Is your business Transactional or is it Transformational?
Most businesses that I know of are transactional in nature. They take a fee and give their customer a product or service in return for that fee. Funeral homes tend to be transactional — we charge a family for the services and merchandise we render and then we provide those products and/or services to the customer until complete. Then we move on to the next customer.
Transactional businesses can be very successful. In our world, think about funeral homes, or casket companies, or vault companies who provide goods and services and make a very good profit year after year. And, some of those transactional businesses grow very big by buying other transactional businesses and add them to their ownership grouping.
However, over the years I’ve came to the conclusion that the businesses that are “Transformational” to consumers can really be successful. Think about Microsoft. The computer was already invented as was word processing when Microsoft came upon the scene . What Microsoft did was they took that word processing and figured out how you could work on two projects at once. . . simply by creating different “Windows” for doing such. And, they created spreadsheets which made all kinds of mathematical data, including business accounting, computer driven. . . . . Those were “Transformational” abilities that they gave their customers.
I’ve often thought about Sears as in Sears Roebuck and Company. At one time they were a “Transformational” company. Starting with selling watches by mail-order in 1886 they created a catalog that allowed rural customers to get big city merchandise in due time. That had never been done and it “transformed” the lives of those living in rural America. For almost 100 years after that date their transformational business model allowed them to be the Amazon of the day.
What about in Death Care? Can you be “Transformational” going forward. Have we ever had a “Transformational” company in our field? Cremation and/or cremation societies that advocated for cremation beginning in the 1970’s? Were they “Transformational”? Or was the growth in cremation and cremation-leaning businesses simply in relation to a consumer driven trend that also coincided with the Roman Catholic faith easing of their cremation doctrine?
I’m not so sure that we have had a “Transformational” business in Death Care. But, that doesn’t mean that your own business can’t be “Transformational” in how you operate your business to the consumer in your own home town. Making your business “Transformational” will reap incredible benefits going forward.
In my little community of about 40,000 people we have all the large chain grocery stores of our region — Wal-Mart, Target, Aldi, and regional dynamo Cub Foods, as well as a local family-owned grocery store. I have seen what was once that little family-owned grocery store, at least in my opinion, become the market leader because they are “Transformational” in our community. They really take root and seem to help our community whenever possible.
They are always hiring local teenagers to bag and carry out groceries. I think that virtually every teenager that applies there is given some type of position. . . whether needed or not at the time by the grocery store. They allow every sports team to raise funds by carrying out groceries for tips or by having car washes. They contribute to virtually every non-profit in the community and their management personnel volunteers endless hours by serving on community non-profit boards and lending their expertise in any way they can.
You might ask the question such as this, “Well, that is really nice of them, but hardly transformational”. I would answer by saying that those local teenagers that carried out groceries learned valuable lessons about responsibility as well as used the money to afford college. That’s “Transformational” to the lives of those students. Sports teams raising funds has allowed for extra teams, not just the varsity, which gave kids the opportunity to grow and excel in a sport and maybe eventually make the varsity team. That’s “Transformational” to the athlete who makes that jump. And, helping out the non-profits which might help fund the Parkinson Support Group or something like it. . . well, that’s “Transformational” to the older adults that get a few more years of dexterity in their lives.
Your funeral home can provide services and continue to repeat that process and make a very good profit year in and year out. You may even do an excellent job of helping people through their grief. . . . as some people call it, “bringing those suffering loss from a grief mindset to a remembrance mindset”. But, are you “Transforming” lives as you do it?
If you are, your business will not only be good. . . .it will be “Great”!
More news from the world of Death Care:
- Typo made 40 years ago causes Oak Ridge widow to face surprise charge for burial. Video story and print article. WATE – TV6 Knoxville (TN)
- Ask Your Funeral Director: What happens to bones during cremation? Creston Valley Advance (Canada)
- Senior living community fined $10,000 after sending live resident to funeral home. McKnight’s Senior Living.
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