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

What’s going ‘on’:

U.S. exports to China boom: United States exports to China are currently up nearly 50 percent in value since 2008 as the latter shows a growing appetite for American products, including soybeans, cars, airplanes and medicine — and even garbage that can be mined for copper and aluminum. The surge is happening without much change in Chinese government policies.

Number of new government suppliers drops: The number of new suppliers to the United States government fell 14 percent last year even as the president sought to increase competition in contracting. Contract awards in the year that ended Sept. 30 went to about 29,800 companies that hadn’t done business with the government in seven years, compared with 34,800 in fiscal 2010, according to procurement data.

Keep an eye ‘on’:

New start-up caters to politically independent:A new Web start-up called Ruck.us connects people with similar social and political views through an online network where they can swap opinions and take action. Still a small operation, the Web site launched in September and counts roughly 12,000 users to date.

Small business optimism, manufacturing data coming: The National Federation of Independent Business will be releasing its index of small business optimism on Tuesday, which analysts expect to rise to 94.3 in February over 93.9 in the previous month. There will also be two key indicators for the manufacturing sector released on Thursday both the New York Fed’s Empire State Manufacturing Survey and the Philadelphia Fed’s business outlook for manufacturers.

Helpful advice ‘on’:

How business owners can use Pinterest (OSB)

How to build a new business on Facebook (Xcomony)

How a viral video can help sell a product (Open Forum)

How to find the key moment in a start-up story (Entrepreneur)