I received some great comments and questions about my “Competition” article – thank you! First, many of the issues funeral home owners and managers are unique to your specific market and situation so I cannot offer a blanket answer that everyone could benefit from. The issue was followed by the questions, “How do I fix this?” or “What should I do?”
As I always do in situations to solve problems, I reflected on the process that I have used many times in my home market that is very competitive plus is on the forefront of changing trends. In this type of market – and any market – you need to have a process to deal with issues and make decisions easily and with confidence.
By the nature of how we join funeral service, either as a calling to serve, or following in family footsteps, we rarely get taught how to think strategically. Strategy isn’t taught in mortuary colleges and the issues we face today – like increasing cremation rates, price discounters, memorial societies, and the Internet – were not big issues to the generations before us. Especially in our market where no-one had experience in dealing with these issues before – I decided that I had to go back to university and learn how professionals solve problems in other industries and then apply those methods to funeral service.
Although formal education was a great experience, what has really stuck with me was what I learned as a member of the “Case Competition” team. In a nutshell, a team of four would be given 3 hours to read and analyze a business case study and present our recommendations. Since you were “on stage” at the end of the 3 hours, I really learned to hone my strategic thinking with “tools” that made up my Business Strategy Toolkit.
At this point I could just tell you hire me to tackle your issues in a one-on-one scenario – and of course for those who wish that personal consultation I will make myself available – I also want to teach all of you “How to Fish” instead of selling you fish.
Whatever causes you the most pain – tough competition, price shoppers, losing calls, cremation families, memorial societies, expensive marketing – these tools can give can give you an competitive advantage for just a small investment of your time. So here we go – these are some of the tools that I use on a daily basis to solve clients’ problems. The three that I recommend to get started with are the Environmental Scan, Porter’s Five Forces, and the SWOT Analysis.
The Environmental Scan (sometimes referred to as PEST Analysis) looks at external factors: Political, Economic, Social, and Technological. Then Porter’s Five Forces of Competition analyzes: Power of Buyers, Power of Suppliers, Threat of New Entrants, Threat of Substitutes, and Competitive Rivalry. Then having a solid strategic framework of your market, you then look internally with a SWOT Analysis: Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats. Then you will have all you need to leap ahead of your competition.
Don’t worry if this seems too overwhelming, I will put together a demonstration next week using funeral industry examples. Also, I will try to pull in a favor and get another expert on the line with me and we will go through step by step through the process as it relates to us.
If you would like to have your company profiled for the example – at absolutely no charge to you, please click the link below and provide me with some basic information. Then I will be in touch to get some additional information. Be assured that your identity will be kept confidential.
Apply for the analysis of your market and company, click here and fill out the form:
Thank you for your time and look for my newsletter next week for the details of the “Funeral Industry and Competitive Analysis” free training session.