From the Chairman’s desk:

Tom JohnsonWelcome back… It’s hard to believe that autumn is upon us and school is back in session. Our economy has taken quite a few twists and turns these last few weeks and now Congress is bailing out the private business sector. The Chinese proverb “May you live in interesting times…” certainly applies to our present day challenges…

We continue to get new subscribers to our newsletter and our feedback has been very positive. Thank you for your participation. We have asked for ideas and suggestions for various topics to discuss and we have received some excellent suggestions. One suggestion read:

Tom, you have a wealth of knowledge and experience in all aspects of funeral service, why don’t you devote an issue giving your perspectives on the challenges and opportunities we in funeral service face today…

We thought about it and decided to act on that suggestion. So this issue will be just that… I will address and share with you our perspectives as we view the landscape in funeral service at Johnson Consulting. Recently, I wrote an article that I believe addresses the current situation and my thoughts and ideas as to how to best address them.

We have had several suggestions to hold an annual educational meeting to share our perspectives on the state of funeral service and what successful funeral service owners and operators are doing to succeed in this challenging economy. We have improved the performance and financial results for each of our clients this past year and we want to share those same methods and processes with our audience. We are working on the details, as we speak, and will be announcing our plans soon.

In addition to sharing my perspectives in this issue, we want to let our subscribers know what we will be featuring in Orlando at the NFDA convention. We hope to see you there…


Tom Johnson

Current Economy and its Effect on Funeral Service: Tom Johnson

We are often asked by our clients, what it is the best strategy to employ in an economic downturn and how has this downturn affected my funeral home’s value? These are tough questions to answer but funeral directors can take some comfort in the fact that funeral service in general is one of the more “recession proof” businesses in the United States. There are many of our constituents in other fields that don’t have it so good right now. Home builders, commercial construction, real estate, trucking, automobile dealerships and restaurants to name a few are in particular feeling the hard times.

Funeral service marches on as families continue to need our services. The best way to handle the downturn is to work harder and smarter than you have in the past. Go the extra mile with families. While your competitor may be crying the blues it can separate you from the pack. Especially from an image standpoint and will pay dividends in years to come.

It is also amazing to me that many funeral homes really do not have an accounting system. They tend to just gather information and send it to their accountant so they can get year end taxes completed. There is no more important time to get your financial affairs in order than now. No matter who you use, get a professional accountant to assist you in not only handling your accounting but also doing some financial planning and budgeting. It is one of the hallmarks of our company now as our accounting division has grown rapidly during the past year.

Read the rest of Tom’s article Funeral Service Industry Economy

Jake Johnson talks about Keys to a Successful Funeral Operation: Audio Recording

Jake JohnsonRecently Jake Johnson, together with Scott Meierhoffer of St. Joseph, MO, was on a conference call with Robin Heppell.

The three of them were talking about how to be successful in the changing, and this somewhat difficult time for funeral service. We have two excerpts from the interview. Robin asks Jake to elaborate on the keys of a successful funeral operation and then asks Jake to sum up his thoughts of the conversation.

Note from Jake: “If you plan to attend the NFDA convention and you have questions or would like more information on what I discussed, stop by our booth and I will be glad to answer your questions.”

2008 NFDA Convention, Orlando: Visit Us At Booth 2303

We are excited about all we have to show you at our booth at NFDA this year. It has been a very busy and productive year for our organization. We have earned business from many new clients and have continued to serve our existing clients employing several new enhancements to our products and services.

We are all facing new economic and operational challenges that require methods that we never had to employ in the past. As I mentioned in the article, accounting systems are vital in these times to guide you and help you pinpoint the areas that need attention and strengthening. Our accounting systems are actual management tools designed and tailored to do just that- Web-based and available to you 24/7 with current information.

Owners and lending institutions are relying on our expertise to provide a thorough and in-depth Business Valuation of a funeral home’s total worth. The tightening of Credit has made it more challenging to obtain in all segments of our economy. Funeral Service is no exception. We can help.

Our M&A business is strong and growing. We have earned the market leader position and have all the expertise you may need.

We will be front and center anxious to say hello and show you our new product enhancements and answer any questions that you may have regarding our products and services. We will be featuring services ranging from:

  • Management and Operational
  • Performance Analysis
  • Benefits of a Business Valuation
  • Mergers and Acquisitions
  • Succession Planning
  • 24/7 Web-based Accounting
  • Web based Customer Surveys and Sales Analysis
  • Management Services

Be sure to stop by our booth and say hello to the Johnson Consulting team. We look forward to seeing you…

We realize the cost of travel these days may influence the attendance at the convention this year. We want to assure you that if you will not be attending, we can very easily bring our convention messages directly to you. How? Just give us a call or reply to this newsletter and request any information you need and we will respond promptly.

If you plan to attend, have a safe trip to Orlando.

Exceeding Your Expectations:

“Family Appointment”

If this family had called our P.M. receptionist this time last year, no way would we have said all the right things to help this family at a very difficult time. The JCG / Van Beck training has showed an immediate impact on the way we respond to our families (RACM) and created that important and lasting first impression. Thanks again for all you guys do for us.

– Anthony Guerra, Guerra Gutierrez Mortuaries, Los Angeles, CA

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

“JCG Web-based Accounting System”

JCG gives us real-time, accurate accounting specific to the funeral industry. No accountant compares to the innovative reporting JCG can do. Their experienced staff has helped us manage our 7 locations, providing us with up-to-date information we need to make our daily business decisions. Whether its financials, surveys, contract analysis or simply getting advice on issues we face, JCG is always there – exceeding our expectations, so we can manage our funeral homes.

– Brittni Dye, Legacy Funeral Homes, Anchorage, AK

Until Next Time:

Now is the time to think about what you want to achieve for 2009 and let us know if we can help you achieve your goals.

We hope you enjoy the recordings and articles and would appreciate your feedback. If you could do us a small favor – let us know what you would like us to cover in future issues.


Jake and Tom Johnson

Jake & Tom Johnson