Four out of every five small business owners feel isolated, and nearly a third said they lack knowledge and need extra support in business planning, a survey and report by not-for-profit group, Business Mentors, shows.
The general manager for Business Mentors, Lisa Ford, said many small businesses are one or two person operations, with owners basically working for wages with little or no time to plan.
"Owners need to do their bit and invest in their business, that means investing in the best support available."
She said getting customers to pay their bills so businesses could pay staff and suppliers was a major challenge.
The survey showed nearly two-thirds of respondents hadn't thought about retirement and a large number thought they will never get to retire.
Ms Ford said the business mentors, who provide the advice to small and medium sized businesses (SMEs), believe as many as two-thirds of businesses need help, support and advice, and more than 90 percent need help to make the most of social media.
She said among businesses' major concerns was finding staff with the "right work ethic", as well on-the-job experience, and the right qualifications.
Small businesses make up more than 90 percent of all companies in New Zealand, with about 850 being set up every month.