9 Tips for Setting and Achieving Your Funeral Home Business Goals

How often do you evaluate existing business goals and set new ones? Effective goals can help you plan ahead for the future, get better results, improve the service you provide to client families and help unite your staff around a common cause. But like many planning activities, goal-setting can often get lost amidst the day-to-day demands of operating a successful funeral home.

There are countless tools to help make goal planning a little easier and ensure your firm can achieve those goals. Keep reading to discover nine tips to help you set and achieve your funeral home business goals, or jump to the section that you're most interested in:

  1. Use SMART Goals
  2. Give Yourself Flexibility
  3. Consider Factors That Could Affect Your Success
  4. Break Your Big Goals Into Smaller Goals
  5. Celebrate the Milestones
  6. Keep Your Goals Visible
  7. Share with Others
  8. Be Inspired
  9. Be Kind to Yourself


1. Use SMART Goals

One strategy for developing a goal is to use the S.M.A.R.T. acronym. Although the words that form the acronym vary across different sources, the purpose of the exercise is the same: ensuring you’re able to achieve what you set out to do. Addressing each of the elements in this goal-setting tool will help you set effective, attainable goals for your funeral home business.


Is your goal’s scope clearly defined? Each goal should be detailed enough that everyone on your staff understands what they are working to achieve. Long-term objectives tend to be looser in their definitions, but each of your goals for the coming year needs to be clear-cut.


How will you know whether your firm is progressing toward goal achievement? Set a concrete benchmark—usually, this involves a specific number or percentage—so you’ll be able to track your progress toward the goal. Keep staff members informed of progress and ensure their efforts are recognized.


Is your goal realistic – and do members of your funeral home staff agree? The best way to ensure buy-in from your entire team is to consult with them when setting goals. They’ll be able to help you uncover potential challenges that may arise when working toward a goal – or tell you if you can realistically aim even higher. The staff members will also be able to help identify what additional resources will be required or how your current resources may be used more efficiently to meet your goals.

Note: An alternate “A” for this acronym is “action-oriented,” which ties in well with “achievable.” A goal should require work on the part of each staff member, and the expectations for each person’s role in the achievement of the goal should be made clear.


Does your goal match your firm’s culture and the vision you’ve set for your business? You work hard to differentiate your funeral home from others in your market, so it’s important to consider whether a new goal will help or hinder those efforts. Will your short-term goals put you on track to meet your long-term objectives while maintaining (or even better, exceeding) the high standards you’ve set for the services you provide?


What is your firm’s timeline for achieving the goal? It’s important to ensure that your entire goal is achievable, and that includes the deadline you set for completion. This is another area in which it’s important to solicit feedback from members of your team. They will also be able to help you set a reasonable timeline for achieving the goal. Where will you be at the “halfway” mark of your goal achievement period? Knowing this and being able to identify other important milestones will help keep your team motivated.

2. Give Yourself Flexibility

Another important element to consider in goal achievement is flexibility. It can be tempting to think that the goal-setting process is done once you’ve addressed each of the elements above, but it’s impossible to account for every possible scenario your funeral home business may encounter.

3. Consider Factors That Could Affect Your Success

As you continuously set and monitor your goals, consider the following factors that can make an impact on the success of your funeral business.

Competitive Environment

Do you have a good understanding of your competitors in the area and your firm’s strengths or weaknesses compared to their offerings? For that matter, do you know how families in your community perceive your funeral home brand? If the answer is “no,” it may be time to conduct market research to better understand how to position your firm with potential client families.

Effective Marketing

Are your marketing efforts generating valuable results for your firm? As technology improves our understanding of consumer behavior, business owners have even greater insight into their most effective marketing methods. While tracking the business impact of various marketing efforts can still pose challenges (especially if this hasn’t been a strong discipline for your firm in the past) there are more tools than ever to help you measure your return on investment. Establishing or reevaluating your methods for tracking results will help you make the most of your marketing budget.

Superior Service

What does “success” mean for your firm when it comes to client satisfaction – and how will you determine if you’re meeting the mark? Asking the right questions when you collect customer feedback can help you identify factors that make families more likely to become loyal brand advocates. In addition, keep in mind that firms earning continued business and referrals are not only able to provide outstanding service, but also communicate the value of that service to families. 

Professional Development

What opportunities will help you and your colleagues expand your skills? Making an investment in relevant training and mentoring can not only result in more efficient and effective business practices, but also improve the quality of your funeral home workplace environment.


The larger your goal, the smaller the pieces you’ll need for success. Three hundred and sixty-five days is a long time, so breaking your goal down into daily, weekly or monthly tasks can help you stay on track. For example, if you’re hoping to earn a new accreditation or transition your funeral home to a new computer system, you will need to break these goals into bite-sized increments.


Now that you have daily, weekly and monthly goals, don’t forget to celebrate your accomplishments. Recognize when you’ve passed a significant milestone in your plan. If it’s in a professional setting, celebrate with your team. If it’s a personal goal, treat yourself to something you love, whether it’s a movie, a fancy coffee or a staycation at home.


It’s important to keep written goals where you can see them every day. Mine are on my bathroom mirror and in my calendar and planner. Choosing something you see every day is key. According to a recent goal-setting study, you are 42% more likely to reach your goals if you write them down.


Sharing your progress with others can help keep you accountable for your goals. To protect ourselves, we often avoid sharing the progress (or failures) we’ve made with others. Our leaders, colleagues, relatives and friends are our support systems. We should share our successes and failures with them to help stay on track.


Your attitude can have a huge effect on accomplishing your goals. If you’re feeling negative about your situation and your progress, that negativity will spread to every area of your life. You are the one that decides how you will approach the activities that help you reach your goals.


Your days are complicated, and no two are alike. You will experience some failure while working toward your goals. Make sure you have a plan for when things go off track and forgive yourself when things don’t work out. Remember that you are unique and your contributions matter.

Periodically review your funeral home's business goals and ask for additional feedback from your staff members. By staying actively involved with the goals you’ve set, you’ll help your firm achieve what you set out to do—for the betterment of your business and the families you serve.

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