If you’ve wanted to start a business and your family members have too, why not start a family business? Working alongside family members can provide unique benefits of trust, loyalty, and familiarity that you simply can’t get elsewhere. Although there are challenges to running a business with family, when done right, the rewards go far beyond just making money.
But what if you don’t know what kind of business to start? Sometimes that can be the toughest part.
Luckily, there are a few classic ideas for a family business.
1. Etsy Shop
Gift-giving can be hard, especially for people who have everything. Etsy sellers often save the day by offering gifts that you simply can’t find anywhere else. Their handcrafted, quirky, unique finds are quite memorable. So, if you’ve got the talent to make something, this might be the right choice for you.
Etsy also features vintage goods, too, so if you love antiques, you might decide to resell these items, too. Over 95 million people are active buyers on Etsy, it has 7.3 million sellers. This means there is competition but still a lot of room for new vendors to offer their goods.
2. Tree Farm or Nursery
A tree farm or nursery is an agricultural venture dedicated to growing and selling trees, shrubs, plants, and sometimes even produce. Such a business is ideal for families for a multitude of reasons. To begin with, managing a tree farm or nursery is a hands-on endeavor that requires knowledge passed down through generations.
An elder’s understanding of planting cycles, soil health, and local ecosystems can be invaluable. Family members can each take charge of different aspects, such as caring for the plants, handling finances, marketing, and customer service. This division of labor can streamline operations and ensure each area receives dedicated attention.
Another thing, a tree farm or nursery can serve as an educational platform for younger family members. It teaches them about nature, responsibility, and the intricacies of running a business. With the increasing global emphasis on sustainability and green living, family-run tree farms or nurseries can position themselves as eco-friendly businesses. This makes them appealing to a growing demographic of environmentally-conscious consumers. The bond of family, combined with the shared passion for nature, can lead to a prosperous and fulfilling family venture.
3. Clothing Reseller
If you have new or gently used clothes, you can easily get started with reselling clothing online. And, if you have the patience to shop at thrift stores and comb through the labels to find out what’s hot and what’s not, that’s even better.
Here are a few platforms to get started with reselling clothing:
- The RealReal
You can divide these business duties among family members.
- First, you’ll need to find items to sell. This is often referred to as sourcing.
- Next, you’ll need to take photos of your items.
- You’ll need to create listings with accurate descriptions of what you’re selling, especially if the items are secondhand or vintage.
- Finally, after each sale, you’ll need to pack and ship your item to the buyer.
4. Furniture Restoration
If you like working with furniture, you could make a good amount of money from this hobby. Especially if you can get old or damaged furniture for cheap and redesign it, flipping it for a profit can be a money-maker.
Sometimes, all it takes is some sandpaper, spray paint, and a few other tools to transform something old into something new. And, in fact, some shoppers truly prefer original creations like this rather than poorly made items from big-box stores.
You can start your venture by selling your items locally through word of mouth, at a flea market, or at pop-up street fairs or artisan craft festivals. One member of the family could focus on the publicity side of this venture.
5. Bakery Business
A bakery business can be any business that produces and sells baked goods like bread, pastries, cakes, cookies, and other confectioneries. Starting a bakery can be a wonderful family business idea for several reasons.
Firstly, recipes and baking techniques can be passed down through generations. This preserves family traditions and flavors that make the business unique and authentic. Families can combine the old with the new, experimenting with traditional recipes while incorporating contemporary tastes and designs. This fusion often results in delectable goods that stand out in the market. Furthermore, working together in a bakery can foster close-knit relationships among family members.
Tasks like kneading dough, decorating cakes, and handling customer orders become collaborative efforts. The division of responsibilities can be based on each member’s strengths and passions. This can range from managing the business and marketing to actual baking and designing. Operating a bakery with family members can also instill a sense of pride, knowing that each baked good sold reflects collective effort, love, and commitment.
6. Pet Sitting Business
If you love animals, this might be the family business for you.
It’s important to treat the animals entrusted to your care as if they were your own. This means the animals must be in a safe, healthy, clean environment. Nothing will make you lose a customer faster than if an animal is returned to its owner dirty or harmed, or worse, if you lose someone’s beloved pet.
7. Farmer’s Market Vendor
If you’re already gardening and you know how to grow fruits and vegetables, then selling your produce at a farmer’s market could be a natural transition for you.
You will need to gather your produce for sale and decide where to sell it.
In order to make the most profits and cultivate a loyal customer following, you might even decide to create a website to advertise where you will be selling. Creating a customer mailing list with recipes could be another option.
8. Print-on-Demand Business
If you’re drawn to selling products online but don’t have ample storage space, then a print-on-demand business might suit you.
Rather than looking for one item to sell to one customer, print-on-demand operates a bit differently. With this business, you create a design. This design doesn’t get produced until a customer makes a purchase. Your designs can appear on t-shirts, socks, hats, or coffee cups.
This is a great idea for families that like to create. Every family member can create their own designs and place them on the items they feel work best. This will give each member of the family a way to participate in the product development process.
9. Home Repair Business
A home repair business focuses on fixing a wide range of issues in residential properties, including but not limited to electrical work, plumbing, carpentry, and other structural repairs. Running a family-owned home repair business can be fulfilling and profitable.
Family members with varying expertise can come together to offer a comprehensive range of services to homeowners. For instance, while one person may be skilled in electrical repairs, another might excel in carpentry. This diversity in skill sets ensures that the family business can cater to a wide array of client needs without having to outsource. Trust is a crucial factor in this industry.
Homeowners need to believe in the reliability and integrity of the repair personnel they let into their homes. A family-run operation often exudes a higher level of trustworthiness, as clients perceive that family members will uphold their reputation and quality of work more fiercely than hired employees. Also, family members can pool resources, share responsibilities, and offer mentorship to younger generations, ensuring the continuity and growth of the business.
10. Family Restaurant
This is perhaps one of the oldest types of a family business. Consider the type of cuisine your family should offer. Is there a special recipe in your family that you’re proud of? Perhaps something that is a nod to your family heritage?
It takes a lot of work to make a restaurant successful. Consider how you’ll split the responsibilities. Divide tasks based on each person’s strengths and interests. Also, keep in mind if someone admits a weakness, do your best to keep them away from that task.
For example, who wants to work directly with customers, and who does not? Who in the family is great with numbers and spreadsheets? Be smart about which family members will excel working face-to-face with customers, and which family members would be best at managing cash flow, negotiating with vendors, etc. Consider the strengths of each person so your business will be successful.
11. Catering Business
Similar to starting a restaurant, you’ll need to carefully evaluate how each family member will fit into this business idea. Also, you’ll want to scope out the competition to find out how your family would be able to compete with the existing competition and acquire new customers.
Catering, in general, offers some distinct challenges. This business idea requires a delicate balance of teamwork – given that caterers provide their services at so many different places. So, if you doubt that harmony is lacking in your family, you may want to consider another option.
12. Car Detailing
Car detailing is a thorough cleaning and reconditioning process for both the interior and exterior of vehicles. This business idea is all about making cars look their best and restoring them to their original condition.
A family-run car detailing business is a great idea because it offers opportunities for various family members to specialize in different tasks. Some can focus on interior cleaning, ensuring that seats, carpets, and other surfaces are meticulously cleaned and treated, while others can specialize in exterior polishing, waxing, and repair. Moreover, starting a family car detailing business can instill values of hard work, precision, and attention to detail in younger members.
The business can also foster trust among customers, as they often feel more confident entrusting their vehicles to a reputable family-owned operation. Personalized services, family-friendly rates, and the assurance of quality workmanship from a team that treats the enterprise as more than just a job can make a family detailing business thrive in a competitive market.
Starting a family business can be rewarding. Sometimes, finding the right idea can be challenging. However, once you’ve determined a direction, you’re on your way to an exciting business journey.