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TheStreet Open House

3 Things You Should Know About Small Business: March 27

NEW YORK ( MainStreet) -- What's happening in small business today?

1. Here's how to decide if working from home is best for you. Launching a business isn't easy, but franchising tends to take the unpredictability out of the equation by supplying a proven method of success (if followed correctly). Now an increasing number of franchises can be launched and operated from the comforts of your home. Finding the "holy grail" of business ownership is discovering a "legitimate, low-cost, home-based business opportunity," according to MSN's Business on Main.

So what should franchisees know before investing in a home-based business? First, while the cost is certainly lower, start-up expenses are, on average, between $25,000 and $60,000, and even more if there is a lot of equipment involved. It's still hard to get financing for start-ups so be prepared to cover initial investments yourself.

Make sure that a home-based franchise suits your personality and strengths. Leave the administrative work for the home, but take care to meet with clients and do other business outside the home. "If you think you'll spend most of your time at home in your pajamas, think again," says franchise consultant Joel Libava.

2. New York steakhouses struggle with whether to raise prices. Raising prices on entrees is never a good thing in the restaurant world, but with the steep increase in food costs, particularly beef, several New York steakhouses have either raised prices or cut portion sizes, according to The Wall Street Journal .

Restaurants across Manhattan are struggling to adjust to commodities price increases "that aren't going anywhere but up at a time when the industry is still recovering from the effects of the economic downturn," WSJ says.

High beef prices are the result of lower supplies of cattle due to higher feed costs as well as higher fuel prices and an increasing amount of supply being exported, the article says. As a result, restaurants are raising prices, cutting portions or, in some cases, taking more expensive cuts of meat off the menu altogether. Other restaurants are getting more creative with their menus or looking to work directly with farms to manage the cost of beef.

3. Find out six tips for joining a family business. What should you do when you suddenly find yourself immersed in the family business but never thought you'd be there? Inc.com contributor Elizabeth Browning shares her lessons learned when she came on board to expand her family's 200-year-old stationery business, Crane & Co., into the digital age. Browning's biggest lesson, which was just as important as learning the product or service, was developing relationships. She also worked longer hours and drove herself harder to be "accepted and respected" in her new position.

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