Here is one very good and free advice. Buying expertise and experience is the best investment. Money spent on a professional advice from a business expert will pay back many times over.
Someone said that being a small business owner is the loneliest job in the world. Why? Because regardless how many people are around, the owner is the only one worrying deeply about business success and trying to find answers to everyday business problems. Business owner is in charge of all critical decisions controlling future of the business. Even in case of partnership, it's quite frequently only one of the partners is making final decision. The problem is evident. Regardless how bright and thorough you are, it's often impossible to get the right prospective and make the right decision looking only from one angle. The consequences can be devastating. Wrong decisions may lead to all kind of troubles, even loss of the business.
Alternative opinion of another competent business person is critical to small business success. In public and larger private companies such advisory role is assigned to the board of directors. Members of the board are usually well-seasoned business people who can offer a valuable advise, suggest and evaluate strategic business moves. Most small businesses don't have such advantage. However, in order to be successful, they do need somebody to look over the owner's shoulder, with whom the owner can discuss current business situation and new ideas.
Small business owners are very independent people. Entrepreneurs, by definition, are built to take risk and make decisions. This is all good, however, in many cases it is based on gut feeling and, without tossing ideas with another experienced person, there's a good chance of making a wrong decision. Rather than learning from own mistakes, wouldn’t it be better to get a useful advice from an expert?
What comes mystery to me is why business owners usually greet any assistance with stubborn resistance. Even if it comes for free! Let alone if they have to pay for it. Sometimes arithmetic is playing dirty tricks on business owners. Every business owner understands very well that buying merchandise for $2,000 and selling it for $10,000 is a pretty good business. However proposition of paying $2,000 for the advice that will allow to generate or save $20,000 most likely will be declined.