Do you ever feel like there isn’t enough time in the day to accomplish all you need to or like you’re treading water and barely keeping up with your competitors? For small business owners, scheduling time for success makes all the difference according to Clay Clark, founder of Thrive15. Clay has built several successful companies over the past 15 years and plans to launch more using time-tested strategies. His keynote at OGR’s Annual Conference & Supplier Showcase highlighted six of these strategies, which will help funeral service professionals increase the gross revenue of their businesses by ten percent this year.

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1. Develop a growth mindset.

How much time do you spend on a daily basis educating yourself? Clay challenges funeral service professionals to schedule 15-30 minutes each day for ongoing education and reading business books, articles and blogs. By making time for ongoing education, you’re prioritizing personal and professional growth.

Reading Recommendations to Get You Started:
– Mindset: The New Psychology of Success by Carol S. Dweck, Ph.D.
– The 21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership by John C. Maxwell.


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2. Systematically develop your network.

According to Porter Gale, former VP of Marketing for Virgin America, “Your social capital, or your ability to build a network of authentic personal and professional relationships, not your financial capital, is the most important asset in your portfolio.” Make time in your daily schedule to network with people who have influence. This will enable you to reach a higher level of success than you would on your own.

Additional suggestions include:
– Form a Google My Business/Places account to share your funeral home’s contact information.
– Ask for 50 reviews in the next 30 days by sending pre-written reviews to families to share on Google. This expands your business’s network and promotes what your funeral home has to offer. See this blog post for suggestions on how to word this letter.

Reading Recommendation to Apply This Principle:
– Ultimate Sales Machine by Chet Holmes.


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3. Install proven time-management systems.

Business isn’t the only area of your life that matters. Clay challenges funeral service professionals to examine their calendars and schedule time not just for business, but also for friends, family, and faith. Put a date night with your spouse on the calendar and then keep the appointment. Schedule time to attend your child’s soccer game and then go to it. Commit to going to your church, synagogue, or mosque and keep that commitment. Don’t make business so much the priority that you neglect other areas of your life that are of equal importance.


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4. Go the extra mile.

Do you survey families after they’ve used your funeral home? If you’re not involved in a family feedback program (like OGR’s Family Contact Program), you should be. How else will you know what families really think? After you’ve served a family, follow up with them three months later and check in and see how they’re doing. Mail a card, send an email, or make a phone call and just check in. Families will thank you for thinking of them.

Another way to go above and beyond is to make sure you’re taking care of your staff. Work your way into your staff members’ (or coworkers’) hearts and minds by creating a checklist of ways you can show your appreciation (see ideas here and here). You want to keep the good people you have.

Additional suggestions include:
– Create a Net Promoter Score survey for your website using Survey Monkey. The net promoter score is a measure of how likely a company is to be referred by customers. Once you’ve created the survey, begin paying attention to the responses and develop quality control checklists that contain action points that are guaranteed to grow your Net Promoter Score and help you go the extra mile.

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5. Never feel bad about saying no.

Do you find yourself with lunch dates that aren’t beneficial for your business or your personal life? Go through your average work week and examine which invitations don’t fit with your professional and personal goals. If the lunch date isn’t productive, decline it. Don’t be afraid to ask yourself why you’re involved in something and to remove yourself from it if it’s not productive. Keep in mind that 20 percent of your invested input leads to 80 percent of your results.


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6. Build success into your daily agenda.

Realize the value of your time and don’t waste it. Create one master to-do list and one master agenda for your life, and go over it every morning before you start your day.

By developing a growth mindset, systematically developing your network, installing proven time-management systems, going the extra mile with families and staff, never feeling bad about saying no, and building success into your daily agenda, you’re well on your way to thriving and growing your business.

Are you currently implementing any of these strategies? Which can you start today?

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Mark Allen, CAE
OGR Executive Director



Many thanks to Clay Clark for providing this valuable insight. To learn more about Clay and Thrive15, visit or

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Jessica A. Smith
OGR Assistant Executive Director