Transforming family fun into a family business

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Here at LegalZoom, we've always encouraged budding entrepreneurs to make money doing what they love. In September 2009, we told you all about Elaine's Toffee Company and how LegalZoom helped founder Janet Long build her business and increase sales. In this article, we look at three family-owned businesses and their secrets of success.

Sugar Bowl Bakery in Northern California
What started as a small coffee and doughnut shop in San Francisco in the 1980's is now a multi-million dollar retail and wholesale business. Sugar Bowl Bakery was founded by the Ly family, immigrants from Vietnam who came to the US with very few resources. Today, the bakery's processes are managed by the Ly brothers, along with help from the new generation of the family. The company says it averages a 25 percent annual growth rate and now distributes to hotels, wholesale clubs, and even international customers.

Secret: The Ly family was determined to be loyal to the business-and to each other-and focused on growing the company and diversifying assets. Plus, they say they've never sacrificed the quality of their product, even in tough economic times.

Blue Moon Candles in Southern California
In 2007, owner and "Executive Candle Mixologist" Lisa Kasper decided to launch a line of hand-made candles produced from natural materials. Blue Moon Candles is a family team comprised of Lisa, her husband, and their three children, who help market the products by distributing brochures and sharing samples. Over the years, the line of products has grown to include 600 fragrances and a paraben and phthalate free bath & body line. Additionally, Lisa is working with spas and boutiques to increase distribution and help grow her business.

Secret: By using her family's network to spread the word about her products, Kasper keeps sales coming in. An added feature of her product line is the option to customize scents and colors, which gives Blue Moon Candles a unique proposition in the marketplace.

Honest to Goodness Dairy in Alabama
A fairly new player in the game, Honest to Goodness dairy and milk processing plant in Rogersville, Alabama, hopes to bring area customers a different type of milk: non-homogenized, "all natural" milk.

Established by husband-and-wife team Eric and PJ Cornelius, the dairy business proudly states that its milk is all natural because the plant doesn't add anything to-or remove anything from-the milk. With only 25 cows and a special low-temperature pasteurization process, the business clearly targets a very specific market. Since opening the dairy, Honest to Goodness distributes through local grocery stores and also sells straight to customers.

Secret: By targeting a niche market and building the product around its needs, Honest to Goodness is growing while other, larger dairy farms may be struggling during tough times.

It takes a great idea, a lot of hard work, and a strong network to launch a family business. Think you have what it takes? Find out how LegalZoom can help you form a business and get started today.

For more on family business success stories, click here read our September story on Janet Long of Elaine's Toffee.


Ready to transform your family tradition into a family business? Click here now to form your LLC or File an Inc. today!