Frazer Blog

What your funeral home can learn from startups

by | Apr 20, 2017 | Funeral Profession

A group of people at a table working on laptops

Startups have been changing all types of businesses. Uber, Airbnb, and Amazon have disrupted the status quo and permanently changed the way we do things forever.

Now disruption is knocking at the funeral profession’s door. Millennial investors see vast opportunities for innovation, and it shows with new companies like Grace, Parting, and Cake. These startups are using the internet to change the way a family plans a funeral and picks a funeral service provider.

The New York Times reported that “As [Baby Boomers] become more comfortable shopping online, these start-ups are finding a highly engaged audience.”

There’s a thing or two we can learn these startups that apply to the funeral home. Below are some best practices from startups:

Understand Disruption

To understand why a startup is successful, it’s important to understand disruption. Caroline Howard, a staff writer for Forbes, describes disruption as “literally uprooting and changing how we think, behave, do business, learn and go about our day-to-day.”

Let’s put this in the context of your funeral home. It means offering families something totally unique — an experience that can’t be replicated by other funeral homes. This Kansas funeral home partnered with local artists to create hand-drawn sketches for families that lost a child. It may not be as disruptive as Uber, but it’s a small way to add value for families.

Ask Why

Before you go implementing new services or ideas, it’s important to understand the reasons why changes are happening. Why is the cremation rate increasing? Why are funeral traditions becoming less religious? Understanding the “why” gives you a better idea of what needs to be done to adapt to change.

Streamline Work and Seek Out Efficiency

Another thing that funeral homes have in common with startups is that they both typically have a small staff. Startups excel at getting the maximum efficiency out of everyone, and they do this by using technology to streamline their workload. Use a mobile app to manage your website on the go, or speed up your personalization process by adopting an intuitive all-in-one stationery tool. Find new ways to automate old tasks or even delegate some work to outside sources.

Put Creativity First

Behind compassion, creativity will become one of the most important skills needed in funeral service. It’s highly important for your funeral home and its staff to work in an environment that allows creativity to thrive. For some ideas, check out our article on how to promote a culture of creative thinking in your funeral home.

Don’t Ignore Digital

Investing in technology, maintaining an active digital and social presence, and engaging people online has become a top priority. In the modern world, you need to be online to grow. For a funeral home, there are plenty of ways to embrace the digital world. You can offer an e-commerce store for gifts or offer families unique ways to memorialize a loved one online. You also can create a social media community for grief and aftercare.

Engage the Big Three

Startups adapt so efficiently because they are always engaged. For your funeral home, there are three key areas you should focus on always engaging with. Those are client families, the experts within the funeral profession, and competitors. By paying attention to each group, you’ll learn about changes and trends and how you can adapt to meet them.

The One Thing Startups Will Never Change about Funeral Homes

By adopting the above practices used by startups, funeral homes will be better able to meet the changing needs of families in the years to come. But it’s important to remember that some things won’t change. And one thing that always will be needed is the passion and commitment to serving families.


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