3 Things You Should Know About Small Business: May 17

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

1. Is running a business more stressful than having kids? That's what a report by Bank of America ( BAC) says. The new Small Business Owner report series, the first of which was published on Thursday, looks at concerns, aspirations and perspectives of small business owners across the country.

The BofA survey found that maintaining a small business causes owners twice as much stress as maintaining a healthy relationship with a spouse or partner, nearly three times as much stress as raising children and more than four times as much as managing their own personal finances. In addition, small business owners regularly forgo free time (57%), exercise (37%) and other important personal priorities in order to manage their business.

Small business owners have more confidence in their local economy than the national economy, the report found. When asked about the next 12 months, 42% expect their local economic conditions to improve compared to 35% who expect the national economy to improve, the report says.

That being said, the majority of respondents said their own decisions, rather than the overall health of the economy, are more likely to influence business outcomes.

2. TCBY launches its first food truck. Move over ice cream man, TCBY recently launched its first frozen yogurt truck in Charlotte as part of a strategic expansion, likely to take back some of the market share it's losing from newer, self-serve yogurt places. Followers can find the daily location of the truck by subscribing to its Facebook page.

One of TCBY's North Carolina franchisees, Samuel Batt, pioneered the idea, according to QSR Magazine. Batt also piloted TCBY's first self-serve store and currently owns 10 TCBY locations. TCBY is expected to open 23 self-serve locations in North Carolina and South Carolina within the next three years, according to QSR.

"The debut of the TCBY truck shows our continued commitment to meeting customer demands for greater accessibility of TCBY's healthy frozen yogurt products," Batt says. "Now more than ever, TCBY permeates the North and South Carolina market and remains the unparalleled leader in frozen yogurt. I am a firm believer in TCBY's product, brand and outlook for the future."

3. Businesses you can start for $500 or less. Do you have a talent or passion that could legitimately become a business on the side? Starting a secondary business could be a good way to get your feet wet as your own boss, without investing too much money, says SmallBizLady Melinda Emerson. The trick is to find a service or product you already provide for free to friends and family. Low start-up expense businesses to consider include a baker, a personal trainer, a notary, a personal organizer or image consultant, among others.

Do keep in mind though that you still need a marketing plan and business plan to keep your business on track. You can start with software available for free on the Web. Later on take a course at a local college to help you hone your business plan, Emerson writes.

-- Written by Laurie Kulikowski in New York.

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