Funeral Industry News

Has Your Business Plan Reached the End of Its Lifecycle?

August 20, 2009

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.

Has Your Business Plan Reached the End of Its Lifecycle?

The most important thing that we can do as a funeral director is take the pulse of our business plan. If you don?t have a business plan I suggest you think seriously about making one.

You may argue that you don?t need one because you are just the embalmer in an establishment that probably has a plan for you. Nothing could be further form the truth. If someone else has a plan for you, you can pretty well count on the fact that their, not your, needs are paramount. We all need to have an idea of the direction we hope our path will take us in five – ten ? twenty years. I have a friend who takes time with his wife on January 1st of each year to identify goals for the next twelve months. They have done it for so many years that ?Super Bowl Sunday? has an entirely different connotation to them.

Your own business plan will involve your job as well as your personal goals. Is this the year you hope to go on ?that cruise? you?ve talked about for so many years? Is this the year you plan that fifteen-state motorcycle trip you have been putting off? Is this the year you plan on enrolling in Mortuary College? Is this the year you seriously start planning to open your own Funeral Home?

Personal business plans are as important as, if not more important than, your corporate business plans. They help put life in perspective and make goals more achievable. Instead of being faced with all those choices from the smorgasbord, you may decide to consider only the appetizer this year and leave the main course or dessert for the next. The wise person knows that a personal plan must be the starting point for any great business plan.

If your business plan includes an expansion project you had best help your family be aware know about your potential preoccupation. If your business plan includes hiring a new staff person be prepared to deal with the stress that training an employee will bring. Is this the year you buy that new coach ? paint the chapel ? add a catering room ? match every at-need call with two pre-need calls? Yes business plans are important.

And what of the guy who seems to get along just fine without ever giving planning a second thought? Show me that person and I will show you someone with more stress than I would want to deal with. Without a plan things come at you like blades from a circus knife thrower. Without a plan you constantly second guess yourself about spur of the moment decisions. There are those ?old timers? in this business that plod along year after year simply counting the calls and banking the profits. They often are the ones making it difficult for the rest of us to plan.

The wise person who ?has it all? could be formulating his plan for lean times if some blip in the market renders him helpless. What about his pandemic plan? What are his plans for succession ? or is he going to live forever? Here is a real-life example that happened to a friend of mine ? what does he do when his minister approaches him about the newly conceived ?Church Memorial Society? that three wealthy, retired (now bored) doctors have proposed to cut costs and ?help the church out?? Plans, plans and more plans.

Conducting business without a plan is about as easy as trying to goose a ghost.

Why not do a five-year plan while you are at it? That way you can shuffle things around if you need to ? just attempt to end the period with the results you hoped for.

Now is the time to evaluate your 2007 plan. If you didn?t have one – pretend you did – tell yourself everything happened on schedule just as you hoped ? then get busy with a current one for 2008. This is only the second week in January so you haven?t missed the boat.

Whether you are the owner, funeral director, secretary, removal ?guy?, apprentice, embalmer, pre planner or old retired ?guest Blogger? ? you will function better with a plan ? both business and personal.