Funeral Home Owners – What if you can’t quit?

Is 2022 going to be the year you quit?

By now, you have heard the expression “The Great Resignation” referring to how people are rethinking their relationship with work. People are quitting: Quitting jobs, quitting relationships, and quitting the old ways of living.

If the global pandemic has done one thing, it has forced all of us to take a hard look at our lives and ask the question, “Do I really want to keep doing it like this?”.

Most of the people who read this newsletter are Funeral Directors. The vast majority of my readers are also funeral home owners.

They may have inherited a family business, purchased an existing funeral home, or started a brand new business. Regardless of the path they followed, my readers know that the success or failure of their business is ultimately their responsibility.

Ownership is a heavy burden that can lead to sleepless nights, strained relationships, glorious highs, and unbearable lows.

Employees may decide to join the “The Great Resignation.” But for business owners, that is a much harder decision to make.

What do you do with your business? Can you sell it for enough to retire? What about your relationship with the families in your community?

It’s pretty hard to walk away from a business that you’ve poured your life into for years.

So if you can’t quit in 2022, what can you do?

One option is to continue on the same path you’ve been on for years.

Continue having fewer full-service funerals and more direct cremations.

Continue worrying about cash flow.

Or you can choose another option. You can choose to grow your business.

You’re probably thinking, “John, that’s stupid. Of course, I want to grow my business!”

But do you really want to grow? Are you willing to pay the price?

The price for growing your business is you have to stop being a Funeral Director and start being a Funeral Business Builder. Those two roles are entirely different, and you need to be willing to walk away from one to become the other.

I specialize in helping owners with seven figures of revenue get to eight figures or more. I rarely work with small funeral homes, and I also don’t work with big corporations.

At the million-dollar level, the owner has to wear two hats. They still function as Funeral Directors, meeting with families, making arrangements, and running funerals. But they also switch roles, put on their Funeral Business Builder hat, and work with me to grow their business.

By the time they get to ten million in revenue, they rarely meet with families unless it’s a personal friend. Instead, they manage a team of people who run the day-to-day operations while focusing exclusively on growing the business. My role is to come alongside them and guide them through the growth process.

I often discuss the difference between being an entrepreneur and being a business builder with my clients. Most people think they are the same thing, but I believe that there is a significant difference.

Being an entrepreneur isn’t something you learn. It’s more of a natural attribute. Entrepreneurs often trust their gut when making decisions and can anticipate what is going to happen. An entrepreneur is like an advanced chess player who sees moves five steps ahead.

On the other hand, a business builder is someone who learns new skills and follows a process. For example, they start by learning how marketing works so they can win more calls. Then they grow their current locations and eventually add more locations.

A business builder is like someone assembling furniture they bought at Ikea. It may be frustrating at times, but they will get the outcome they want if they follow the directions.

I can count on one hand the number of funeral home owners I have met who are natural entrepreneurs. But I have met many owners who are business builders, and I’ve had the pleasure of working with many of them over the years.

I can’t teach someone how to become an entrepreneur. But I can teach someone how to become a business builder.

A business that is not growing is in the process of dying. The owner just hasn’t realized it yet.

As “The Great Resignation” unfolds in 2022, your employees may quit. But as the business owner, you have a different choice to make.

You can maintain the status quo, in which case you will eventually lose your funeral home business. Or, you can choose to become a funeral business builder.

Choose wisely.

Until next time,


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