A little bit of backstory, I started an e-commerce business 18 years ago for a very niche product. Competition was pretty scarce online and I relied on Google (free/paid) and email marketing to grow sales. A few months into the business I was really starting to sell quite a bit and my dad offered to help me ship products out of his commercial building where he had daily UPS pickup already setup. He had a small business for 30 years that he had to close up, but he had a 12K SF buiding that he owned free/clear. Website sales grew from 2003-2012 to the point where we were doing about $800K in revenue at the peak. We were buying our product domestically, but eventually had to go overseas to get the quantities we needed.
Around 2013, Google did some updates and I lost a significant amount of Google traffic. Around that time, Amazon FBA was becoming a viable option so we started to use that and sales on Amazon picked up. From about 2013-2018, margins and revenues were crazy. We almost always had issues keeping products in stock and that, along with the website sales, did very well. We then began a little bit of a roller coaster with 2019 being our first down year (due to heavy competition), 2020 being very strong (Pandemic), and seeing a decent drop in 2021 (more competion on Amazon).
My dad is close to 74, he wants to keep working but I think we had too many great years and his expectations are a little outsized. Both him and I were taking home some signicant cash out the business over the years, but we're both not reliant on the money any longer. I have always worked a full-time job and he obviously can retire and rent out the building (way oversized) where we operate. Here are the options for us:
1) Sell the business and see what we can get. Most value would be selling to a competitor.
2) Lease out the building, operate out of a smaller building. We pay around $20K in rent to ourselves, $22K in property taxes, and overhead. We could rent an appropriate sized building for $20K per year. STill, might have to sign a longer-term lease which would make this a no-go.
3) Close down the Amazon piece of the business, operate out of my home, and only deal with website and non-Amazon platforms with lower volumes. Major problem with this one is the quality of my product is why customers buy from me. This product comes from my supplier in China. Without a facility, I don't know if that means I would be able to import any longer.
4) Keep it going another year or 2 and see how it goes. Focus on increasing more profitable website sales, reduce the reliance on Amazon, etc. There are ways to increase profitability.
5) Figure out other revenue sources. Possibly warehousing products for other Amazon sellers. We could do it cheaply at a very small scale.