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Small Business Spotlight: Mansfield Funeral Home
The COVID-19 pandemic brought unforeseen challenges to many small business owners. However, some found opportunities to grow. In this blog, we follow up with Christie Moore, a funeral home owner who expanded her business with pet cremation services.
Last November, Christie K. Moore, CEO and Funeral Director of Mansfield Funeral Home, was running the funeral home, which she acquired in 2016, with plans to open a crematory on the property — while also running her second successful business, Peaceful Pets DFW, which she established in May 2020.
We wanted to share an update on Christie and her businesses nearly one year later.
The Current State of Mansfield Funeral Home and Peaceful Pets DFW
Today, Christie is busier and more successful than ever. Despite a global pandemic and an uncharacteristic ice storm in Texas that caused a wide variety of delays for businesses, Christie has forged on with her plans to add a crematory behind Mansfield Funeral Home. She is currently working to obtain the necessary permits to break ground while working hand-in-hand with The Bancorp funeral industry lending specialist, Teresa Carlson, to fund this expansion effort.
In addition to seeing this first phase of her expansion plan through, Christie has taken steps to begin the next two phases: adding pet aquamation for Peaceful Pets DFW, and becoming a hub for vet clinics and animal rescue centers. Christie’s mutually beneficial business plan is to engage vet clinics by contracting them for disposition agreements so they can branch out and open satellite offices to serve pets in different sections within the Dallas/Fort Worth (DFW) metroplex, with Peaceful Pets DFW in Arlington serving as the guiding central hub. This unique spin on expansion highlights the benefit of being both creative and nimble; by welcoming other clinics into this hub, Peaceful Pets DFW can serve more families without having to invest in physically building new clinics from the ground up.
Mansfield Funeral Home operates within a resilient industry. However, running a business amid a pandemic is sure to bring on challenges for any enterprise. While Mansfield Funeral Home has always offered a wide array of services, certain offerings such as personalized urns and memorial services, among others, were often underutilized by families. In fact, Mansfield has historically had more direct cremation contracts than cremations or burials with memorial services. Christie knew that she needed to find a way to highlight these existing service offerings to not only enhance the customer experience during times of grief, but to also increase revenue and profit to maintain the business' positive momentum.
Utilizing and building upon her detailed marketing plan, Christie and her team found creative ways to strategically showcase the inherent value in the products and services they offer to help families see that value as well.
Mansfield does not apply traditional sales tactics, but rather creates an environment in which families make their decisions organically. However, given the pandemic and a widespread desire for more person-to-person and in-person interaction — with the appropriate safety measures in place — Christie and her team gently guide families away from direct cremation to having an intimate memorial service in the prayer gardens or elsewhere at the funeral home. Mansfield has already seen success in this approach. Not only are more families now choosing to personalize their experience through these options, but the business has also experienced a year-over-year increase in the number of families served, complemented by an increase in the number of visitors to Mansfield’s website.
Despite a global pandemic, Christie has found and continues to find success; she runs two successful small businesses and is making exponential strides in her expansion plans. In fact, her businesses are so successful and flourishing at such a fast rate that she’s currently looking to grow her staff to support the increase in business.
Amid the success, Christie and her team have broken a number of industry norms, including being recognized by Top Rated® Local as the #1 Funeral Homes & Services business in Texas in 2018 and 2019, and #3 in 2020.1
Extending Advice to Other Small Business Owners
There are a number of things that led Christie to achieve her current level of success and she shared her top four pieces of advice for other small business owners looking to establish and grow their businesses:
- “Don’t be afraid to ask for help or advice from other business owners.” There is no better sounding board than a seasoned business owner, manager, or lender. Business owners should take advantage of their professional network by reaching out for advice from someone who is in the same industry or who has been through something similar. There is no shame in asking for help when needed.
- “Learn quickly what works for your business, and what does not.” The only way to know if something works for a business is to try it out. Failure is okay! Maybe a certain marketing tactic doesn’t yield the anticipated results, or maybe it does and becomes a mainstay of a long-term marketing plan. Learning what doesn’t work can prompt strategic pivot plans that will ultimately uncover what does work, and owners will be able to continue on with confidence that their tactics are contributing to the success of the business and its long-term growth.
- “Don’t let other businesses around you who may not be doing well make you feel that your business isn’t going to make it.” It can be easy to let news of other businesses who aren’t faring so well affect an owner’s mindset or outlook on the business’ future. There are many factors that contribute to a business’ success — the industry, current events, talent, access to capital and more. A business may have strengths where others have weaknesses, and vice versa. Owners shouldn’t compare their business to another and to avoid doing so, they should try to tune out any negative news.
- “Stay focused on your purpose, and all will be well.” At the core of every small business is a dedicated owner whose purpose is closely tied to their business’ mission. By staying focused, even when feeling like they’re being pulled in many different directions, owners can continue to build on positive momentum, ultimately increasing their success. Business owners who are finding it hard to do this while wearing so many different hats should consider expanding their core team to include a few seasoned professionals who can be trusted to run other aspects of the business so the owner can focus on whatever their strong suit is.
Why Finding the Right Partner is Critical to a Small Business’ Longevity
Before a business owner can start crafting an expansion plan, they must lay a strong foundation for the business that can support sustainable growth. Part of laying that groundwork requires establishing a solid team of professionals with varying strengths who can guide the business toward success. One critical team member who should not be overlooked is the financial partner — whether a consultant, advisor, or lender. By selecting a partner who can do it all, such as an experienced and dependable financial lender like The Bancorp, business owners can lean on their partner when they need it most.
A perfect example is that of Christie and Teresa, who have forged a tight-knit bond as they’ve embarked on this expansion plan together. And because Teresa has practically been with Christie since the beginning, Christie doesn’t view Teresa as just a banker, but as her mentor as well. Christie can call Teresa and bounce ideas off of her, knowing that Teresa will always find a way to help her achieve her goals, no matter how high the bar is set.
It’s important for small businesses to not only have a financial lender, but the right financial lender who can help fund expansion and navigate loan processes, while also opening a whole new realm of opportunities for the future of a small business owner.
1. Top Rated® Local.
Opinions, findings, or perspectives contained in this blog are those of the authors.
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