As 2022 comes to a close, it’s time to start planning out the new year. By holistically examining the position of your funeral home’s value, staff, and clientele, you can start strategically planning the vision that will carry you to success. 

Here’s where to start. 


Get a Valuation

For funeral businesses, the first step to planning out your year will be obtaining a valuation. Ideally, you’re already getting consistent valuations of your business, and if you’re not, then it’s time to start. 

The best leaders use relevant data to guide their decisions, and there’s hardly a more important metric for death care businesses than a valuation. By knowing exactly how much your business is worth, you can begin to view your operation from a buyer’s perspective. 

Even if you don’t plan to sell your funeral home in the near future, selling will ultimately be your final move as owner. By understanding how much equity you have in your business, you can more effectively plan your exit. 


How a Valuation Impacts Plans

A valuation provides you with an unbiased, quantitative look at what your funeral business is worth. After getting a valuation, you can begin to leverage this data to plan your next moves. 

For starters, you might conduct a SWOT analysis, helping you better understand where your business excels and where it falls short. From there, you can begin to make operational adjustments. 


Evaluate Your Staff

Your staff has a direct impact on the value of your business. As such, you’ll want to closely examine how each of your team members currently contributes to this value. 

In most cases, you’ll have some strong performers whose passion is evident through their day-to-day successes. As you plan for the year, think about which team members fall into this category and how you might promote them to take on greater responsibilities. By providing training for these team members, you can simultaneously help them add value to your business while increasing their engagement. 

You’ll also want to look at which team members are underperforming. For these people, you’ll want to consider how you might inspire them to work more effectively. Additionally, you might even find — as you make operational adjustments — that you need to hire new personnel entirely.

In addition to evaluating your staff, you might also give them a chance to evaluate their working environment. Undoubtedly, your team members see aspects of your funeral home that you can’t. Taking the time to inquire about their perspectives will not only make them feel valued but will also give you additional insight into how your business is working.  


Strategically Planning Goals

Once you know where your funeral home stands in terms of value, you can determine what your goals are for the next year. These could include expanding your service offerings, upgrading your facilities, or fleshing out existing sales funnels.

For example, many funeral businesses have neglected their preneed programs. If your business falls into this category, you could create a benchmark for preneed sales. Once you’ve established a target number that you wish to reach, you can then begin planning how your team can achieve this. If necessary, this might include implementing new training, hiring new personnel, or even creating an employee incentive program. 

When creating your goals, you might also conduct a gap analysis. Through this, you’ll examine your funeral home’s current performance in relation to target performance. From this examination, you can draft a series of initiatives that will help you leverage your resources, people, and technology to reach your target. 


Survey Your Families

Much like evaluating your staff, surveying your families can help you identify the strengths and weaknesses of your funeral business. By actively soliciting family feedback, you can better understand exactly how they feel about your services and begin to incorporate these opinions into your services. 

In the past, funeral businesses relied on paper surveys; however, the advent of digital solutions has made it easier and more affordable to obtain client feedback. 

The Performance Tracker X from J3Tech allows death care professionals to monitor several key aspects of the client experience. Through the Performance Tracker X, you can create customized surveys and send them to families through both email and SMS. When families respond, Performance Tracker X will compile survey results, creating customized reports that allow you to monitor trends closely. 

Performance Tracker X can even push reviews to social channels, helping you to increase brand awareness beyond your current base of families. 

The key to a successful 2023 is planning. By arming yourself with the right set of data — financial, team member, and client experience — you can create a winning strategy that will carry you into the next year.