On looking back. . . .and moving forward (Part 1)

Foundation Partners why I partnered

Earlier this month Carriage Services CEO and Chairman Mel Payne put out a lengthy shareholder letter.  We found it a great read, not only to catch up with what is happening with Carriage Services, but as an aspirational blueprint, that if followed could lead to success in almost all funeral homes.  Payne even points out Investor Business Daily’s 10 Secrets to Success that we have included below.

You can access this shareholder letter here.

From my point of view, and I’ve owned Carriage stock on and off at times over the past 15 years, Carriage has made some big, bold, steps in their business without changing their basic philosophy of slow, solid growth.  In many respects they are like many of us in what is happening with our businesses.  Carriage Services is seeing (and you can find these statistics on page 7 of the letter):

  • Same store service numbers growing
  • Same store burial percentages going down
  • Same store cremation percentage numbers going up
  • Same store burial revenue per case going down
  • Same store cremation revenue per case going down

While most of those trends are negative and, in my opinion, seem to be the direction that the American consumer is going as to their choice for death care disposition, the “same store numbers growing” or increased consumer use of Carriage’s funeral homes can blunt, and even grow, as evidenced in Carriage’s report, the other negative trends indicated.  The Carriage report points out, that even though revenues per service are down, with “same store service number” increases, their facility revenue is up 6.5%.

CEO Payne uses that type of success and points out “Being Positive” as shown in Investor Business Daily’s 10 Secrets to Success, can “turn dreams into reality”.  Here are those 10 secrets:

IBD’s 10 Secrets To Success
Investor’s Business Daily has spent years analyzing leaders and successful people in all walks of life. Most
have 10 traits that, when combined, can turn dreams into reality.

1. How You Think Is Everything: Always be positive. Think success, not failure. Beware of a negative
2. Decide Upon Your True Dreams and Goals: Write down your specific goals and develop a plan to
reach them.
3. Take Action: Goals are nothing without action. Don’t be afraid to get started now. Just do it.
4. Never Stop Learning: Go back to school or read books. Get training and acquire skills.
5. Be Persistent and Work Hard: Success is a marathon, not a sprint. Never give up.
6. Learn to Analyze Details: Get all the facts, all the input. Learn from your mistakes.
7. Focus Your Time and Money: Don’t let other people or things distract you.
8. Don’t Be Afraid to Innovate; Be Different: Following the herd is a sure way to mediocrity.
9. Deal and Communicate With People Effectively: No person is an island. Learn to understand and
motivate others.
10.Be Honest and Dependable; Take Responsibility: Otherwise, Numbers 1-9 won’t matter.

Tomorrow we will tell you how we see Carriage Services boldly moving ahead to grow their business.

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