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3 Things You Should Know About Small Business: Feb. 21

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

1. Franchisors struggling with Obamacare. Retail and restaurant chains are trying to figure out how to grapple with President Barack Obama's Affordable Care Act and just how much they will have to pay in health-care coverage. Companies that employ 50 or more workers who work 30 or more hours will be required to provide them health coverage or pay a fine.

Franchisors like Dunkin' Brands (DNKN), Darden (DRI), Buffalo Wild Wings (BWLD) and others are struggling with how to deal with the increased costs.

For one, the lower full-time threshold from 40 hours per week to 30 hours is one of the biggest issues businesses are trying to negotiate as the rules are being finalized. But there are other unknowns as well, according to CNBC.

Many franchisors are likely to reconsider their full-time staffing levels.

2. The next big thing in crowdfunding: in-person events. For aspiring entrepreneurs, instead of heading to websites like Kickstarter and IndieGoGo to appeal to crowds, there are organizations giving entrepreneurs an opportunity to snag funding in person, according to YoungEntrepreneur.com.

While it seems like taking a step back in time -- to the good old days of old-fashioned networking -- crowdfunding sites like Rock The Post have experimented with in-person crowdfunding events. Another organization, One Spark, is taking the idea up a notch. The nonprofit organization will host a five-day crowdfunding festival in April in Jacksonville, Fla.

"The public in attendance can explore different creators' displays, chat with them about their ideas and vote for the idea they like best," the article says. "While other events like Startup Weekend provide a similar opportunity for projects to potentially get funded, it's much more technically focused with a high barrier to entry. One of the best things about in-person crowdfunding events like One Spark is that they give people with less technical know-how the ability to get an idea off the ground and snag some capital to evolve it further."

3. Speaking of using crowdfunding sites to start your business ... Apparently you're never too old to become an entrepreneur. Meet Pearl Malkin, 89, aka "Grandma Pearl."

She has launched a Kickstarter campaign to raise $3,500 in startup capital to help produce her line of decorated walking sticks, Happy Canes, according to CNNMoney.

So far she is more than halfway to her target, raising $2,639 from 102 backers. Malkin must reach her target by March 23 in order to receive the money. Her canes are made-to-order and sell for $60 on Etsy.

Starting a business will help Malkin bring in some much-needed cash. Grandma Pearl is enticing investors with some interesting incentives: pledging $22 will get you a signed copy of "A Jewish Mother's Guide to Professional Worry," a biography of Grandma Pearl written by one of her sons; pledge $90 to get the book and a free cane. One investor pledged $500 and will get a cane-decorating lesson and a four-course lunch of traditional Jewish delicacies, the article says.

-- Written by Laurie Kulikowski in New York.

To contact Laurie Kulikowski, send an email to: Laurie.Kulikowski@thestreet.com.

>To submit a news tip, email: tips@thestreet.com.

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Disclosure: TheStreet's editorial policy prohibits staff editors, reporters and analysts from holding positions in any individual stocks.

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