Whether you’re in the process of buying a funeral home or taking your first steps as a director, you’ll want to develop both short and long-term plans. Ideally, you’ll have an idea of what the next year, five years, and even ten years will look like.
While it can be stressful to embark on a new business venture and simultaneously plan for distant milestones, doing so is essential to your ultimate success. Here are a few things you should accomplish within your first year of owning a funeral home.
Above all, the funeral profession is rooted in personal relationships. When enduring the loss of a loved one, families need to know that they can trust you to assist them. That’s why, as a new funeral home owner, it’s important to introduce yourself to both the families you serve and the community at large.
If you’ve purchased an existing funeral home, you should consider sending a handwritten letter to your list of preneed families. In this letter, you can acknowledge your role as the new owner of the funeral home and assure them that you intend to uphold the exceptional service they’ve received in the past. For brand new funeral homes, you could consider placing an announcement in the local newspaper or distributing a press release that announces the change in leadership. Additionally, any online profiles––both social media and business websites––should announce this change as well.
Another helpful method could take the form of hosting a community event. The holidays offer a great opportunity to host a tree lighting ceremony or another service to gather members of the community. In these events, you, as the new funeral home owner, should introduce yourself to any key players in the community, ensuring them that you’re there to help with all things related to death care.
Many funeral homes are family-owned and very involved in their communities. Whether your funeral home is a new venture or a previously owned entity, you should make sure to reach out to key community members and organizations.
As a funeral director, both you and members of your team can:
- Volunteer at local hospitals
- Sponsor fundraisers for community organizations
- Take part in fundraisers like walks or 5K runs for charity
- Host a luncheon at a senior center or assisted living community
- Hold workshops or seminars to educate the public about funeral options
With each of these approaches, the goal is to be seen as an important part of the community, one that participates in causes beyond the scope of death care.
Partner with Local Businesses
In addition to getting involved with charitable causes and volunteering efforts, you should also work to develop partnerships with key local businesses. By creating bonds with related organizations, you can bolster your credibility and create mutually beneficial agreements. For example:
- By partnering with local mortuary schools, you can help solidify relationships with budding funeral professionals.
- Partnerships with florists can help you secure better pricing on flowers for services.
- Partnering with hospice centers and other outlets serving the elderly can help you with the acquisition of new families.
Direct deals aside, the businesses you partner with can also begin spreading the word about you.
Uplevel Your Staff
Whether you inherited a staff or had to hire new employees, it’s important that you’re all on the same page, offering the same level and quality of service. For starters, you’ll want to clearly articulate your values as a leader and how they relate to your mission. More than a catchy phrase to hang in the breakroom, your mission should dictate how your team interacts with families.
To train your team, you’ll want to develop mission-based standards that can be measured. Through informal sessions, you can help the various parts of your team build their skills. For example, funeral arrangers should be adept at interacting with at-need clients. They should also understand the intricacies of planning and executing events, both large and small.
Regardless of a team member’s position, funeral directors should maintain consistent and regular training, as there is always room for improvement. Equally as important, you should make sure to recognize staff members who exceed expectations with their service, and you can provide growth opportunities accordingly.
Track Your Performance
Fully understanding where you stand with the families you serve is crucial to improving your services; however, garnering honest feedback often proves difficult in the business of funeral homes. One of the best ways to address this problem is through software.
Performance Tracker from Johnson Consulting Group is a customer experience management tool that allows you to better solicit and monitor feedback from families. One of the most useful features of this tool is its survey functionality. With Performance Tracker, you can build and disseminate surveys to families that help you better understand how they felt about their experiences. From there, you can monitor which areas of your funeral home consistently deliver and which stand to improve.
Gain Insights from Funeral Industry Experts
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, 20% of new businesses fail within the first two years, and 65% fail within the first ten. In your first year running a funeral home, you’ll likely face challenges of finance, future planning, and managing your staff. This makes it all the more important for the new owners of funeral homes to plan accordingly. If juggling all of these tasks seems like a lot to handle, then you can consider seeking the help of experts.
The team at Johnson Consulting Group has decades of experience with starting, building, and running funeral businesses of all sizes. Particularly for new owners of funeral homes, they can help you create a detailed plan that will guide you through what could be an otherwise difficult time. Through their combination of death care expertise and awareness of the greater market for funeral homes, they can equip you with the know-how to make sure your funeral home thrives.DRIVE SUCCESS IN YEAR ONE