Contributors Funeral Industry News Ryan Thogmartin

Why You Shouldn’t Duck and Run From Funeral Industry Startups [VIDEO]

April 10, 2012

Ryan Thogmartin is the CEO of DISRUPT Media | Follower of Christ | Husband | Father | Entrepreneur | Host of #DISRUPTu! and #FUNERALnationtv | Lover of Skittles DISRUPT Media is a social media content agency that focuses on storytelling for funeral companies. We use real stories to build creative strategies that achieve actual business goals.

Why You Shouldn’t Duck and Run From Funeral Industry Startups [VIDEO]

Last week I had the opportunity to spend the day in Cleveland, Ohio with new funeral industry startup eFuneral. The industry new comer debuted in March at the ICCFA Convention and officially launched in the Cleveland, Ohio market 2 weeks ago. eFuneral helps undecided families connect with funeral homes who offer the type of service the family is looking for.

This isn’t the first time I have worked with a new technology/online based company, remember EternalSpace, the virtual cemetery that spent $5.5 million on development, only to fold just 30 days after launching at the 2009 ICCFA convention.  Not to worry, eFuneral isfar from blowing $5 million.

My first introduction to eFuneral came at the 2011 NFDA convention, the company did not exhibit, but the co-founders attended to walk the exhibit floor and get a feel for an industry that they had only experienced from the grieving side.

Like most new funeral startups, one of the co-founders, Mike Belsito , experienced the loss of a loved one. During that time he realize a void and a need not currently being met by industry companies…the idea for eFuneral is born.

In my past experience this is usually a recipe for disaster. Most people assume that just because they want a product or service then so does everyone else. The funeral industry is not like most industries., products don’t get created and immediately take off,  funeral directors aren’t jumping to try new things, and they don’t want another urn or memorial piece to display and try to sell. Most small companies have deep caring hearts but not deep pockets, when product doesn’t immediately take off
It is hard to shell out money for exhibit space and advertising.

Many funeral directors, I believe, hide or duck and run from new startups for this reason, they assume you won’t be around this time next year. The track record of many recent startups doesn’t disprove their assumptions either.

So why should funeral directors give new industry companies a chance? I think the answer is simple, because at some point you are going to pass on companies that really have great services or products that could be game changers. Seems like a pretty logically answer right? It’s not fancy or over the top, it’s the truth, you can’t just keep saying NO. I am not by any means saying to give every new product a chance, but use your creative judgment, and open your mind up to embracing something new.

It has been a while since we interviewed a new company about their product or service and I am really missing it. I love the excitement and passion new companies bring to the profession, they have no preconceived ideas or reservations, something about their blindness is motivating to me.

After meeting with eFuneral last week, I thought it was time to seize the opportunity and give these “newbie’s” an opportunity to motivate me, and it worked. I left after a 3 hour conversation feeling the passion for this profession I started out with a few years ago, passion that wants to drive change and innovation to better funeral homes, funeral directors and better the services they provide to grieving families.

The goal of this article is not to promote eFuneral, though I know many of you will post that comment below, my goal is that once you see the interview I did with eFuneral you will start to open your mind up to new product and new companies. Stop doing the duck and run trick and avoiding new companies, because if you keep it up you are going to be missing more and more companies, like eFuneral, that offer products and services that can help you grow your business.