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

What’s going ‘on’:

Retail sales fall again: Shoppers spent 0.5 percent less at retail businesses last month than they did in May, marking the third consecutive month of decline, the Commerce Department reported on Monday. Consumers spent less on cars, furniture, appliances as well as building and garden supplies.

Investors shying away from contractors: Contractors are starting to get the cold shoulder from investors who, in the face of pending defense cuts and an unsettled budget dispute in Washington, are wary of pouring capital into firms that depend heavily on the governemnt for business, according to a report by Nick Taborek.

Keep an eye ‘on’:

Democrats driving home ‘fiscal cliff’ warnings: A number of Democrats say they are willing to let nearly $600 billion worth of tax hikes and spending cuts take effect at the start of the new year if Republicans don’t stand down in their fight against higher taxes for wealthy households.

Helpful advice ‘on’:

How to avoid common Twitter blunders (OSB)

How to master the work-life balance (Open Forum)

How to find first-year start-up success (Upstart)

How to exceed customer expectations (Entrepreneur)

How to steer clear of financing problems (Forbes)