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omega's picture

Crematory Waste

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I recently read that the federal DEQ can and will hold a crematorium responsible for the metal they dispose of. Appartently there could be hefty fines for not complying with this.  Anybody else heard of this ?

datadale's picture

What Are Your New Year's Resolutions for 2014?

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As we begin 2014, it's natural for us to pause and reflect on where we've been in 2013 and then ask ourselves where do we want to go from here.
 
For business owners, it's especially important to take a deep breath, stop putting out fires for a moment and elevate our perspective.  Creating an annual theme might just do that for you and your organization.
 
Ideas for themes are limited only by your imagination.  Some possible themes include:
  • Organizing & Upgrading Infrastructure.   Consider cleaning out your office or warehouse, upgrading your computer systems, or re-designing your filing system. Think about moving towards "going paperless". 
  • Growth.  Plan for a 10% increase in sales and share what that would mean with all your staff so everyone becomes invested in the possibility. Plan monthly meetings to discuss growth-related themes, such as productivity or profitability.  You might want to designate people in your organization to develop a new skill such as learning a new language (Spanish), or developing new computer skills.
  • Abstract themes, such as creativity, or environmental consciousnessAt the risk of sounding a little fluffy, a creative theme might challenge you to look at your marketing with another paintbrush. In terms of environment, the Death Services Industry is uniquely positioned for an Eco-consciousness theme.
  • Relationships. You might dedicate your year, or assign specific staff to meeting new associates and building business relationships.  Your action item might be to spend more time networking, participating in groups, or going to the annual ICCFA conferencethis coming April, 2014.
  • A new service.  Perhaps you're launching a new service. Maybe your new service becomes your 2014 theme and you focus your marketing efforts, the way your staff answers the phone, your print and social media efforts to highlight this new service within your current offerings.
  • Giving back.  On a personal note, you might value volunteering and decide to organize your year around a couple of volunteer opportunities.    How can you work with your community to promote Veterans Services or Pet Adoption?
  • Exploring.  If the business is running smoothly without your day-to-day input, it might be time for that trip around the world.
As you choose you goals for 2014, make sure the majority of them support your theme for the year.  Themes can bring an overarching focus to our practices and our lives. 
 
What's your theme?  Let me know what your theme is and I'll share mine! 
jodiclock's picture

Nelson Mandela: Not Mourned, but Celebrated

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Not too long ago, the world celebrated the life of Nelson Mandela. The entire world watched on national television a “Memorial Service” where dignitaries from all over the globe set aside their differences and gathered together to share stories, reflect, and honor a man who was not just an advocate of change and humanitarian, but also just a regular guy who loved his family and friends. The natives of Mandela’s country were not sad nor were they moping -- they were dancing, singing, chanting and full of smiles. They were not “mourning” they were “celebrating” or “paying tribute” to the life that he lived and his accomplishments made during his lifetime.

Truth be told, the world could learn one more lesson from Nelson Mandela -- and that is not to mourn, but to celebrate, gather together and share the stories that heal the heart.

The culture in the United States is not one of embracing death in a celebratory fashion. Norms for funerals in the states have been more ceremonial, ritualistic and very somber. The vast majority of our culture does not “celebrate,” they mourn. In my opinion, as a whole, we have turned into a death adverse society. We have accepted that death is a fact of life, but in a few very short decades we have become very reluctant to adhere to the previous funeral norms that our parents and grandparents adhered to. The baby boomer generation is once again changing the look and feel of a funeral, just like they did the school systems, cars, child birth, etc.

My husband, son, and myself are all in the funeral profession. Dale and I are boomers and my son is a Gen Xer. Maybe it’s time we, as a profession, provide a solution for our cohorts instead of lamenting for the funerals of day’s past. It’s time we stop pontificating about “educating” the consumer like Tom Lynch (New York Times best selling author and licensed funeral director and funeral home owner) recommends and listen to the voice of the family.

There is no longer a cookie cutter approach to honoring one’s life.

Traditional ritualistic venues may work for a segment of our families -- but what about the others? Maybe, just maybe, we can show families that we (the majority of funeral home professionals and funeral home owners) get it. It’s evident that we are our own problem and need to get out of our own way and change our verbiage, our clothing, our decor, and possibly our employee base.

If the general public can begin to perceive us as “regular” people, and not how the media has portrayed our profession to be, as uptight, money hungry, and frankly quite “odd” (due to our nature of business), the general public just may want to call on us, enter our facilities, allow us to wait on them and know that when they step through our front door, they, too, can pay tribute in a celebratory or even non-celebratory fashion that is comfortable for them, and not just go through the paces because we tell them what to do.

Families may not end up dancing in the streets like they were for Mandela, but there is no harm in them choreographing their own dance with our guidance.

What are your thoughts? I'd love for you to continue this dialogue with me! Please share your thoughts by emailing me at jodi@clockfuneralhome.com, or my blog www.jodiclock.com. To purchase my recently authored book, “Navigating the Elder Care Journey…Without Going Broke!”  go to Amazon.com..

datadale's picture

Quick & Useful Tips for Creating Compelling Direct Mail Copy

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Direct mail continues to work for those cemeteries and funeral homes who do it right. The mailing list, the creative, and the offer are the “Big 3” you need to get right.
It’s not easy to create direct mail copy that works. We can learn by trial and error or we can simply go with what works.
These tips will help you trim your copy and make it more effective.
  • Know your objective and have a clear call to action for the reader (e.g. Call 1-800-XXX-XXXX today…or Order today for your Free Gift).
  • Always include a P.S. Many people read the P.S. first, so don’t waste it. It always lifts response.
  • Create a sense of urgency.
  • Read your copy out loud and get rid of all the extra words that you don’t use when you talk. “That” is the most overused word – it can almost always be eliminated.
  • It’s OK to start a sentence with “and” or “but.”
  • Keep sentences short.
  • Use bullets with active words. We’ve all learned to skim. Make it easy for your reader to read & understand your message and act on it quickly
For more information about Direct Marketing Lists or Direct Mail response, please visit the section of Dataman Group website devoted to the Death Care Industrydale@datamangroup.com  or call the Dataman Group office at (561) 451-9302.e-mail 
rob treadway's picture

A Simple Thank You offers online guestbook for Mandela

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A Simple Thank You offers you the opportunity to leave your condolences for Nelson Mandela online at http://asimplethankyoufuneral.com/mandela.html. There's also a link directly from the South African Consulate in Chicago.

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