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

What’s going ‘on’:

Small banks rapidly consolidating: Shrinking profit margins, rising regulation costs and falling demand for loans are prompting more and more small and mid-sized banks to gobble up one another in an effort to survive in the marketplace, according to Danielle Douglas.

Consumer confidence unexpectedly dips: Consumer sentiment has fallen to its lowest level since November despite recent improvements in the country’s job and housing markets, according to the a report published Tuesday by The Conference Board.

Contractors bidding more, smarter for government work: Small businesses that have either provided government services for more than a decade or collected at least $1 million from Uncle Sam tend to invest more time and resources to secure their work, according to a new report.

Keep an eye ‘on’:

Southen California challenging Silicon Valley: Could Los Angeles be the nation’s next Silicon Valley? No question, according to a new report from Forbes, which suggests Southern California has reclaimed its second-place standing among start-up hubs, swiftly surpassing both Boston and New York City over the past five years.

Helpful advice ‘on’:

How to name your new start-up (Entrepreneur)

How to know when to file for bankruptcy (BI)

How to avoid self-employment pitfalls (Daily Finance)

How to respond when a loyal employee no longer has the skills your company needs (White Stone)