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

What’s going ‘on’:

(George Frey/BLOOMBERG)

Obama proposes sweeping changes to federal government: President Obama elevated the head of the Small Business Administration to cabinet-level status on Friday as part of a broader proposal to restructure the federal government’s business and trade functions. Lawmakers and small business advocacy groups have largely applauded his decsion to add SBA Administrator Karen Mills to his group of top advisors, but many are hesitant to throw support behind his plan to combine six federal agencies into one.

Older Americans finding plenty of jobs: While the recession has thinned the ranks of other generations in the workforce, more people older than 55 are employed than ever before, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Evidently, a shift in retirement financing, combined with the recession, has dramatically increased the incentives for Americans to work deep into their golden years.

Holiday retail sales fall short of expectations: Sales at U.S. retailers rose less than projected last month, confirming expectations that consumer spending was headed for a slowdown to start 2012. Overall sales rose merely 0.1 percent, according to figures released by the Commerce Department on Thursday. That follows a 0.4 percent hike in November and falls shy of experts’ forecasts in a Bloomberg News survey, which called for a rise of 0.3 percent.

Computer sales tanked last year: The American market for personal computers shrank in 2011 for the first time in a decade, according to new reports by research firms Gartner and IDC. Overall, the year was the second-worst in the industry’s history, with consumers and businesses purchasing 71.3 million personal computers, down nearly 5 percent from the year prior.

Keep an eye ‘on’:

Warm winter plaguing ski businesses: Unusually toasty temperatures and a lack of snow at ski resorts across the country has led to poor conditions, few tourists and minimal business for small ski companies this winter. A new report suggests that resorts are reporting roughly 25 percent less snowfall this season compared to the same period last year, largely due to abnormal weather patterns and high temperatures.

Helpful advice ‘on’:

How to avoid common HR nightmares (On Small Business)

How to create magnetic online content (Mashable)

How to deal with emergence of a new competitor (SBA)

How to build the perfect workplace for your firm (Inc.)

How to identify red flags when hiring (Small Biz Trends)

How to quickly secure capital for your start-up (Entrepreneur)