The Benefits of Launching a Family Business in Your Golden Years

Whether because of economic necessity or to satisfy a postponed desire, for some the best time to start a business is when they otherwise might retire.

learn more about Daphne Mallory

By Daphne Mallory

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

The golden years are synonymous with retirement. I collaborate with and advocate for many senior citizens in my community, and the stereotype is that most senior citizens are not interested in entrepreneurship. The idea that older adults can and should start ventures as a viable solution to some of the economic challenges they face seem foreign to my peers and "experts" who want to help.

When Tom Flournoy was laid off at age 61 at the height of the economic recession in 2009, he was unable to find a job. He turned to family business. He tinkered around with his mom's recipes and today Tom and Jill, his wife, own and operate Tom's Tiny Kitchen Pimento Cheese based in Memphis, Tennessee. Their son, Ross Flournoy, is heavily involved with the business, while their daughter, McKenzie, works for them on occasion.

Related: Think You're Too Old to Be An Entrepreneur? Think Again. (Infographic)

Here's some advice from Tom for all of us:

Develop strong character traits no matter what your age.

I wanted to know Tom's key to success. It may sound simple, but adhering to simple values has taken an unemployed older adult to a business with distribution in area stores, such as Kroger and Whole Foods. What are those traits?

Tom explained, "Persistence. Don't take no for an answer. Hard work. Be willing, able and excited to start earlier and stay later than your competition. Treat those around you with respect. Be kind to and respectful of all those you encounter, whether they are employees, suppliers, or customers."

These are not old-fashion values. Tom's success demonstrates that living out these values every day can lead to success in business.

Use the opportunity to spend more time with children

One of the biggest concerns I've heard from senior citizens over the years is that their adult children and grandchildren are moving far away from home. The choice between finding a place to raise your family where "good jobs" are available and living in your hometown near your parents is something many families struggle with. Family business has been a vehicle for Tom to spend more time with his children.

Tom shared, "Being able to go to work every day with my wife and kids is a privilege. I'm very grateful for all the time we get to spend together." At the same time, Tom does admit that spending all that time together can be a challenge.

Related: The Surprising Benefits of Hiring Your Kids

Build trust with your spouse.

Tom and Jill are at the office by 7:30 a.m. Tom is involved in the production and delivery of the product to the grocery stores, which takes up much of the day. Jill stays at the office handling accounts, dealing with vendors and social media. They know their roles and they stay in their lanes, though help each other as needed.

Tom recommends that couples work together, if possible. The key is to have an open and trusting relationship. He understands the stress of running any type of business, and especially a family business. His advice is that couples must keep the lines of communication open. It's crucial to be able to talk things through.

Get involved in the community.

Tom and Jill support several local events by supplying them with various cheese products. It's a way to get the word out about their tight-knit family operation while supporting causes. Tom finds that people do appreciate and respond positively to their family story.

The temptation that many senior adults face is to remain isolated. Based on Tom and Jill's experience, an added benefit of owning a family business is that seniors have an outlet to become more active and engaged in their communities.

Family business can foster closeness and intimacy among family. Tom explained, "The trust, bonds and affection of family make it a more intense, and ultimately, a more rewarding experience. If you have a warm, close, trusting relationship with your family, then I would certainly advise going into business with them if it were an option. There are no better partners to be found than family!"

Related: The Power of Giving Back: How Community Involvement Can Boost Your Bottom Line

Daphne Mallory

Daphne Mallory Foundation

Daphne Mallory, Esq. is best known for sharing smart ideas to solve problems. Whether on television, on stage, in the boardroom, or before governments, her speeches and seminars are interactive and rich in content.

Billboard Magazine described Mallory as "Engaging Fans, forging a new path." She appeared on ABC, FOX and NBC and in Entrepreneur Magazine, Essence, Brown Alumni Magazine, Self and more. She hosts a TV show: Family Business with Daphne on KSAW-ABC.

Mallory's training programs include Women & Family Business, Grow Community/ Grow Profits, Grow Community/Grow Memberships, Roadmap to Family Business, and Sales Training for Change Agents.

Related Topics

Editor's Pick

Everyone Wants to Get Close to Their Favorite Artist. Here's the Technology Making It a Reality — But Better.
The Highest-Paid, Highest-Profile People in Every Field Know This Communication Strategy
After Early Rejection From Publishers, This Author Self-Published Her Book and Sold More Than 500,000 Copies. Here's How She Did It.
Having Trouble Speaking Up in Meetings? Try This Strategy.
He Names Brands for Amazon, Meta and Forever 21, and Says This Is the Big Blank Space in the Naming Game
Business News

I Live on a Cruise Ship for Half of the Year. Look Inside My 336-Square-Foot Cabin with Wraparound Balcony.

I live on a cruise ship with my husband, who works on it, for six months out of the year. Life at "home" can be tight. Here's what it's really like living on a cruise ship.

Thought Leaders

The Collapse of Credit Suisse: A Cautionary Tale of Resistance to Hybrid Work

This cautionary tale serves as a reminder for business leaders to adapt to the changing world of work and prioritize their workforce's needs and preferences.

Business News

These Are the Most and Least Affordable Places to Retire in The U.S.

The Northeast and West Coast are the least affordable, while areas in the Mountain State region tend to be ideal for retirees on a budget.

Business Solutions

Learn to Build a ChatGPT Bot for Only $30

If you want to see what AI can do for your business, grab this course bundle today.

Thought Leaders

20 Signs You're Destined to Become a Millionaire

Start making money at a young age. Warren Buffett sold packets of gum to his neighbors at age six!