To keep your business going – and hopefully, even growing – you have to wear a lot of hats. Running a successful funeral home involves a lot of moving parts. Regardless of motivation, you cannot be an expert in all areas or have time to do everything so you have to prioritize.
In any funeral home, at-need families trump everything.
If successfully serving at-need families takes up most of your time (and we hope it does), then most likely there are areas in your business that do not get the attention they need, despite being important to the future success of your funeral home.
If it’s important, and you can’t do it – Hire it out.
Are there areas or tasks in your funeral home that are not being done well? If you are on the fence about outsourcing, ask yourself the following:
· Is the task too important to ignore, but you don’t have time to do it?
· Is the task too important to ignore, but you don’t have the ability to do it?
· Is the task too important to ignore, but you don’t have the time OR ability to do it?
· Is your time more valuable than what you would pay to get the task done?
The following 6 areas are so important that if you don’t have staff with the expertise, time and resources to do the job well, you should look at outsourcing.
There is nothing that will sink your business faster than bad accounting. I’m not talking about reckless spending, I’m talking about not knowing how you are doing. Accounting is more than bank reconciliation or the filing of quarterly taxes. Accounting should provide you with a monthly picture, a measuring stick, a dashboard of data that helps determine where you are winning or losing, and where you should focus more time or energy. Regardless of the increase or decrease you are having compared to last month, or last year, a good accounting provider will help you see the benchmarks that matter. In business, that’s profitability.
2. Answering the phones
This seems like a no-brainer, right? Last week I called a funeral home and got an answering machine. In 2017! You cannot possibly succeed without someone to answer the phone 24/7. You also need to have the right person or you risk losing calls. You want someone on the phone that tries to win calls and is not just a human filtering mechanism. The right answering service is crucial to running a successful funeral home.
3. Social media
A good marketer focuses on being present wherever their target customers are hanging out. Today, that means getting on board with social media. You will have more access to your target customers, more insights into what they want, and more opportunities to tell your story. Growing your funeral home with social media requires more than just having a Facebook page or Instagram account. It requires a strategy with a goal and a defined path to get there, just like any other marketing initiative. Social media is one of the hardest things to do in-house or on your own because it’s more than just a task on your list – you’re actually creating the content. If you don’t have a steady supply of time and creativity, it’s better to partner with a company that does.
Everyone wants to do aftercare, but most just don’t have time. In today’s market, it’s too important to ignore. Aftercare is required if you want any hopes of serving those same families again in the future. Despite good intentions, most funeral directors will admit they don’t have a defined follow up plan or time to execute on it. One day you might have ample time to make calls, write cards or make in-person visits, but as soon as your phone rings, that grinds to a halt. Aftercare is then relegated to a “when you have time” activity. The problem is, if you don’t take care of your families now, it may be another funeral home doing it in the future.
5. Human Resources
Even if you only have a few employees you still need to have well defined policies and procedures for your funeral home. This can include employee manuals, managing benefits, etc. You may have an idea of what you might want in an employee manual, for example, but you don’t need to be the one to write it. You’re not an employment attorney and the laws are changing all the time on many issues surrounding employee rights. Written policies will protect you, the employee, and your funeral home. Small businesses tend to gloss over this because they do their own payroll and assume that employee issues are only for large companies..
6. Preneed Marketing
If you are only selling to walk-ins, you don’t have a preneed program, you have a preneed product. A marketing partner will help you create a program that can increase your preneed sales and help to secure future market share. Outsourcing your preneed marketing can look as simple as someone sending out direct mail for you all the way to a full time counselor following up with families and putting on advanced planning seminars. Many marketers will even bear the expense of sending mailers, seminars, etc. You simply benefit from more preneed on the books.
These are only six examples and I’m sure there are more. Anything that is too important to ignore shouldn’t be left in the “when we have time” category.
Outsourcing can make you more efficient, more consistent, and your business more predictable.
What task in your funeral home would you like to hire out?