Frazer Blog

4 Ways Your Funeral Home Can Unlock Innovation This Year

by | Jan 4, 2018 | Funeral Profession

Tools and technology on a table

Are you taking the “New Year, New Me” approach for your funeral home this year?

Whether you’re looking to wow families in new ways, or stand out from your competition, here you’ll find four ways to unlock innovation for your funeral home in 2018.

Ask the Right Questions

Michael Noice, an entrepreneur coach, wrote in an article for Entrepreneur that innovation starts by asking the right questions. His advice is to ask “questions that challenge everyone’s thinking in new ways. Resist the urge to continue asking common questions that only produce stale ideas that have been recycled repeatedly. Asking the right questions lead you down paths that open new ways of thinking about your business.”

For example, we all know that cremation rates in 2018 will continue to increase. But why? Why are more families choosing cremation than burial?

We also know alternative services; such as green funerals, home funerals, and other nontraditional funeral services; are increasing in popularity. Has your funeral home stopped to ask why? Or, more importantly, has it asked how it will meet families’ demands for these new trends?

Asking the right questions lays the foundation for innovation and success for your funeral home in 2018.

Lead the Change

One of the most dangerous lines of thinking — in any professional setting — is the, “we’ve always done it this way” mentality.

In the book Small Business, Big Vision, author Matthew Toren argues that the phrase is essentially a company killer. He says that “It isn’t just a group of harmless words…It reflects a lack of creativity… and a serious absence of flexibility. It’s a company killer because it is anything but progressive, and you can bet that at least one of your competitors refuses to look at things that way.”

So how can your funeral home overcome this “we’ve always done it this way” mentality? Start by leading the change in your community. Again, it starts by asking questions. What can our funeral home do differently? What can we do that no other funeral home in the area can?

Identify new services, experiences, payment methods, memorials — anything that sets you apart from your competitors — and implement them at your funeral home in 2018.

Encourage a Culture of Innovation

Sometimes the best ideas start with your staff. The funeral directors working the front lines often have the best insight on what families want to see from a funeral service.

Frank Dawson, a certified funeral service practitioner and author, shared his methods for encouraging a creative culture in his book Gaining A Competitive Edge Through Transformational Funeral Service. He said that he gives a $2 bill to staff members who present the best ideas in their weekly Monday meetings. He believes that, while $2 is a small amount, it’s more about the pride in presenting creative ideas, and helps encourages a staff to capture and share any and all their ideas during meetings.

Have your staff always carry a notebook (or use a smartphone app) to record any and all ideas. Dawson calls it the “When you think it, ink it” approach.

Check out our guide for other ways to create a culture of change in your funeral home.

Collaborate with the Community

Your funeral home also can look to the community for ideas to innovate this year. Communities are a great resource. That’s because typically, communities all have something unique to offer.

For example, your funeral home could create new unique experiences by collaborating with:

  • Local musicians to create personal tribute songs.
  • Local artists to create one-of-a-kind memorials, like this funeral home who partnered with an artist to create hand-drawn portraits of young children who passed away.
  • Area restaurants to create a personalized menu for a special tribute dinner or reception after the funeral.
  • Local authors to help write up personal family histories or inspiring obituaries.

Every community has something of value to offer. This year, look out in your community for ways to collaborate and create new experiences for the families you serve.


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