2019 is here, folks.
Are you excited? Do you feel the butterflies in your stomach when you think about all the possibilities of 2019 at your funeral business?
If you need a little inspiration, check out these epic inspirational quotes (they’re printable, too!).
And once you’re inspired, it’s really important to ask yourself: what is the vision I have for my funeral business in 2019?
Without a vision, all your efforts, services and goals may not be focusing on the greatest good for your funeral business and your client families.
If you’ve never created a vision for your funeral home before, let’s go over the basics… like: what is a vision?
What is a vision?
Before we get into how you can create a vision (or a better one), let’s grasp an understanding of what a vision really is. According to Psychology Today, a vision:
- Defines the optimal desired future state – the mental picture – of what an organization wants to achieve over time;
- Provides guidance and inspiration as to what an organization is focused on achieving in five, ten, or more years;
- Functions as the “north star” – it is what all employees understand their work every day ultimately contributes towards accomplishing over the long term; and
- Is written succinctly in an inspirational manner that makes it easy for all employees to repeat it at any given time.
As you can see by this definition, a vision statement doesn’t actually have to be a statement, but rather a set of ideas or values that should lead the organization. A vision statement should act as a guidance for everyone and every decision your funeral home makes. In fact, one study found that “when leaders discuss their organizations’ vision in a specific way, not only is the vision better understood, the leaders are also seen as being more effective in general.”
What your funeral home’s vision shouldn’t be
If your funeral home’s vision isn’t used as a guidance for everything you do, it’s time for a revamp. There are two big problems I’ve noticed with many funeral home’s visions. More often than not, vision statements are simply corporate jargon bunched together in a sentence… but no one actually knows what it means.
For example, take this vision statement below:
“[Funeral Home] vows to be a progressive and innovative leader in funeral and cremation services. We will continue to be family owned and operated and dedicated to the families we serve. We will hold ourselves to the highest ethical standards and practices while providing meaningful services to each family. The families needs are a top priority for our staff. Our commitment to help families in their time of need is expressed in everything we do. That is the difference the family makes.”
In my opinion, this funeral home’s vision has a lot of great content in it, but it doesn’t use any specifics to make it unique to their funeral home.This the same problem I see with many funeral home vision statements. All too often, vision statements are simply something used to stamp on your coffee mug or company calendar. Rarely are they used the way they should be. If no one at your funeral home truly understands what your vision statement is, how can it serve its purpose? That’s a trick question, because it can’t.
Why a vision is SO important to your funeral home
Think about it for a second – if you set out to do something, it’s important that you have an end goal in mind. Without an end goal, it would be extremely hard to come up with a strategy to help you achieve it. The same goes for your funeral home. Without a vision, how can you create a business strategy that will help you achieve success?
To help drive this point home, I want to tell you a story I read recently about the then-CEO of Iams, a premium pet food company. His vision for Iams was to “improve the lives of cats and dogs”.
One day, he was offered an opportunity to be featured as the subject for a cover story in a leading business magazine. Even though most leaders would jump on that opportunity in a heartbeat, this CEO turned it down. When asked why he turned it down, he said “I just can’t see how that would improve the lives of dogs and cats.”
I love that story because it shows the importance of leading by example, and making decisions based on the vision you’ve created for your company.
A good vision statement should be so strong that is at the center of everything at your funeral home – your business strategy, marketing, customer service, guidelines for hiring (and firing), etc. It should be the number one thing you teach new hires during training, and the one statement that keeps the employees at your funeral home inspired and happy.
Creating your funeral home’s vision in 7 steps
Now that you know what a vision is and why it’s important, it’s time for you to start projecting the kind of success you know you’re capable of, right on into the future by creating your funeral home’s vision for 2019. Ready? Let’s begin!
Step 1: Take a look at the last vision you created
Before you begin any new journey, it’s always nice to start where you are. What was the last vision you created for your funeral home? Was it 10 years ago, or last year? It’s okay if you haven’t looked at your vision for a while, now is always the best time to begin again.
Once you dig up your vision, it’s time to evaluate how it aligns with your current funeral business. Here are some questions you could ask:
- Does this vision feel too small for our current business model?
- Does this vision invoke inspiration and passion amongst us?
- Do we really believe in the power of this vision?
- Does this vision align with our company values, and mission?
Once you answer these questions, it’s good to dive deeper into where you truly are coming from, so you know where you can launch from in 2019. The next few step below will help.
Step 2: Decide what your new vision is for
As you begin to think about your new vision, it’s good to think about if you want one vision for your funeral home, or one for different elements of your business. For example, at funeralOne, we have a separate for every company in our portfolio of businesses. We do this because a vision that is too all-encompassing can lose its meaning.
Decide if you want to have a vision for every aspect of your business, or if it would be more effective if you came up with a separate vision for, say, your crematory. There’s no right answer to this one – do whatever feels right for your business.
Step 3: Write down your goals
]Ultimately, what good are you aiming to do in your world? What lasting differences do you want to make? This will be the hardest part to write, but write it from the heart. Let it pour out. It shouldn’t be calculated. It should be, at the core, what you wish most for your funeral home to accomplish.
Step 4: Figure out your strengths
What benefits do your products or services deliver to your families? What problems do they solve? How do families planning their services with your firm? After you’re done answering those questions, ask the same ones about your team. What traits does your team need to have to help your families? While great products and services are great, the team behind them is just as important.
Step 5: Create a set of core values to back it up
What core values or ideologies will your funeral home live by to ensure that every person you hire or product you offer is in line with your vision statement? Make a list of 5-10 ideas or values to support your vision statement. These should be strong enough to support your vision statement and used as a framework for just about everything at your funeral home.
Step 6: Use your family testimonials and the “Start, Stop, Keep” method
Now that you have a pretty good idea of where you’re headed, it’s good to look at your family feedback from last year and ask yourself (or even better, your whole funeral home team) these 3 questions:
What will you have to start new in 2019?
Looking at these testimonials, what new ideas do you have for 2019? New services? New approaches? Don’t take on more than you can chew, and also be weary not to limit yourself. Find a few things that feel really good to start, and focus on those.
What will have to be stopped or discontinued from last year?
Looking at what didn’t go well is pointing to the growth that’s presenting itself to your funeral home business. If you ignore it, the problem won’t only persist, but it may get bigger. So take the time now to address the less-than-ideal aspects of 2018, so that 2019 can be a much greater success for you.
What will take you take with you from last year?
Looking back on this year, what went really well? List ALL the small things, and the big things. This question is super important! If you’re having a hard time coming up with answers, open up the space for everyone at your funeral home to feel safe expressing the answers to this question.
Step 7: Finally, get to envisioning (and writing) your vision!
We wouldn’t put together a vision blog for you without asking you to envision success for yourself in 2019. Have one person take notes, and a few others join in and co-create this vision.
Close your eyes and begin to draw up a real life experience of what success will look like for you this year, one year from now. Go through all the senses. What sounds are there? Images? What are you wearing? What does your funeral home smell like? Who is around you? What’s the temperature like? Use as many details as possible to draw up this vision, and make sure you give enough time for someone to take notes!
When it comes time to format it into a vision statement, remember: you know your funeral home better than anyone else. Copying and pasting someone else’s vision statement won’t serve you very well. You want to write something that will inspire greatness from you and everyone at your funeral home, so make it personal and visionary.
When you’re done writing, make sure to get input from others on your team, and don’t be afraid of the word “revision”. I know some companies who have been in the process of revising their vision statement for years. Just like a great work of art, sometimes a great vision is never finished.
An example of a truly remarkable vision statement to inspire you
Before you put that pen to paper, I want to leave you inspired with one of my favorite vision statements of all time. This vision statement was written by one of my favorite delis in Michigan, Zingerman’s. They’re regularly ranked as one of the Top 25 Food Markets In The World, and the people working there know how to truly run an amazing business from the top down.
Zingerman’s took a different approach to their vision statement; they made it a story. Their vision was written for an addition to their business – a farmer’s market that would be hosted in their parking lot every Thursday. It was written before this farmer’s market ever existed, but what makes it even more amazing is that if you visit that farmer’s market today, this is exactly what you’ll find.
Read Zingerman’s vision statement here:
It’s the longest day of the year; the sun is at its pinnacle of warmth and light. Throngs of people are milling around the Roadhouse parking lot, amazed and excited at the abundance of locally produced goods, ranging from several gorgeous varieties of tomatoes to handmade soap and artisan crafts, to herbs and plants, plus a very strong synergy of Zingerman’s items—cheese from the Creamery, breads from the Bakehouse, and the ever-energetic Roadshow crew caffeinating all the vendors and customers. Every vendor is selling the best of what there is to offer, growing or producing themselves what they sell. There’s a tangible truth patrons have come to trust—that all these products have a story and none of them traveled very far to get here. Tents and awnings cover the stalls, creating a colorful and festive mood. There are 15–20 vendors at the Market, so it’s accessible and maintains variety but remains magnetic and welcoming.
The West Side Farmer’s Market continues to provide our customers with the best products available and serves as a catalyst for community development by offering an educational component and a local music scene. We have space reserved for weekly scheduled acts, including local musicians, demonstrations, and educational activities. Several people recognize the Roadhouse chefs selecting vegetables from the Market’s vendors for the weekend’s menus at the Roadhouse. The market is a family event, where parents bring their children after school and shop for fresh produce. After shopping, families enjoy a snack at our picnic tables. Guests are thrilled with the produce, the chance to visit with neighbors, and best of all, to connect with the farmers who actually grow their food.
This year, the WSFM planning committee is helping to generate interest and support for the market throughout the area business community. Local businesses hang posters or hand out fliers about the market and participate in promotions that encourage their customers to visit. These companies recognize the potential for the market to draw additional patrons to the area and increase business throughout the West Side. These developing relationships with area businesses and the neighborhood at large are enabling the WSFM to become a more self-sustaining entity. While Zingerman’s remains an active and essential supporter of the Market, the WSFM is a self-sustaining entity.
While Zingerman’s vision statement is a long, beautifully written story, it doesn’t have to be that long to be meaningful. Take Amazon’s vision statement, for example. It’s only one sentence, but it’s meaningful, unique to them, and all-encompassing to their core values and ideologies:
“Our vision is to be earth’s most customer centric company; to build a place where people can come to find and discover anything they might want to buy online.”
Now, make sure to hold on to your vision and put it in a place where it can feel not just important, but sacred to your funeral home. This is the gold of your funeral business, that you can look back on for years to come. Consider your vision a lighthouse that will attract to you the kinds of revenue, client families, employees, and services that are going to best serve your funeral home’s business. his is an incredibly powerful manifestation practice that works wonders, so give it a try!
Good job, well done, and be sure to share your vision with us in the comments below! 👇
Want to show off your vision on a beautifully designed website that speaks to your client families? Try out f1Connect, our all-in-one website platform, by reaching out to one of our Funeral Success Specialists today!