Colette Kemp pursued her dreams of becoming a successful entrepreneur after moving to the US from England, becoming the owner of Kemp Funeral Group, Inc. Living in Fort Myers, Florida, where her main business Kemp Funeral Group is located. Kemp Funeral Group is focused on acquiring and developing independent funeral homes in the Southeast and Florida. The company aims to help its clients seamlessly transition into retirement through its various services.
As the company’s director of business development, she has gained extensive experience in developing and implementing marketing and sales strategies. In addition to being able to lead a team, she has also learned about the importance of customer service.
Before she co-founded Kemp Funeral Group, she was a well-traveled individual who had worked on a luxury yacht. She was able to travel extensively during her career as a chief stewardess aboard a luxury yacht. She visited various European countries, the Caribbean, and the East Coast of the US.
Colette also co-founded a marine engineering company known as Kemplon Engineering. It was focused on providing ship repair services. Her entrepreneurial skills were significantly improved during her time with Kemplon Engineering. Her passion for business and her previous experience in the luxury yacht industry were the inspirations for her to co-found Kemplon Engineering. At Kemplon Engineering, she was responsible for overseeing the company’s various operations. She was also able to travel to multiple parts of the country to meet with clients and manage the company’s different logistics. Due to her success in this industry, many people were surprised when she decided to leave her job and start her own business.
In addition to being able to lead a team, she also managed the company’s finances and logistics.
Colette has been able to grow the company from a startup to multi-million-dollar revenue. She has also been instrumental in developing and leading the team.
Colette also worked as a Principal for a company known as The Right Hire, Inc. Through their recruitment process; they were able to place nursing assistants in facilities that provide senior care in Florida. Seeing her career journey, Colette is grateful for the sacrifices she made in order to pursue her entrepreneurial dreams. Despite the high risks she took, she was able to make a successful transition to the US.
Currently, she is a contributing editor to a variety of publications, including trade magazines and weekly small business blogs. She is also a member of the local chapter of the international organization of Toastmasters International.
As a female entrepreneur, she supports other female business owners and enjoys seeing them succeed in their chosen industries. She also enjoys being able to connect with other women in the funeral industry. Other areas of interest she enjoys writing and keeping up on include trends in hiring, work-from-home, and finance options.
Outside of work, she also enjoys volunteering and supporting various animal rescues. She has been able to adopt multiple animals, such as horses and dogs.
Learn more about Colette on her LinkedIn!
Where did the idea for your career come from?
I ran an engineering company for 15 years and thoroughly enjoyed being in operations and growing a business but I always had the nagging feeling I wanted to be in a business that was more focused on helping people. I began searching for other industries where I could add value based on my skill set. Before owning my first business I worked in hospitality so I wanted to incorporate that knowledge into my next venture. I also learned about the concept of growing a business by acquiring other businesses and grouping them together, this appealed to me as starting a business from scratch is something that takes a lot of time.
After lots of research, I found the funeral profession to be a sector where I could incorporate meaningful work with the skills I now have and be able to help owners who may not have a suitable successor.
What does your typical day look like and how do you make it productive?
I am up at 5 am and I start my day with some reading and journaling followed by exercising with my dogs.
I use the Ivy Lee Method as a way to plan my day and work on high-priority tasks. I genuinely enjoy my work so I typically like to work a 12-hour day. One of the things I do to keep myself productive is to turn off all notifications on my phone to eliminate distractions.
How do you bring ideas to life?
I’m very creative so I keep an “idea” log in my cell phone notes. If I have an idea I jot it down and either go back to it when the time is right or save it for future review and/or implementation.
What’s one trend that excites you?
I love people and technology so I am excited to see how those two things will merge together in the future of funeral service. In a business that is steeped in tradition, it will be very interesting to see how technology will become an integral part of the human experience when remembering the life of a loved one.
What is one habit of yours that makes you more productive as an entrepreneur?
Daily exercise is something that helps me to keep a clear head, stay focused, and feel energized.
What advice would you give your younger self?
Believe in yourself and think bigger than you can currently imagine.
Tell us something that’s true that almost nobody agrees with you on.
The biggest bottleneck in any small business is usually the owner.
As an entrepreneur, what is the one thing you do over and over and recommend everyone else do?
The practice of daily learning and keeping an open mind.
What is one strategy that has helped you grow your business?
In my engineering business, I learned how to market effectively and reach out to targeted potential clients to strategically grow sales. I did not do what everyone else was doing.
Instead of just attending networking events, I hosted them. This was a great way to get noticed and we would always make sure they were unique and fun. My team and I would be onsite to make everyone feel welcome and we would invite industry people that we wanted to work with or partner with. It was a strategy that served us well.
What is one failure you had as an entrepreneur, and how did you overcome it?
Well, there’s never just one, but the one I learned from the most was having one client take up too much of our sales and resources. We overcame it by going out into the marketplace and obtaining additional clients.
What is one business idea that you’re willing to give away to our readers?
One business idea I could give is offering event services to people who have lost a loved one as a way to remember them and have meaningful family get-togethers as time goes on. You could offer these event planning services for any special occasion that would have been celebrated with that loved one.
What is the best $100 you recently spent? What and why?
I became a member of the Association of accredited small business consultants. I am currently studying for their certification. I joined because it will help me to better analyze businesses I am reviewing to acquire and I can also offer consulting services within my new industry, which I think would be very beneficial.
What is one piece of software or a web service that helps you be productive?
HubSpot. Tracking all our contacts and keeping notes organized so we know when to reach back out to business owners who may want to talk in the future.
What is the one book that you recommend our community should read and why?
The Emyth by Michael Gerber. If you are a business owner this is a must. I read it years ago and it helps you to understand the different ways a business owner behaves and how you can grow a business instead of creating a job.
What is your favorite quote?
“If you work just for money, you’ll never make it, but if you love what you’re doing and you always put the customer first, success will be yours.” – Ray Kroc
- Believe in yourself
- Don’t be afraid to fail
- Create a business not a job
- Never stop learning and growing as you build your business
Steve (Stefan) Junge hails from Germany and helps with the day-to-day publishing of interviews on IdeaMensch. While he and Mario don’t share a favorite soccer club, their enthusiasm to help entrepreneurs is a shared passion.