Consider the challenges that a business faces: Serving a market and identifying new ones. Product or service development and innovation. Recruiting and retention of good people. Physical and information infrastructure. Government regulations. Taxes. International sales. And many more.
Note that both large and small business face these challenges. In fact, small businesses face almost all of the challenges that large businesses face.
The difference is that small businesses lack the internal expertise of larger ones, as well as the money to hire outside consultants. So small businesses get by with the expertise they have and go it alone. Or, they seek out informal or formal advice from peers, business acquaintances, an advisory board, or anyone with knowledge and experience to bring to bear on their challenges and a willingness to lend an ear.
As CEO of Vivisimo Inc. from its founding (three people) in 2000 through 2009 (about 80 people), our company and I faced these challenges, made acute by the fact that Vivisimo had never taken on outside investors, so the financial stakeholders were largely all internal. Outside advice, both informal and formal, was critical to our success.
Small businesses, as well as small organizations like non-profits, are in special need of improving their advice-seeking skills, which enables making better internal decisions at no extra cost beyond time and dedication.