Video: Business Modeling Made Simple

Getting small business owners to “think” about their business is a real challenge for several reasons. First, they are so busy “doing” it’s hard to stop and reflect. Second, they are rarely trained to think in a comprehensively analytical way and, third, most of the time it bores them.

This is a great and simple way to think about the pieces of your business and how they interact on one piece of paper that will help you make fun out of an otherwise frustrating exercise. Who knows you might have an epiphany.

hbrThe business model canvas — as opposed to the traditional, intricate business plan — helps organizations conduct structured, tangible, and strategic conversations around new businesses or existing ones. Leading global companies like GE, P&G, and Nestlé use the canvas to manage strategy or create new growth engines, while start-ups use it in their search for the right business model. The canvas’s main objective is to help companies move beyond product-centric thinking and towards business model thinking.More Reading

Family Business On the Couch

Screen Shot 2013-04-08 at 8.34.07 AMFamily business, as we all know, has greater dynamics to deal with than non-family business. Here is an interesting video interview with the author of a new book: “Family Business on the Couch”. Some really good insights for family owned funeral homes.

Strategy: Two Choices You Must Make

Every strategist knows the most difficult part about strategy is making choices.  But, to be effective, strategy demands we choose among options.  Here is a brief but clear presentation on the two most basic choices you must make.

To view the full 2.5 minute video click here HBR.ORG

CNN On “Tomorrow’s Funerals”

Here is a clip about a personalized funeral. But what is really the story behind the story, in my humble opinion, is that the owner of the funeral home (Ernie Heffner) has created an environment wherein his staff feels safe enough to take this kind of initiative in the arrangement conference without having to check first.  The second part of the story is that personalization doesn’t always have to be fancy and expensive.  Sometimes easy and a little irreverent and, best of all…fun is enough.

Notice also that the staff member is the one is acknowledged on nationwide TV.  That one small choice on the part of Mr. Heffner is worth a ton of motivational seminars.

Kudos to Heffner funeral home for showing us how it’s done.

VIDEO: How Not To Overserve Your Customers

I have been saying for some time that we are beginning to overserve our customers.  

I am not saying that we should not do some of the things we have been doing lately (like video tributes that add value to our services) but hanging our hats on those activities as if they will save traditional funerals is a mistake.  Right now our industry / profession is in the early stages of radical transformation.

We will soon begin talking about reinventing ourselves.   Some will claim they have already begun reinventing themselves by introducing innovations like webcasting, trinkets, multicolor paper goods, balloon releases and the like.  This is not reinvention.  In the words of famed management guru, Peter Drucker, it is patching.  We are only dressing up what we already sell in an attempt to make it more appealing to a customer who is demonstrating a disconnect.  Then we misinterpret their momentary satisfaction as long term commitment.

Think of it this way: You, your peers and colleagues are all faced with a massive “Sea Change” relative to the markets we serve.  It has become obvious even to the most uninformed that the world has changed. A change of this magnitude causes all of us to grieve.

Our profession is now in various stages of the grief cycle.

The “dressing up of the funeral” that has been taking place these last ten years has actually been long overdue but it is only dressing up (patching as Drucker would say).  Those who have adopted these measures have experienced success in customer satisfaction…but many have also learned that customer satisfaction is no guarantee of repeat business.   In reality patching correlates with the “Bargaining Phase” of grief.  “If I make it better maybe they will see more value.”  And for a while they do, after all it is better than what you were doing…until there is an alternative that speaks to what they are looking for.  And what they are looking for does not currently exist so they can’t tell you what it is.

Patching reminds me of an old Charlie Brown cartoon in which a sad faced Charlie Brown is saying,

“Doing a good job around here is like wetting your pants in a dark suit.  

You get a warm feeling and no one notices.”

In this brief video Harvard Professor and author, Frances Frei talks about the challenges we face.  I find her Pretzel Metaphor particularly helpful.

For further discussion:

This article is linked to the Creedy Commentary article “Licensing Laws: Barrier To Survival”  Click on my photo to return to that article.



To order Frances Frei’s book from Amazon click on the image below

VIDEO: 3 Counterintuitive Things You Didn’t Know About Motivating and Engaging Employees

In recent years several companies have sprung up to help funeral home owners better manage their employees.  I am in favor of this movement but their are limits.

And the limit is this:  The systems and metrics these programs install are necessary.  But the result is that they do not turn owners into leaders…they turn them into shop foremen.

There has been a void in leadership in the DeathCare Professions for more than 20 years and we have lost ground because of it.  In the video below Dan Pink discusses the Unmooring of the Profit Motive from The Purpose Motive.  I think this is what has happened.  Our preoccupation with the nickels has caused us to step over the dollars.

Funeral Professionals are Knowledge Workers not factory line workers.  While we must employ the proper management systems to control our out of control costs we cannot hope to motivate or engage Knowledge Workers to connect with our customers in the ways that will drive our futures.

If you do nothing else this week watch this video

In this 10+ minute video Dan Pink vividly and literally illustrates the 3 key principles that do motivate and engage knowledge workers…and, as I have been saying now for several years…it isn’t incentives or money.  

What I would do

Not long ago in The Creedy Commentary I created a short video entitled: Six Simple but Important Tips on Engaging Employees I would review that video.  It turns out that there are six things that demotivate employees and fixing those does not mean that you will motivate them because the things that motivate them are different.  I would also buy Dan Pink’s book Click on the photo to order it on