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Try or Die (Part Two)

This post originally appeared on the eFuneral Funeral Director Blog.

Try or Die.

Those are the words I used to address (and challenge) funeral professionals in a blog post I wrote last month.  Sure, they might come across as a bit harsh.  But I meant it.  If you, as a funeral professional, don’t try new things in order to push your business forward, it’s very likely that eventually, it will fail.  Alan Creedy and Ryan Thogmartin recently discussed how funeral directors need to decide whether they’re a part of the camp that proactively wants to move forward – or whether they are OK with getting left behind.  I agree.  But just how is somebody supposed to proactively move forward?  There’s one simple thing you can do starting today.  Try…new…things.

Yes, I’m bringing this up as a business proposition – but the concept of trying new things could and should extend into your everyday life as well.  For instance, right before writing the “Try or Die” post last month, I issued a personal challenge to myself.  By the end of June, I challenged myself to go on a 10K (6.2 mile) run.  Prior to June, I never ran more than 2 miles at once.  In fact, if I’m being completely honest, I almost considered conveniently “forgetting” that I even made this challenge to myself in the first place after about a week of training.  Yet, after just 3 ½ weeks, I accomplished my goal after posting a 10K time of 72 minutes.

So, how did somebody who never ran more than 2 miles get to a place where running 10K was possible in less than 30 days?  It’s not as difficult as you’d think.

  1. I mapped out a plan for what I would do each week to help get me to my goal.  From changing my diet a bit to choosing which days I would increase my distance – I essentially built out a mini-training schedule.
  2. I altered my plan when I needed to.  For instance, the first time I ran 2.5 miles, I was running at a pace of 6 miles per hour.  I nearly died after that first run.  But then I learned that you have to slow down to go farther.  My partner, Bryan, suggested that I decrease my speed to 5 miles per hour.  It made a world of difference.  I was able to run 3-4 miles without feeling nearly as winded as the 2.5 mile run.
  3. I persevered.  On the day I finally ran 10K, I had actually planned to run only 4-5 miles.  It was actually a week before my scheduled time to run the 10K.  Yet, when I hit 5 miles – I knew I wasn’t going to stop until the end.  Yes, I felt beat up.  But I pushed through until I accomplished.

Again, the challenge to myself was a personal one.  But think of how pushing yourself to doing something you’ve never done could affect you professionally as well.  For Gail Rubin, she challenged herself to attend 30 funeral services in 30 days.  She’s written about her experiences – and is now approaching her 3rd “30 in 30” challenge.

Whether it’s something personal or something to make sure your business doesn’t get left behind, what will you try?

Mike Belsito is an Internet entrepreneur from Cleveland, Ohio with a background in product innovation, ideation, and startup business development.  Mike is the Co-Founder of eFuneral, a Cleveland-based online platform that helps connect funeral planners with the funeral homes that can best serve them through the eFuneral NetworkeFuneral Family Voice, and eFuneral Family Voice Assist products.  He also serves as an entrepreneur-in-residence for the City of Lakewood, Ohio — a 50,000+ residential community located in Northeast Ohio.

Mike Belsito

Mike Belsito is the Co-Founder of eFuneral, an online portal that helps generate new revenue for funeral homes by connecting them to undecided families in their area.eFuneral launched in February, 2012 in Northeast and Central Ohio.

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  • Tim O’Brien

    I would suggest that you replace the word “try,” with “systematically test.” If you can measure your attempts at change or innovation you have no idea what works and what doesn’t. Also, it is good to know exactly how each new “try,” ties into your overall business plan and community outreach program. Are you taking calculated steps toward something? Or, are you just throwing something at the wall and hoping that it sticks?

    • http://www.eFuneral.com/ Mike Belsito

      Tim, GREAT points. I’m a big fan of building, testing, and measuring. Actually, there’s a business methodology called “The Lean Startup” that we subscribe to which covers those three areas.

      Thanks for commenting and for sharing your thoughts.

  • Tim O’Brien

    Made a typo “if you can NOT measure your attempts at change…” – sorry, tim

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Gail-Rubin/1203602051 Gail Rubin

    Thanks for the mention of the 30 Funerals in 30 Days Challenge, Mike! I’m looking forward to what this year’s challenge reveals in terms of trends in Baby Boomer memorial services. If folks want to see the blog posts from the past two years, they are all online at The Family Plot Blog:
    http://thefamilyplot.wordpress.com/category/30-day-challenge/

    • http://www.eFuneral.com/ Mike Belsito

      You’re welcome, Gail! Can’t wait to see how your 3rd “30 in 30″ turns out…

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