Monday, October 13, 2014

Are you a "next gen?" You're not alone.

Ethan Darby,
Director of Business
Before coming into the funeral industry, I had no idea how many companies were family ran. I think there is something special about a family run funeral home, vault dealer or cemetery.

The traditional evolution of a family business is the succession of the next generation. As part of this next generation in the funeral industry, I can tell you that our voices are often muffled, and rightfully so. We are lacking the experience and industry knowledge that our family members have earned over many years of hard work. The problem with this is, without a voice, we cannot properly learn to run a company on our own. This can cause a halt in the evolution of the family business. Here are a few things you need to know about your next generation coming up:
  1. We do have good ideas. An outsider’s perspective can be invaluable. If you are a next-gen, speak up. If you are an owner, listen. You may be surprised at what we have to say.
  2. Being heard means the world to us. Even if you don’t use our ideas, it means a lot just to know  you listened.
  3. Most of us don’t want anything handed to us. We know working hard and earning our way into the business gains respect. Respect is vitally important to us.
  4. We want responsibility. We want to know exactly what is expected of us, so we can prove ourselves.
  5. We want to be involved in the big picture. As family business owners, you have a huge advantage. You know exactly who will be running your business when you’re gone. Let us start learning how things work NOW. The more we learn now, the better off we’ll be when you hand over the reins.
Are you a member of the next generation trying to find your way into your family’s business? You’re not alone. Are you a family business owner trying to usher the next generation into your business? You’re not alone either. I cannot express the importance of understanding that there are others out there having very similar issues. I encourage you to reach out and have conversations with others in our industry. They may not have all answers for your issues, but I think we can all take some comfort in knowing we are not alone on this roller coaster we call the family business.

This article originally appeared in Trigard Tuesdays, our weekly electronic newsletter featuring information for the funeral industry. Sign up for your free subscription at

1 comment:

  1. Well said. It may be helpful to myself and others for someone other than ourselves to say these things to our predecessors. Thank you!!!!!