Friday, August 08, 2008

Radio Show Guest: Bay Gardens

Radio show guest: Bay Gardens

My radio show guest today was Jan Nichols, President of Bay Gardens Funeral Home. I first invited Jan to join me on Business in Motion three years ago when he opened a new funeral home in Burlington, Ontario. I was intrigued by the playful open-house invitations. Listeners of my radio show learned that Bay Gardens was a pioneer – not a copycat. Three years later and they are opening another new funeral home in Hamilton. That suggests that what they did is working. Successful entrepreneurs learn from the successful buisnesses around them - expecially from other industries.

There were a lot of powerful lessons and tidbits for entrepreneurs in this interview:

When entering a new market don’t follow the leaders, instead discover what the customers really want and deliver that. And it’s not that hard to “discover”. You only need to ask and listen.
When entering a competitive saturate market you must be different - very different.

Big surprise – people like to eat – even – especially at funerals. So Bay Gardens planned and built proper kitchen facilities into their new funeral homes. As you can imagine there are some real and perceived health issues about serving food in a funeral home. At Bay Gardens you won't find the – move the body out of the room and let’s eat now.

The funeral business has been a stodgy business steeped in taboos and silence. Even though we all will die – we don’t want to talk about the details. Silly but true.

The best way to build a business in a competitive market is by building relationships.

Little details are important.

Listen to your customers.

Listen to your staff.

Train your staff and give them the permission to do what you preach.

Ask for the business.

Train your staff to ask for the business.

Do things that your competition hasn't or won't do.

Be bold and don't apologize for it.

Be willing to annoy the competition.

As you can guess, it was another wonderfully instructive interview on Business in Motion. Thank you Jan Nichols, President of Bay Gardens.

George Torok

Host of Business in Motion

Hamilton Business Speaker

Canadian Business Speaker

No comments: