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

What’s going ‘on’:

Women falling behind in contracting arena : Federal contracts to women-owned firms dropped 5.5 percent to $16.4 billion this past year, according to data compiled by Bloomberg, while awards to small firms owned by men fell 4.1 percent to $80.9 billion.

Republicans firm on spending cuts: House Budget Committee Chairmain Paul Ryan said Republicans will not back down from their demands for spending cuts and will consider forcing a government shut down on March 27 unless Democrats agree to more cuts.

NYC small firms fear soda ban: The NAACP and the Hispanic Federation are warning the New York City’s ban on large soft drinks will “selectively and unfairly harm” small, minority-owned businesses by exempting large vendors regulated by the state rather than the city.

Keep an eye ‘on’:

Global economic growth slowing: The International Monetary Fund forecast a world economic growth rate of 3.5 percent for 2013, less than what it projected in October. U.S. economic growth is expected to come in around 2 percent during the same period.

Helpful advice ‘on’:

How to prepare to sell your business (Fox business)

How to improve your product packaging (Entrepreneur)

How to know if you client is lying (Mashable)

How to build a more creative marketing team(Forbes)