Our daily blend of the latest news, trends and tips for the small business community.

What’s going on:

Small business optimism sinking: The National Federation of Independent Business index of small business optimism plummeted 5.6 points to 87.5 last month, the lowest mark in its 26-year history.

More signs of slow hiring: The National Federation of Independent Business’ latest report shows sluggish hiring in November, echoing an earlier monthly poll from ADP.

Keep an eye on:

Republicans backing tax hikes:A growing number of Republican lawmakers are urging House leaders to abandon their position on the top tax rates in order to gain leverage on entitlement reform

Helpful advice on:

How to protect your firm from credit card scams (OSB)

How to optimize your small retail site (Killer Startups)

How to search for your business successor (Entrepreneur)

How to improve your product placement (Fast Company)

How to know whether you hired the wrong person (Inc.)