Alverna Cher has worked in several fields, but to her own surprise, she ended up as a funeral director. Now, through her business, City Funeral Singapore she is helping clients and their families prepare themselves for their ‘last journey.’
What’s your story?
I started my entrepreneurial journey in 2007, when I was 25 years old as an employment agent. After 4 years, the business was suspended for a period of 5 years. After suffering a hit in my recruitment business, I switched industries to education, telling myself to ‘never stop learning and to invest in yourself.’ I furthered my knowledge in 2012 in the education industry and was accredited with a facilitator role for ‘Focus on Family’ at the same time as I was working with MindChamps as an education coach, before I fully committed to staying at home in 2013 to work with my daughter.
However, I never would have expected I would become a funeral director, overnight!
I had to learn from scratch how to operate a funeral business. From learning to comforting grieving families, to how to wrap the deceased’s body for transportation and the correct position to carry the deceased’s body, I do it all.
After 10 months of the business operating, I launched “Last Journey” in January 2016. “Last Journey” is about educating the community on how to be prepared for the death of a loved one. I also provide funeral assistance to those with less fortunate or needy families. I have since helped 3 needy elderly people and their families with their last journey.
My focus now is to bring City Funeral Singapore Pte Ltd to a higher level. I believe in providing a holistic service to my clients and their families. These holistic services include, providing will writing, estate planning and implementing the plan for their ‘Last Journey.’
What excites you most about your industry?
We are not only serving the dead, we are also serving the living and educating the community the importances of pre-planning their “Last Journey.” Although our business is a traditional business, we are constantly catching up with market trends. City Funeral came up with “Last Journey” apps to help our clients get things done using technology.
What’s your connection to Asia?
Our next venture is to bring the “Last Journey” apps across Asia, starting with Malaysia and China.
Favourite city in Asia for business and why?
Singapore and China. For a home-grown Singaporean, I’m always proud to do business here. It’s a place where many expertise are shared and learned selflessly. We can improvise and expand it other country from Singapore.
As for China, it’s a huge market for business expansion and with my connections in China, it makes the business expanding easier.
What’s the best piece of advice you ever received?
‘Gear up on emotional intelligence.’ This helps me to function better in terms of self-awareness, self-motivation and social skills.
Who inspires you?
My trade mentor who is 83 years old inspired me to be resilient. She told me of her hardships during her younger days and encouraged me to pursue my dreams.
What have you just learnt recently that blew you away?
We recently started giving seminars on pre-planning your last journey and will planning. We have been overwhelmed with the signup rates. People are keen to understand how to plan their wealth and how to plan their last journey. We set up a free planner care system quiz for people to help them understand their planning style and planning needs. https://cityfuneral.typeform.com/to/oEZQXf
If you had your time again, what would you do differently?
If I could turn back time, I will ensure SOP was setup prior to the operation of the business. It took me a while to implement it. I would have hired a mentor in sales and marketing, this would have saved my time and allowed me to do more important decision making for the business. However, I’m still very grateful for what I learnt and who I’m today.
How do you unwind?
I enjoy visiting beaches and unwinding with the sea breeze, drinking a glass of wine and reading a book.
Favourite Asian destination for relaxation? Why?
Singapore. It’s safe and my family are here.
Everyone in business should read this book:
7 habits of highly effective people
Shameless plug for your business:
City Funeral Singapore Pte Ltd is a one-stop solution and service for the deceased and their families.
OUR MISSION is to provide care and help to family and friends that are preparing for the last journey of their loved ones. We create community awareness for the pre-planning of their final journey and will planning.
OUR FOCUS is to always provide the family with care and love.
We offer plans for the preparation of the last journey together with will planning, estate planning and our creation of pre-planning for the “last journey” apps as well as a planner care system quiz. We provide personalized consultations and we collaborate with corporate companies, hospitals, elderly homes and insurance companies to provide pre-planning seminars for their employees and clients. We care for the less fortunate as well and offer a series of events for fundraising and community awareness to give back.
How can people connect with you?
Connect with me through FaceBook , https://www.facebook.com/alverna.cher https://www.facebook.com/cityfuneralsingapore/
Connect with me through instagram, https://www.instagram.com/cityfuneralsingapore/
Connect with me through Google+, search for City Funeral Singapore Pte Ltd
Connect with me through Linkedin, search for City Funeral Singapore Pte Ltd
Connect with me through YouTube, search for City Funeral Singapore Pte Ltd
Connect with me through my website, https://www.cityfuneralsingapore.com/advance-planning-funeral/.
This interview is part of the ‘Callum Connect’ series of more than 500 interviews
Callum Laing is an entrepreneur and investor based in Singapore. He has previously started, built and sold half a dozen businesses and is now a Partner at Unity-Group Private Equity and Co-Founder of The Marketing Group PLC. He is the author two best selling books ‘Progressive Partnerships’ and ‘Agglomerate’.