Creedy Commentary

What Would You Pay?

Big Question!! How much should the value of a funeral home be discounted if the facility is being sold for other ...
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Difficult Conversations For Those Who Hate Conflict

Funeral directors are notorious for being conflict avoidant. Yet they have a job where they must engage in difficult conversations ...
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Merchandising Urn Arks

I think I saw my first Urn Ark around 20 years ago. I was immediately taken and still consider it ...
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How To Be Smart About Buying Caskets

It has now become routine for me to analyze what they are paying in "True" wholesale prices for caskets. In ...
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Funeral Service and Post Traumatic Stress

After the Newton Massacre I brought up the issue of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder in a blog entitled: PTSD: The Slow ...
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Conventional Incentives Don’t Work As Well As They Used To

The conventional incentive rewards the individual...usually with something monetary. Like so many things, incentives have evolved and become more complicated than ...
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Lincoln’s Thanksgiving Proclamation

In light of our recent presidential election this is especially fitting. The invective, threats and vitriol directed at our President ...
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Buy Sell: The Texas Shoot Out Provision

I love the story of two little boys fighting over the last piece of cake. Mom comes into the kitchen ...
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Rice Paddy to Rice Paddy in 3 Generations

Sociologists have discovered there is a saying in every culture that is best illustrated by the title to this article ...
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What Proof Do You Require?

We live in a litigious society. More and more practitioners are ending up in lawsuits.  Often it isn't really their ...
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Too Busy To Succeed

Most of us know that success requires that we spend, at least, some time working "on" our business instead of ...
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A Comment That Changed My Life

Many years ago I fell prey to a "woe-is-me" episode. A friend made an offhand comment that changed my life direction ...
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How to Make Your Hair Grow Faster

Hair care is an overall term for parts of hygiene and cosmetology involving the hair on the human head. Hair ...
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5 Ways to Make Hair Look Gorgeous

Hair care is an overall term for parts of hygiene and cosmetology involving the hair on the human head. Hair ...
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14 Easy Ways to Get Standout Eyes

Hair care is an overall term for parts of hygiene and cosmetology involving the hair on the human head. Hair ...
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An Owner’s Guide to Naturally Wavy Hair

Hair care is an overall term for parts of hygiene and cosmetology involving the hair on the human head. Hair ...
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5 Ways Funeral Directors Sabotage Progress

The prevailing culture in funeral service is Passive Aggressive. I have talked about the "ten call man" before and how ...
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Knowing Too Much Causes You To Underserve Families

Some years ago a study was conducted. A group of people were divided into "tappers" and "listeners". The tappers were ...
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What To Do When You Don’t Know What To Do

Every once in a while you run across something that is so sound that you can't improve on it. This ...
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Merchandising Rental Caskets

I like the approach demonstrated in the attached picture. My friend, David Storke, shows this wicker green burial casket on ...
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Part 3: The Owner Is Ready

Maybe you are anxious to exit your business. Or perhaps you dread the day you will no longer be involved ...
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Part 2: The Business Is Ready

I have lived in my house for 30+ years and we are getting ready to sell and move closer to ...
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Universal Requirements For Successful Family Transition

There are 3 Universal requirements for a successful family business transfer: A competent successor The Business is ready The owner ...
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Merry Christmas

The message at the end of this video is the message I pray all my friends and family will embrace. Merry ...
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Should Women Wear Pant Suits?

I seem to have a penchant for joining fights that aren't mine. Not long ago I was presenting a seminar ...
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Thumbnail: What’s It Worth?

A lot of my readers are curious about what their business is worth but aren't yet ready for a full ...
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Is Funeral Service Ready For Innovation?

Uhhh...NO! I got an email from Harvard Business Review today. It invited me to take an assessment on innovation readiness ...
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Employee Pushback – A Strategy

A client and friend of mine recently spent days revising the staff schedule to be more efficient and effective. He ...
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The Lesson of the $300 Shoes

Last week's blog sparked a lively conversation on and offline about clothing. From those conversations I think it might help ...
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A Fat Man Dresses For Work

"My name is Alan and I am overweight!" Last week I was shocked when someone said to me, "Alan, you ...
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This Is What I Would Tell My Staff

What happened to social etiquette? You spend a couple of million dollars on a new building and you let the ...
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Casket Merchandising and The Hawthorne Effect

The Hawthorne effect occurs when individuals modify or improve an aspect of their behavior in response to their awareness of being observed ...
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Confronting Passive Aggressive Behavior at Work.

Most people in the funeral profession are almost pathologically averse to confrontation. As a result, the predominant internal culture in ...
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Creedy & McQueen Earn Exit Planning Certification

You're here...NOW WHAT! There are more ways to transition a business than just selling to a consolidator. You can transition ...
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Serve more families, work less and be more profitable

Staff shortages among licensed professions have been successfully addressed by changing the model in the medical and legal professions. The ...
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Check Their Math! How The Herd Instinct Works In Funeral Service

WARNING! This is not about caskets! A couple of decades ago I was visiting with 3 funeral home owner friends ...
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Lest You Misunderstand

Last week's post was about casket discounting. I just want to make myself clear. I still meet people who believe ...
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The Curse of the 25% Casket Wholesale Discount

So, it's not my hunt...not even my dog; but I just hate being played. A few weeks ago I was ...
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You Don’t Need Another Licensee

Lessons From Radar O'Reilly Some years ago there was a nationwide nursing shortage. Then some very wise doctor's and hospitals ...
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Families Aren’t Your Typical Consumer

Many consider the advent of the Internet to have ushered in the "Age Of The Consumer." The balance of power ...
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Ragman: An Allegory of Death and Resurrection

As we prepare to celebrate Easter author Walter Wangerin, Jr. offers us a poignant allegory of Christ's glorious work for ...
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A New Approach To Price Shoppers

I subscribe to the Harvard Business Review Blog and an interesting article came through today that I wonder might have ...
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Lessons From Bar Fighting

While I was in college I spent a summer as a Merchant Seaman on a Great Lakes iron ore carrier ...
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Is Coca-Cola Still “The Real Thing”

Why Adaptation May Not Be the Right Strategy  “You Can’t Manage Change…You Can Only Get Ahead Of It.” Peter Drucker ...
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How To Overcome Negative Stereotypes

"The best way to break a negative stereotype is to shock the stereotype" The Funeral Profession plays to the negative ...
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Why We Fail: How Blame Game Defeats Us

Why is it so important in the funeral service culture to find blame? Blame is always a counterproductive force that ...
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4 Ways To Compete Against Low Price Competitors

There are two fundamental assumptions you must make in order to compete effectively against low price competitors: Some people buy ...
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Why You Should Be A jerk More Often

Happened across this excellent advice the other day. Some things really are worth sharing. "Now, when I spell jerk with ...
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The Funeral Director Who Invented Social Media

I am glad I don't have to compete with Frank Dawson. His use of social media for the past 50 ...
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7 Steps To Reinvent Yourself

Gonna keep this positive. So just a word for background. Any casual observer would see that the declining results funeral ...
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“We’re Just Going to Have a Party (Later On)”

How many families have walked through your doors in recent years requesting not a funeral, but a “celebration” or a ...
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We All Know The Questions…It’s Time For Some Answers

Sometimes the course of our lives depends on what we do...or what we don't do. Will my kids be able ...
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I Am Tired of Talking About Change…Aren’t You?

We need to quit talking about change and figure out HOW we need to change if we are going to ...
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How Funeral Directors Confuse Being Nice With Being Kind

When it comes to customers funeral directors are often the nicest people. But being nice and being kind are two ...
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The Fallacy of Casket Discounts

Ever since it was revealed that SCI enjoyed a big discount the discussion around the convention lunch table has been ...
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Hey You…Yes You!

I am out of my comfort zone.  It's ok.  But it's like learning to write your name with your left ...
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Reinvention: Islands of Excellence In A Sea of Mediocrity

"one cannot manage change.  One can only be ahead of it."  Peter Drucker The Cornerstone Assumption of the funeral side ...
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Is A Scarcity Mentality Keeping You From Being A Good Leader?

A Scarcity Mentality is the zero-sum paradigm of life. People with a Scarcity Mentality have a very difficult time sharing ...
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Are You Really A Team…Or Just A Workgroup

Most people speak of those they work with as a team. But, in my experience, people rarely understand what a ...
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Boomer Owners: 6 Signs That It’s Time To Talk

The saying goes, "It's lonely at the top." Who do you talk to when you're the boss? Edgar Schein, Professor ...
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PTSD: Who Helps The Caregiver?

Many Funeral Directors consider themselves caregivers. This article causes me to see a two way street. As you read it ...
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Best Veterans Ad Ever

I found this ad on youtube. Produced by Boeing it is, in my mind, the best tribute to veterans I ...
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It’s All In The Attitude

My friend, Howard Beckham, responded to last week's video on customer service at Starbucks with the following comment. I feel ...
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Customer Service: What Does It Look Like

Here is a great video that you should watch with your staff and talk about. QUESTION: How do you mentally ...
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Do You Hate Confrontation?

Most of us do, especially those in the helping professions. Yet, we all know that our jobs require that we ...
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The Unspoken Affliction: FD’s and PTSD

A while ago I wrote on the subject of funeral directors and Post Traumatic Stress Disorder in the belief that ...
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Wanna Know What Your Brand Stands For? Write Its Obituary.

Nothing brings greater clarity than an impending death. You have spent a career writing obituaries for others. Now it turns ...
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Reinventing The Obituary

People are wondering what impact Baby Boomers will have on DeathCare. I believe one trend you as a practitioner can ...
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Pennsylvania Deprives Consumers of 21st Century Services

The Regressive Elements in Pennsylvania have apparently won a victory...or have they? Last week's Circuit Court Reversal regarding the Pennsylvania Funeral ...
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10 Barriers to Succession Planning Part 3 of 3

This week we finish our discussion of barriers to succession with: 4. Serving more than one master. Change is hard ...
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10 Barriers to Succession Planning Part 2 of 3

Last week we began a discussion of the ten things that are the most frequent barriers to real succession planning ...
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10 Barriers To Succession Planning In the Funeral Business — Part 1 of 3

Speaker and family business expert John Davis made this comment as he addressed the St. Thomas Center For Family Enterprise: ...
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Strategies For Reducing Risk of Harrassment

Bill McQueen comments on something we all need to know more about. Part 2 of  2 Last week I mentioned ...
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What Is Workplace Harrassment??

Bill McQueen gives us some critically important pointers. Part 1 of 2 Over my career I have led three companies ...
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What do you think the pre-need business will look like in 10 years?

In response to last week's Commentary my friend Graham Cook shared the following comments. Fair warning! I am often asked ...
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Signs Your Preneed Program is Underperforming

With almost 30 year's experience I think I can safely say I know something about Preneed selling and marketing.  Sadly, ...
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MERRY CHRISTMAS

As we celebrate the birth of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ I hope this video brings you a little ...
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Empathy / Sympathy A Very Important Difference

Unlike most other professions funeral practitioners must operate within an often sensitive emotional environment. Let's call it emotionally charged. We ...
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How To Stop Customers From Fixating On Price

Equalize Price Points to Crystallize Personal Relevance. This is the first recession to show a measurable impact on DeathCare.  Most ...
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Are You A Change Champion?

There are, in fact, many firms today that remain in denial that our profession has changed dramatically and will continue ...
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The Excellence Trap: How We Confuse Efficiency With Effectiveness

Are you a shop foreman or a leader? In recent years a new focus has crept in to the profession ...
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Sharks and People

One man sat at a stop light. The woman in front of him was going through papers on the seat ...
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Caregiver or Martyr? Beware the Rescuer Trap

Are you addicted to helping others or are your customer relationships creating unhealthy responses? Perhaps you’ve fallen victim to the ...
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Making Myself Unnecessary

I am a little annoyed with myself. As I address this topic of Leadership i find that I have fallen ...
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PP*2 ≠ FF

Protecting the Past and Perfecting the Present Does Not Equal Finding a Future. Rearranging the deck chairs on the Titanic ...
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Now For Something Completely New

As I travel about the country I encounter a lot of good ideas and some bad. It seems to me ...
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What DeathCare Can Learn From The Way Women Dress…An Epiphany

Insights come from the strangest places. This time from why women dress the way they do. My wife has bad ...
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FUNERAL SERVICE : YOUR FLY IS UNZIPPED

OR WHY FUNERAL DIRECTORS ARE NEUROTIC A pastor friend once told me: "The test of love is whether or not ...
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Our Industry’s Self Talk: The Bad and the Great.

Alternative Title: It's Time To Get Over Yourself! Not long ago I was part of a group studying the challenges ...
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On Motivation – Money Is Not The Answer

Did you know that money is not a motivator. It is only a hygiene factor. Paying too little creates dissatisfaction...paying ...
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Roadmap To A Great Legacy

I started out too many weeks ago addressing the virtues of a senior leader making themselves unnecessary and I ran ...
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You May Not Believe What You See

Take a look at the finalists in the first phase of the Design For Death Contest. You may have a ...
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I Wish I Had Said That:

Sometimes you read stuff and it fits so perfectly all you are left with is: "I wish I had said ...
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On Becoming Unnecessary

Funeral Service is simultaneously over managed and under led. The key to overcoming the "Being Necessary" complex is to recognize ...
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Are You Too Necessary?

Saturday morning, January 7, 2012 my phone rings at home. "Al, this is Bob. Guess where I am?." Bob Neiman ...
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4 Early Signs You May Be Losing Control of Your Business

Recently I read something that triggered an insight.  In my Funeral Home Consulting practice it is clear that businesses don't ...
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Alan Creedy and The Arrangers Academy Announce Joint Initiative Aimed at Revitalizing Funeral Service

Alan Creedy and The Arrangers Academy announced today that they have launched The 2020 Project, a joint initiative focused on ...
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He Is Risen

Here is a short video for Good Friday to remind us that Jesus lives. Watch it, you might be surprised ...
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Is this REALLY a Hill Worth Dying on?

I think I can make a very strong case that funeral service as a profession makes a vital social contribution ...
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“If You Find You Are Riding A Dead Horse The Best Strategy is…

to dismount." Archimedes once said, "Give me a lever long enough and I will move the world" For the last ...
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PTSD: The Slow Leak in Funeral Service’ Tire

As we enter our 3rd month following the Newtown disaster our nation has long since settled back into its routine ...
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Why The Answer Is Not Just Increasing Volume

I am an accountant. As I have watched the financial metrics of funeral service continue in their long slow decline ...
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Esse Quam Videri

I have to admit I tense up whenever someone begins using the Ritz Carlton as an example Funeral Service should ...
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The Road To Reclaiming Our Future

There is a way to a better future for Funeral Service. In fact, for those who are willing to closely ...
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ALPHA DOGS AND THE ROAD TO NOWHERE

WHY WE CAN'T AFFORD TO FOLLOW YOUR LEAD ANYMORE Alpha Dogs are frequently those "Type A" personalities that exercise undue ...
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EXPERT OPINION: 5 Tips for Positioning Your Funeral Home for Success in the New Year

Did your funeral home achieve all of its goals for 2012? Does the increasing number of families selecting cremation with ...
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Doing Nothing Costs Too Much

On my office wall I have framed photos of three men.  If I asked you what they have in common ...
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WIND IS CHANGING-UPDATE

If you were not able to access the video on this week's post, "THE WIND IS CHANGING" it is now ...
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The Wind Is Changing – The Conversation Project

For months now I have been telling DeathCare that the wind is changing in our favor.  The public attitude toward ...
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PREDICTIONS FOR 2013

It is customary, I think, to make year end predictions. Here are mine broken down into two categories: Bad and ...
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Burials down 4%…Cremations up 2.5%…Calculate Your Funeral Cliff

With all the hype about our nation's pending FISCAL CLIFF, I was recently asked when we could expect funeral service ...
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HAMMERS, NAILS, PEWS AND HEARSES

My discussion of reinvention / transformation has sparked more comment (online and offline) than most any other topic. Clearly it ...
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Terrorism and Funeral Service: The Secret Sauce

What is the link between Terrorism and Funeral Service? Well, you have to read a very short story and watch ...
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REINVENTION: THE ARRANGEMENTS CONFERENCE–ENTERING THE “HOLY OF HOLIES”

In Old Testament Days the Hebrew Temple contained the "Holy of Holies" behind the "Veil of The Temple".  The Ark ...
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REINVENTION: PROFIT CLINICS

There is a level of neglect in our profession that will (and is) causing too many to approach the end ...
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Reinvention: A 3 Pronged Plan

I once heard a sermon that now seems appropriate to this last in my series on reinvention. We all know ...
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REINVENTION: The “Valley Of Death”–Your Cycle Of Grief

Last week I referred to Andrew Grove's comments relative to the reinvention of Intel in which he referred to the ...
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What You Should Know About Reinventing Yourself Before You Start

Reinvention will soon become the latest catchword in the DeathCare professions.  I agree! Reinvention has been a long time coming ...
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New Research: Why 99% of Funeral Facilities Reinforce Negative Stereotype

The Funeral Service Foundation has just released the results of its "Bleeding Edge" research project with world renowned Olson-Zaltman Associates ...
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The Non Question: Why Are Funerals So Expensive?

This question and its brother: "How much does a funeral cost?"  Are non questions.  When we attempt to answer them ...
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Video: If You Want A High Performing Organization Are You Measuring The Right Things?

My hero, Peter Drucker, believed: "For the organization to perform to a high standard, its members must believe that what ...
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A Model For Change Within Your Organization

Here is an interesting perspective on implementing change within your own organization. Most funeral homes and cemeteries are at level ...
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The Simpler The Strategy The More Likely The Success

Why do DeathCare Practitioners get these "Deer In The Headlight" looks when you use the word "Strategy" in their presence? I ...
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Lessons On Leadership: Peak Performance From Adequate People

Peter Drucker was the first to draw a parallel between Leadership and Orchestra Conductors when he observed: "A great orchestra ...
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You Must Be Present To Win

In the near future the difference between winning and losing in DeathCare will be a result of one factor: LEADERSHIP ...
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Licensing Laws: Barrier To Survival

I feel like maybe I have backed myself into a corner. Price-Led-Costing A simple concept; but for an industry steeped ...
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Building A Competitive Fortress Through Your Pricing Strategy

Last week I addressed our broken pricing model referred to as Cost-Led-Pricing.  Apropos of everything this article came to my attention ...
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This Blog Is Interrupted For Something Much More Important

I know you are busy but YOU HAVE TO READ THIS!  If you want to know what our future is ...
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A Broken Business Model: Wringing More Money Out of Your Best Customers Is Not Sustainable

This image illustrates so well the folly of our more than century old pricing model.   All was good until ...
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A Strange Bathroom Encounter–A Rite of Passage

It was between sessions at  an NFDA convention and busy in the bathroom.  An  older  gentleman approached  me and asked ...
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Commentary Subscribers Will Automatically Receive Creedy Roundup

Today will see the launch of a second newsletter in addition to the my weekly commentary.  My rationale for doing ...
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Expert opinion: What To Say When They Say “Dad Wanted Nothing”

A few years ago I was meeting with a husband and wife who operated a very successful funeral home. Like ...
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Are You Tired of Burying Your Local Treasure?

My friend, Ed Mazur of Kapinos-Mazur Funeral Home, ran a very successful PR / Public Service program in his local ...
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Expert Opinion: Size Matters: Making the Case for Growth

Why is bigger better when it comes to creating memorable experiences? Look at any successful service business, whether it’s a ...
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Kudo’s to Batesville Casket

One of my favorite bloggers is Caleb Wilde who writes "Confessions of A Funeral Director."  He recently Posted this photo ...
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Why Families Seem Ruder Today and Some Tips on How To Respond

Funeral Directors are increasingly distressed about being treated rudely by families. This rudeness often causes practitioners to lose control of ...
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Expert Opinion: Some Things Are Obvious

Here is an excerpt of an interrogation of a witness in a Massachusetts trial court: Lawyer:  Doctor, before you performed ...
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Death Goes Mainstream

last week in my article "Funerals as Counter Culture" I made a bold statement: "After 50 years of steady decline ...
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Funerals As Counter Culture

Are we rapidly moving toward a "Post-Funeral"culture? I don't think so. After 50 years of steady decline in public attitudes ...
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New Book on Reinventing Your Business Features Funeral Home

I read a lot and sometimes I preorder new books.  This Winter I preordered "THE REINVENTORS, How Extraordinary Companies Pursue ...
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How to Create a 60 Second Elevator Speech

Marketing experts tell us that we should be able to express our unique selling proposition (USP) in such a compelling ...
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Liking What You Do Is Not The Issue

I was visiting with a friend last week and the conversation went, briefly, to some mutual acquaintances. We noted how ...
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Why Burning Platforms Are Necessary for Change

Most DeathCare Practitioners are aware of their need to change to accomodate a changing consumer.  What many lack, unfortunately, is ...
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Differentiating Your Funeral Home: Reinvent The Obituary

No One Dies So Poor He Doesn't Leave Something Behind. Blaise Pascal Ya wanna know how to make a difference ...
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Expert Opinion: The Need to Be Nimble

Earlier this year Rick Baldwin used a comment by famed hockey player, Wayne Gretzky, in his post: "How To Be ...
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The Real Victims of Our Cowardice

In the past few weeks I have used strong negative language: Cowardice...Fight... Neglect   Please understand: this is not an ...
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Expert Opinion: Game Changers

Game-changers are those events that intervene in our lives, on athletic fields, and in our businesses that forever change everything ...
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The Secret Sauce: How We Might Resurrect DeathCare

Is it possible that in some markets people no longer care? In this series on Funeral Apologetics I have pointed ...
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Don’t Confuse Me With Your Facts

Apologists must be aware of 4 generally accepted fallacies: Consumers think in a well-reasoned rational way In fact, emotions are ...
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Disenthrall Yourself of Your Dogma

"The Dogmas of the quiet past are inadequate to the stormy present.  The occasion is piled high with difficulty and ...
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Funeral Apologetics 101A: Eight Principles of Successful Optimism

How interesting! As I step out to encourage this profession to not give in but take a stand and fight ...
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Funeral Apologetics 101: Stop Clinging To Your Despair

[Apologetics (from Greek ἀπολογία, "speaking in defense") is the discipline of defending a position (often religious) through the systematic use of ...
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The Problem is Not Cremation…

...The problem is cowardice!! There, it's been said. Plain and simple:  We have been unwilling to stand up for what ...
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Book Review: When Growth Stalls

When Growth Stalls, How it happens, why you’re stuck and what to do about it. By Steve McKee, Jossey-Bass 2009 “when ...
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EXPERT OPINION: How Are Funeral Directors Like Bankers?

I serve on the Board of Directors of a community bank based in Orlando, Florida. In that capacity I receive ...
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EXPERT OPINION: HOW TO CALCULATE YOUR SHARE-OF-WALLET

A few years ago we came to the realization that there was a real necessity to review our system.  Not ...
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Social Media: Why Discussion Groups Annoy Me

I recently joined several industry discussion groups. I had heard that Selected Independent had a great one and, since I ...
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Why Your Business Will Be Worth As Much As 8.8% less in 2013

Remember that bill congress needed to pass to see what was in it?  Well, surprise!!  The Medicare Tax has been ...
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EXPERT OPINION: How to Be Exceptional in the “New Normal”

When asked what it was that made him so exceptional a hockey player, Wayne Gretzky is said to have responded, ...
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Are Funeral Directors “wired” to Lose in The “New Normal” Part 3

Last week in part 2 of this series we learned that "Challengers" don't educate,  they teach.  They are not afraid ...
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Are Funeral Directors “Wired” to Lose in The “New Normal” Part 2

Last week, in Part 1 of this series, we explored the idea that funeral Directors, as consummate relationship builders, may ...
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Are Funeral Directors “Wired” To Lose In the “New Normal”? Part 1

DeathCare has been losing ground relative to consumers for almost 30 years.  Now comes research that may explain why and ...
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Happy New Year! Here Are a Few of This Year’s Favorite Posts

Here are the year's top favorites: a tv ad that will move market share To Guarantee or Not Guarantee Preneed Trust ...
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Merry Christmas

Having trouble with your Christmas Spirit? Watch this video ...
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False Alarm: Amazon.com Stops Selling Preneed Cremation

Don't know what happened but it seems Amazon pulled the promotion before it really got started. My thanks to Tom ...
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Amazon.com Starts Selling Preneed Cremation

Well it had to happen. You have a new competitor.  Merry Christmas!! As of Monday December 12 Amazon is offering ...
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Free Sites That Let You Spy on Your Competitors Website

Google adplanner is a site analyzing any site for those thinking about buying advertising.  I doubt you will find either ...
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Apparently some people aren’t too proud to use humor…hats off to Schmidt and Bartelt

A week ago I published a post that suggested humor would work in funeral service but expressed doubt anyone would ...
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A TV ad that will move Market Share…but are you too proud?

I do my best to keep these posts short.  I know your time is important.  But, on your behalf, I ...
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This Is Your Wake Up Call: Litigators Focus on DeathCare

The article linked below appeared in the August 2010 issue of "Plaintiff Magazine"and was brought to my attention by my ...
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Funeral Service: The Race To The Bottom… is that a “Blue Ocean” I see?

Race To The Bottom is more than just a phrase, it is a political theory and Funeral Service seems to ...
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IRS Cracks Down On Independent Contractor Status Abuse

In this article in the Wall Street Journal we learn that the IRS is getting serious about the misuse of ...
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Things Not To Do Or Say When You Fire Someone

There is  a difference between a disciplinary interview and a termination meeting.   Disciplinary meetings are about second chances and ...
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DIY Funerals: Another Innovation That Goes Backwards To Go Forward

One of my techie friends told me recently that the term "Home Funerals" is the second most searched term relating ...
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How Insurance Companies Make Money: Wisdom From Warren Buffett

When I first began negotiating with insurance companies some 25 years ago I made the same mistake now common in ...
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Preneed 402b: How to Compare Apples With Apples: Insurance Products

Having addressed, last week, assumptive fallacies let's look at the actual mechanics of comparing products. Here is an apples to ...
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Preneed 402a: How to Compare Apples With Apples: Insurance Products

To keep this as brief as possible I am breaking it into two segments.  One this week and another next.  I am ...
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Preneed Math 301: Commissions

The theory of commissions is that it motivates producers to produce more.  This is not necessarily true.  What is true ...
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Preneed Math 201: How Many Counselors Do You Really Need?

Last week I shared with you that the general rule of thumb is one counselor per 200 calls.  I also ...
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Preneed Math 101: How To Tell If Your Counselor Is Working

There is a lot of misunderstanding and just plain myth about how much preneed a preneed counselor would sell if ...
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Greatest Hits: How To Get Customers to Stop Fixating On Price

Well, it's summer time and I am on vacation.  So, I thought I would resurrect some of my most popular ...
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Is Wall Street Interested in DeathCare Again?

One of the ways I spot trends is to look for frequency of mentions in publications.  This last week The ...
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How to avoid the 7 Deadly Mistakes Websites Miss

These are good tips. I know many of my readers have autoplay music or "walk-ons" so you need to know ...
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Preneed 401: Trust Vs. Insurance

This may seem like a "Yawner" topic but it's important and I am going to make it short. Let's pretend ...
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What’s It Like To Watch Someone You Love Die?

It has been the vision of many DeathCare firms to become the death resource for their community.  All too often ...
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How To Access Local Caregiver Influencers

We know a few things: There are 48,000,000 people who are active adult caregivers in the U.S. Many Boomers are ...
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Pixie Dust Strategy: Why It Never Works

Wow! I really have it on for social networking...or maybe some experts are starting to agree with me.  Either way ...
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Thought Leader Interview: “When Growth Stalls” By Steve McKee

Steve McKee knows from experience how to revitalize a stalled business.  As a marketing strategist he has taken his personal ...
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Interview with Steve McKee

Video series by Steve McKee, author of When Growth Stalls. Click On The Buttons Below To Watch Each of The ...
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10 Reasons I Am Optimistic About DeathCare

As you may have gleaned from other writings I believe DeathCare is at The Threshold of The Single Greatest Opportunity ...
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Confessions Of An Anxiety Addict

It began when I read this on the wall of a doctor’s office: “When you expect things to happen, Strangely ...
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Bless The Ku Klux Klan

I couldn't bring myself to say God Bless but, still, in a piece of irony that deserves comment The Klan ...
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Bad Math Leads To Poor Decisions

I am sure that those of you who practice the art of embalming are annoyed when you see other practitioners ...
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Why I Would Display a Trappist Casket

I am now at an age where friends are calling me to help with their prearrangements.  Yesterday was my 4th ...
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Are You A Leader Or A Manager?

A few years ago I attended a breakfast honoring Alabama University football coach Nick Saban.  In his remarks he shared ...
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Happiness is Positive Cash Flow- A Quick and Easy Way to Model Cash Flow

What business owner wouldn't agree that Cash is King.  Here is a quick and easy way to find your break ...
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Why Funeral Directors Need Two Eyes

In his controversial series challenging the belief that Funeral Service is in the "Grief Business" Dale Clock provocatively pushes us ...
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Facebook Revenge: Social Media Rules of Engagement

I have found that "unfriending" people (in particular vendors using this mechanism to solicit) is an emotionally rewarding pastime...and I ...
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Marketing To Boomers: Interview With David Weigelt

David Weigelt, CoAuthor of DotBoom is an expert in marketing to Baby Boomers Via the internet.  He has a "Blue ...
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How 1% = 20% Profit Increase

I recently read about a research project conducted by McKinsey & Company, a world renowned consulting company.  They found that ...
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Sometimes A Sharp Stick In The Eye Can Be A Good Thing

Recently my friend, Dale Clock, wrote an article entitled "Should Funeral Homes Be In The Grief Business?" His position is ...
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1st Installment of Industry Commentary Now Available

Download Free For Subscribers This year's Biannual Commentary has been broken down into 3 installments. Get the first one today ...
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Six Simple but Important Tips on Engaging Employees

We all know that engaged employees are more productive, supportive and effective. Yet how do we engage them. There is ...
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Kay Yow’s Self Eulogy

Kay Yow was the founding coach of North Carolina State's Women's Basketball program. She succumbed to a multiyear battle with ...
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Randy Pausch addresses the Carnegie Mellon Class of 2008

Randy Pausch was a professor at Carnegie Mellon University. On learning that he was dying of cancer he began a ...
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This I Understand: The Good Side of Social Media

Several weeks ago I received an email from a friend sharing why he had chosen to be so active in ...
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You Annoy Me: The Dark Side of Social Media

I  "unfriended" my second person today. They got under my skin. And I am thinking about my third "unfriend" with growing ...
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We Need To Stop Hiding

Two weeks ago in my article, "A Horrifying Revelation About Price", I adressed two issues:  Opportunity Cost and our inadequacy ...
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If Lee Iacocca Owned a Funeral Home

There is an apocryphal story in accountant circles about Lee Iacocca's first day as CEO of Chrysler.  As the story ...
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A Horrifying Revelation About Price

I have long believed that most price shoppers in DeathCare begin with the price question solely because they don't know ...
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FaceBook Rolls Out New Brand Page Design

I have to admit I don't know why I find myself commenting on Social Media as much as I do.  ...
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What Do Social Media Users and Cavemen Have In Common?

Olson / Zaltman is an internationally recognized market research firm spawned out of Harvard and Penn State Universities.  They developed ...
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5 Emotional Stages of Selling Your Business

Selling a business is a highly practical exercise wrapped in a thick emotional blanket.  Much like the grief cycle we ...
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Managers Vs. Leaders: Which Are You?

As a student of leadership and as a "Benchmark" Assessor for the Center for Creative Leadership, I am well aware of the ...
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Great Advice on Turning Your Business Around

I started my career in business turnarounds in the 1970's when I worked for  a company whose business it was ...
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The Emperor Has No Clothes

What employee turnover reveals about your leadership. Employee turnover can reveal a lot of things.  Surely turnover is normal but ...
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Social Media Run Amok: Invasion of Privacy

Wow!!  Big Brother is watching. I really don't pay much attention to the issue of privacy.  But I learned something ...
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What Are Your Views on Funeral Home Brokers? Is There a Possible Conflict of Interest?

A few weeks ago, in response to a series of commentaries on business valuation, a reader asked this very good ...
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Christ and Liberty: An Old Message for Modern Times

In 1949 noted journalist Vermont Royster wrote an unusual editorial about St. Paul and his mission.  In an extraordinary editorial ...
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If Christ Had Not Come

"A number of years ago a remarkable Christian Christmas card was published by the title 'If Christ had not come'.  ...
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Do Boomers Find Your Website Annoying?

Funeral Home Websites have come a long way in the last 5 years.  Yet, most sites still remain fairly primitive ...
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Are You Too Proud to Succeed?

A problem, certainly not unique to DeathCare but just as certainly profoundly prevalent, is an artificial sense of professionalism.  Born ...
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Is Your Company Coherent?

Booz & Company, one of the foremost consulting leaders in innovation, has discovered a link between performance and strategy called ...
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Social Media Is Kinda Like Wearing Your Underpants on the Outside of Your Pants

First, it is important to say that ignoring the current social media trend is akin to ignoring the increasingly vital ...
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Social Media: How To Get The Phone To Ring

I consider Frank Dawson of Dawson Funeral Homes in E. Liverpool, Oh. to be the "Grand Master" of social media ...
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Want More Calls? Get Up Off Your…

Two key social media levers that have nothing to do with technology With all the recent buzz about social media, ...
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Funeral Home Valuation Part 4: The Final Chapter

We have now learned about 3 key variables in arriving at a value for your funeral home: What a multiple ...
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Here Is a Video that Deserves To Be Viral

Get your crying towel out.  This is a great video and I hope you will help make it viral.  click below ...
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Brad Speaks: Courage: How to Merchandise Your Service Charge

Many years ago I observed that funeral directors were spending a lot of energy, time, and resources (like money) to ...
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Matt Shannon: New Ways to Use Webcasting

If you are like a growing number of funeral homes you offer webcasting. We webcast our mother's funeral. This was ...
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Randy Bunker: Engaging Customers in A Powerful Way

A satisfied customer is no guarantee of a repeat customer. So say a growing number of marketing strategists including some ...
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Send Out Cards: Creating Customer Loyalty in a Powerful Old Way

My friend Frank Dawson in E. Liverpool, OH has created a veritable competitive fortress by leveraging a simple principle: It ...
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Alan Creedy: Sensory Rich Mission Statements Work

It is accepted wisdom that companies should have a mission statement.  In most cases this exercise produces a plain vanilla ...
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Basil Forsberg: Revenue that Replaces the Casket Sale

Cremation has been growing at the rate of 1% a year for more than 30 years. Many areas are now ...
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Why People Call…a web video

What is needed is a sensory rich way to communicate why people should call us rather than the other guy ...
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Laura Marchelos: A Bold Testimonial Ad

Many funeral directors know that when they really help someone that person often becomes a friend and advocate. Yet, we ...
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Kevin Bean: How To Get Customers to Stop Fixating on Price

In a recent Harvard Business Review article of the same title as this page the authors discussed research findings on ...
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Chris Butler: It’s All In The Details

It used to be said that "Funeral Service is in the details." One of the characteristics of truly great practitioners ...
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JIm Price: A Simple Way to Get Your Community Involved With You

Today's awareness of our active military and veterans is higher than it has ever been. We are all looking for ...
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Jim Price: Helping a Community Mourn

We all look for special ways to interact with our community. We know that when a national or international figure ...
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Chris Butler: Being In The Moment

I used to have a senior manager who worked for me that told me that when he served a family ...
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John Wujek: Front & Center: Affirming The Reason We Have Funerals

I have never been able to find anyone who can explain to me why our profession believes they should always ...
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Kevin Bean: Public Viewings Without A Casket

If you watch "Antiques Roadshow" with any regularity or you are like me and are old enough to have met ...
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Alan Creedy: A Better “About Us” Page for $500

When you look at websites they all contain some form of "about us" page that is nothing more than BORING! ...
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Caring.com: Inexpensive Local Internet Marketing

There are 65,000,000 adult caregivers of whom 45,000,000 are caring for the elderly. These folks are part of the influence ...
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Tyler Tetrick: A Better Way to Approach Preneed Guarantees

Preneed Guarantees are a hot topic these days. Funeral Homes feel caught betwixt and between...desparately wanting to get out of ...
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Brad Speaks: First Viewing: an opportunity for deeper bonding

Brad Speaks of Speaks Chapels in Independence, MO. creates intimate bonds with families Personalization is a big issue today in ...
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Funeral Home Valuation Part 3: How To Present Your Operating Results

In order to properly determine EBITDA you first have to present your financial statements correctly. If you are not using ...
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Interrupting This Blog For an Urgent Message

Once in a while something comes along that deserves to be viral.  Something that speaks to the common good and ...
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Funeral Home Valuation Part 2: Why EBITDA?

Funeral home valuation, Funeral home appraisal, Cemetery Valuation, Cemetery Appraisal EBITDA became popular in the 70s and 80s when buyers were ...
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Funeral Home Valuation: Part 1

Funeral home appraisal, funeral home valuation, cemetery appraisal, cemetery valuation Multiples and how they are chosen For the past 20 ...
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This Could Save A Life

Here is a public service announcement that you can really use. One of the things that occasionally happens at funerals, ...
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The Tyranny of the Ten Call Man

A Management lesson from the bible One of the most common and pervasive staffing problems in funeral service is the ...
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A Different Way To Think About Packaging

for the past 4 weeks I have been attempting to spark a conversation about Pricing Strategy against the backdrop of ...
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How To Stop Customers From Fixating on Price Part 4

Partition Prices to Highlight Overlooked Benefits  This is the 4th and last in a series on pricing strategy based on ...
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How To Stop Customers From Fixating on Price Part 3

Part 3 Willfully Overpricing to Stimulate Curiosity Last week we discussed the commoditized customer and the second of 4 pricing ...
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How To Stop Customers From Fixating on Price: Part 2

Part 2:  “Using Price to Clarify Your Advantage” Increasingly, funeral markets are being commoditized.  This series is adapted from an ...
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The Rewards Are Priceless

More Casket Merchandising Insight From My First Guest Writer: In 1982 my father turned day-to-day operation of our funeral home ...
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The “Retailization” of Funeral Service

How "The Hawthorne Effect" got us off focus The formal casket and vault merchandising systems so common today in funeral ...
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How Do You Handle Price Shoppers?

As I was preparing this week's article my friend, Dale Clock, posted this question and a followup on his blog Dale ...
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The Perils of Group Think

Why it is so important that you practice Critical Thinking I am concerned that we, as a profession, are making vital ...
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How I Learned To Stop Pushing Strings Uphill

Breaking The Cycle DeathCare is in its 13th year of declining profitability.  Last year is reported as our worst year ...
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How “Best Purpose” Trumps “Best Practice”

How a part time hostess taught me the most valuable lesson. It was late 1989.  Rachel was then in her ...
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Why Are We Here?

An Easy, Practical Way to Engage Staff In an aprocryphal story a "burned out" Russian Priest takes a sabbatical in ...
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The Warning Signs of Becoming Irrelevant

Wise words from Coach Nick Saban, Football Coach, University of Alabama Are you in danger of becoming irrelevant?  It's easy, ...
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A Great Example of Handling the Press

My friend, Mike Lyons, owns the Watkins Cooper and Lyons Funeral Home in Clarksville, VA.   He is a little bit ...
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Should Packages Be Discounted?

5 insights to packaging funerals Numerous funeral homes are implementing and experimenting with package pricing with excellent success.  But little is ...
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Do You Have a Chief Emotion Officer?

Here is an interesting insight into a unique attribute of some family businesses and applications to non family staff management ...
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To Guarantee or Not Guarantee

To Guarantee or Not Guarantee That is the question Pardon my poetic license with Shakespeare. It is morning and I ...
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Building a Culture

Here is an interesting article. Maybe you saw this episode on "Undercover Boss". These are the kind of people you ...
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The One Question You Need To Ask

Is it too much to ask for a simple, easy to understand customer survey that is accurate and corresponds directly ...
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