What’s going on:

Cliff now hours away: The fiscal cliff countdown is now measured in hours rather than days, and Vice President Joe Biden is making one final push for a deal with Republican lawmakers. Small business owners are growing increasingly pessimistic, and one expert expalins how falling off the cliff could pit large firms against small vendors on Main Street.

Debit card reform pinching small banks: A legislative provision meant to protect debit card processing revenues for small banks doesn’t appear to be working as well as lawmakers had expected.

Entrepreneurs looking overseas earlier: More early-stage firms are starting to market and sell abroad right from the outset, abandoning conventional wisdom to build a customer base at home first.

Keep an eye on:

Sales soaring for small farmers, manufacturers: Grain farmers and metal workers are looking up, while drycleaners and golf courses expect another tough year. Here are the fastest and slowest growing industries.

Helpful advice on:

How to avoid a year-end financing hangover (OSB)

How to respond if you cannot make payroll (AG Beat)

How to improve your social media marketing (Open Forum)

How to check the health of your business (Bloomberg)

How to make business reolutions stick (Newsday)