everyone in Your Organization


     

    Company News

    JCG Summit
    -Once again, Johnson Consulting Group will be holding their annual summit at the Westin Kierland Resort February 9th through the 11th in 2012. Please contact us for more information at 888.250.7747 or email us at info@johnsonconsulting.com.

    Manny Francisco Joins Johnson Consulting as Pre-Need Sales Director
    -Another top notch executive chooses Johnson Consulting Group to extend his prominent and highly successful career. Manny Francisco has joined the company as Pre Need Sales Director. Manny’s success in the pre need sales arena is well known and respected. Manny achieved this distinction by first holding key positions in several international companies including Procter & Gamble, J. Walter Thompson Advertising Co., Sun Life of Canada and Service Corporation International. He has lived and worked in five countries: The Philippines, Canada, the United States, Mexico and Indonesia. He is a sales legend in the California Death Care Industry where he spent 20 years working for various funeral home and cemetery organizations. Manny joined Lippo Karawaci in 2006 and was assigned as the Executive Director of San Diego Hills Memorial Park. He holds a Bachelor of Arts and Bachelor of Science degree in Business Administration from De La Salle College in Manila, Philippines.
    Jake Johnson, President of Johnson Consulting, states: “Manny’s ability to speak five languages ideally suites him for our global strategy in offering preneed sales programs to the funeral and cemetery industry. Manny exemplifies the professional talent, expertise and consistent high performance that provide Johnson Consulting Group the ability to deliver results that exceed our client’s expectations. We are very fortunate to have Manny on our new Cemetery and Funeral Pre need Sales Team. Manny will be a member of the team headed by Rich Sells, an icon in Pre Need and Cemetery sales. His initial assignment will be to one of our newest projects in Mexico City, Mexico.

    JCG Performance Tracker™
    -Johnson Consulting Group’s PerformanceTracker™ (Customer Survey and Sales Analysis Program) is experiencing large growth due to its low cost and easy to use format. Call today for a comprehensive review of the program.

    Online Insurance Licensing Training
    -Johnson Consulting is now offering online insurance licensing training and continuing education. Follow this link to view our online insurance licensing…Online Training & Continuing Education Link, and be sure to use the coupon code “jcg” to receive 10% off.

    Performance Analysis Assessment
    -Our business improvement program involving our comprehensive Business Performance Analysis has proven to be a valuable tool to all our clients regardless of  size by improving each client’s performance in Marketplace, Workplace, Customer Service, and Financial Management. Call today for a complete review of the program.

     

    Recent JCG Business / Clients

    -Federated Funeral Directors (JCG has become the exclusive provider for Business Valuations and M&A)

    -L.D. Pearson & Son, Louisville, KY (JCG successfully provided representation for the owners in a sale of the firm)

    -Murphy Funeral Home & Cremation Services, Oakton, VA (JCG successfully provided representation for the owners in the sale of the firm)

    -Desert View Funeral Home & Memorial Park, Victorville, CA (JCG successfully provided representation for the owners in the sale of the firm)

    -Daniels Family Funeral Services, LLC, Non-Albuquerque, NM (JCG successfully provided representation for the owners in the sale of the Non-Albuquerque markets only)

    -Serenity Cemeteries III, LLC, Verona, MS (JCG successfully provided representation for the owners in the sale of the firm)

    -Emken-Linton Funeral Home, Texas City, TX (JCG successfully provided representation for the owners in the sale of the firm)

    -Raymer Funeral Home, Huntersville, NC (JCG successfully provided representation for the owners in the sale of the firm)

    -Legacy Funeral Services of Texas, LLC, Houston, TX (JCG is successfully engaged to provide monthly surveys and contract analysis, PerformanceTracker™)

    -Solimine Funeral Homes, Lynn, MA (JCG is successfully engaged to provide performance analysis, monthly management consulting, and monthly surveys and contract analysis, PerformanceTracker™)

    -Bunker Family Funeral Homes, Mesa, AZ (JCG is successfully engaged to provide monthly surveys and contract analysis, PerformanceTracker™)

    -Richard Disque Funeral Home, Dallas, PA (JCG successfully provided financing through its loan program)

    -George J. Paynic Home for Funerals, East Alton, IL (JCG successfully provided financing through its loan program)

    -The Springs Funeral Services, Colorado Springs, CO (JCG successfully provided financing through its loan program)

    -A.M. Gamby Funeral Home, Lomita, CA (JCG successfully provided financing through its loan program)

    -Serenity Cemeteries III, LLC, Farmington, NM (JCG Successfully provided financing through its loan program)

     

    Testimonials

    “We would like you both to know that we truly appreciate your help and assistance with the sale of our funeral home.  We came to the little town of Manton when I was 21, fresh out of college and married for only a few weeks. We owned the funeral home for almost 43 years so parting with the business was a very big deal to us.  We knew that a funeral director in the area would probably buy the funeral home.  We consider all the neighboring funeral homes and funeral directors to be friends and colleagues and not competitors.  We didn’t want the sale of our business to jeopardize this friendship in any way and Dale did an excellent job of dealing will all interested funeral directors in a professional and friendly way.  He was persistent but not demanding and seemed to work tirelessly through may disappointments and setbacks. We would recommend Dale and Johnson Consulting 100%  and have told several other funeral directors this when asked how our sale went. Every day we are realizing new possibilities that being not tied down to the phone and responsibilities of a job are offering us.  Thank you for your friendship and help to us.” – Fred & Elaine Hall, Manton, MI

    “Please accept this expression of my most sincere appreciation to you and your fine staff for the many hours expended on our behalf involving the sale of our 87 year old family firm, Don Grantham Funeral Home. As a funeral home owner and director my experience has obviously been limited to the operation of our business.  It was comforting to know that we entrusted the marketing of our business to an organization that exhibited to us that they cared as much as we did about locating the right purchaser for our business. In the midst of accumulating information, evaluations, screening qualified potential buyers, to compiling all necessary data and most important of all maintaining our desire to locate the right fit for our particular situation, your organization was outstanding in its professionalism our industry strives to achieve. Over the course of our association I never had an unanswered phone call, a question that went unresolved, prompt and prepared responses and a positive, calming attitude that shifted the enormous demands from me to your firm’s expertise. Our decision to entrust Johnson Consulting Co. with the sale of our business was by far the best decision we made.  I have nothing but the highest admiration and esteem for the services extended to our family by your organization.  Thanks for making a “hard decision,  easy.” – Jim Grantham, Duncan, OK

    “When my husband, William Ready, died in 2000 I inherited 2/3 of Ready Funeral Services, Inc. and my daughter, Michele, 1/3. The business consisted of three funeral homes and a crematorium. Two years later I built a new state of the art crematorium. Three years ago Michele came to me and said she would like to purchase my shares. I contacted the Johnson Group through the assistance of a good friend, and I was put in touch with Bill Cutter whom I communicated with on a weekly basis by e-mail or telephone. By May of this year Bill had a complete proposal prepared ready to go to market. The end of the story is that my daughter now owns the business and this never would of happened without the hard work of Bill Cutter and the Johnson group. Anyone who would like to talk to me concerning the Johnson group I would be most happy to accommodate.” – Jane Ready, Burlington, VT

    “In January 2010, Fares J. Radel Funeral Homes needed to refinance our funeral home in Cincinnati. The loan amount was over $1.5 million and I found in dealing with traditional banks, they do not fully understand the ebbs and tides of funeral home cash flow. After repeated meetings with many large and small banks we turned to Johnson Consulting, a specialist in funeral home financing and consulting. I contacted Kelly Herdt and he began a search for capitol. Kelly “shopped” banks, credit unions and venture captial groups. In 2010, our country was in a very harsh economic environment (needless to say), Kelly found us financing to refinance the deal. It is nice to deal with people such as Johnson Consulting and their wonderful staff, who are familiar with funeral home owner’s needs. Again, thank you for everything.” – Fares J. Radel, Cincinnati, OH

    “Just wanted to let you know what a positive experience it was to have Greg and Al out to St. Louis last week.  Greg and Al obviously know their stuff and did a great job explaining to our staff and managers and owners what exactly they were doing there and more importantly sometimes, what they WEREN’T doing there.  I know Oliver and I both are excited to move forward in so many aspects and look forward to our next steps.  I’m glad we got started early in the year so that we can move forward in 2011 with a fresh start.  Thanks again!” – Justin King of Heartland Pet Cremation, St. Louis, MO

    “Perhaps the most valuable lesson I learned through my journey with JCG is knowledge is important and should be gathered from as many sources as possible and on a continuous basis but timing is king. We were fortunate our relationship with JCG started many years before we seriously considered a sale. Having a business valuation performed by professionals, and unencumbered by circumstances that might dictate a quick sale allowed us the luxury to evaluate and become comfortable with every detail of the valuation and our business. Accordingly, we were able to improve business operation and its value.” – Barry Murphy, Oakton, VA


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