Having run a funeral service business in Singapore, the competition in such a small geographic area is tough. However, the very service you render more than makes up for it.
Sometimes in business, we give our numbers more credit than they deserve. We forget that the very thing that motivates us is the people we serve. In this case, the grieving families that need closure and counsel.
So is the funeral industry worthwhile? Below we explore this in detail.
The Importance of the Funeral Service Industry
Funeral services are a necessity and they are an integral part of society. They help people to cope with the death of a loved one by providing them with the opportunity to honor their memory in their own unique way.
It is the duty of funeral planning businesses to commemorate the dead and share their stories. Disregarding their social standing.
There are more than 150,000 deaths in the state of New York alone, pre-covid in 2017. In certain states, being a funeral director can be a tiring profession due to overwhelming demand.
The funeral business is often disregarded by many first-time entrepreneurs. Likely due to how morbid, or even “unsexy” the industry may seem. However, experienced entrepreneurs often know the treasure trove such industries present.
Pros and Cons of Starting a Funeral Home Business
Starting up a funeral home business can be a tough and stressful venture. However, it can also be profitable and rewarding. There are pros and cons to starting a funeral home business that must be considered before making the decision to begin this line of work
- Funeral homes represent a potentially lucrative industry to get into. The industry has shown resilience in the face of economic downturns, because people would still pass-on at the same rate.
- There is no need for expensive outside advertising or creativity because the industry is largely word of mouth. However, things like SEO/SEM or classified placements are still recommended.
- Starting a funeral home business is not for everyone. The costs and burdens associated with starting and operating a funeral home business are prohibitive for some people. People might see this as a morbid or depressing business, which is not always true.
- There are many government regulations and processes that you need to adhere to.
How to Start a Successful Family Owned Business (Funeral industry)
If you intend to start a funeral business, you might want to rope-in a few family members for assistance. The funeral industry is filled with companies that have been passed down from generations to generations. It is therefore exceedingly common for sons and daughters to be involved in customer service, or backroom admin.
This is due to the overwhelming amount of work a director has to deal with, when they start to receive a steady stream of clients.
The start of a family owned business can be difficult. In fact, 72% of family businesses fail in the first three years. This is due to the lack of planning and foresight that comes with such a new venture.
However, in order for a family owned business to succeed, there are certain key factors that must be addressed and changes made as soon as possible.
1) Have members with different skillsets
2) Have one person take on the responsibility for managing the finances
3) Create a plan ahead of time for how each generation will handle their retirement
Ideally, in the funeral business – someone should focus on emerging trends. This is due to the wide array of interesting burial options now available. From turning ashes into gemstones, cryo-burials (yes, we can freeze you) and tree burials.
Having an SEO expert within the family is almost a must. As funeral ads could raise some eyebrows, SEO would almost guarantee conversions as “hot” leads would be actively searching for your services.
4 Steps to Running a Successful Funeral Business
1) Connect with your Customers and Provide Services They Want
A little market research would not harm anybody. Find out what religion is most practiced in your region, along with its most common rites. Understand the demographics in your area – are they strict traditionalists, or are they liberal?
You could therefore tailor your services and resources accordingly. Make the necessary supplier connections and plan ahead.
Additionally, simply talking to community leaders may give you the best insights on adding value. They would often point you in the right direction. Primary data, directly from the source – is often the best resource you could base your next decision upon.
Another method of research could simply be dissecting the local competition. Identifying what works, and how their services are structured. Though, this should be augmented rather than your primary research focus.
2) Gather Community Resources & Partnerships for Added Value
Using community leaders for research could expand beyond that. Seeing how you, as a local business – could provide volunteer work for the betterment of the community is equally important.
As odd as it might seem, one could compare this to “street cred”. A director must be able to establish a strong reputation, before the community could trust him/her with their patronage. Hence, directors must work hard to gain the respect, and connections of the community in order to succeed.
Incidentally, directors can also be engaged by the local government for prisoners, the impoverished or unknown persons.
3) Create an Online Presence
This is a must in this day and age. More so, directors must engage in local SEO activities to stay competitive. Directors should look to get a family member to learn this skill, or hire a trustworthy consultant.
Importantly, directors should use their social media to support their offline community relationship building.
4) Add Upgrades & Packages that Differentiate You from the Competition
Technically, you do not have to perform these steps in chronological order. Having unique upgrades and packages from the get-go could make you the talk of the town.
The key is having the right research available to you, by interviewing the right people within the community. Directors should not be afraid to bounce off their “crazy ideas” among the community.
Several funeral businesses have begun experimenting with “insurance” policies even!
Nicholas and his Father operate a family owned funeral service in sunny Singapore. He wishes to preserve the rich traditions and practices of funeral rites by documenting them online.