Frazer Blog

Does slow and steady always win the (business) race?

by | Oct 13, 2016 | Funeral Profession

A businesswoman working on paperwork

We all know the story about the tortoise and the hare. Slow and steady wins the race.

This age-old fable teaches a great life lesson. But when talking about business strategy, how much does ‘slow and steady’ apply? And is it an effective way to run a funeral home?

From a small business view, let’s look at both the tortoise and the hare and determine who really comes out on top.

The Hare

In Aesop’s fable, the hare shot off at the beginning of the race for the lead. In today’s business world, quickness is an advantage. Early adopters and innovators — the ones that can embrace change quicker — have the upper hand. They enjoy the benefits of:

  • Becoming a leader among their competitors.
  • Getting free publicity and promotion.
  • Influencing the market instead of having to catch up to it.
  • According to the Harvard Business Review, enjoy overall business growth and revenue.

On top of that, speed and efficiency make customers happy. Today’s families are on the go, and they want services that reflect that.

That’s exactly what a hare-type business brings to the table — it means offering your families mobile services, responding to their questions quickly, and providing efficient (and fast) payment options.

Just look at some of the stats:

  • According to an article in Forbes; convenience, personalization, and speedy service are the top three trends that customers expect.
  • More than 9 out of 10 people say mobile content access is “somewhat” or “very important.”

Whether it’s through innovation or customer service, the hare does speed well. The flaw was that he slowed down. And the same happens to businesses that stop adapting to the changing world around them.

The lesson to be learned here? Don’t stop innovating. The world we live in changes fast, and if you don’t keep up, you lose out.

The Tortoise

The tortoise is better because they win the race, right?

Let’s talk about that.

A lot of funeral homes fall into the tortoise category. They’re slower to adapt, following the mantra of “we’ve always done it this way.” But as we’ve seen, following the status quo quickly leads to stagnation. If you’re not innovating, you’re putting the survival of the business at risk. History shows that businesses that fail to evolve don’t just stagnate, they go extinct.

That’s not to say the tortoise is bad. After all, he did win the race. But the tortoise won because he was steady, not because he was slow. Steadiness is a great trait, and with funeral homes, it’s important to be able to provide families with traditional and consistent services.

The experts agree: consistency, reliability, dependability — call it whatever you want, it’s crucial to success. It will grow the amount of client families you serve, solidify your funeral home’s brand image, and build loyalty in the community.

The lesson to be learned here? Being slow won’t win you anything. It’s steady and consistent service to your families that will.

Who’s the winner?

There are lessons to be learned from both the tortoise and the hare.

Quick innovation and service leads to success, but only if you maintain the advantage. Steady service wins loyalty, but being slow to adapt for your business won’t win you anything.

Just imagine if the hare had never slowed down to rest. The tortoise would have easily lost.

The best lesson to take away is that to be successful in today’s world, your funeral home needs to adopt the best of both the tortoise and the hare. A funeral home needs to be quick to innovate and provide efficient services to customers, all while maintaining consistency.

In other words, innovate your old traditions to create new meaning and value for the families you serve.


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