Eat Your Own Cooking

By 'eat your own cooking' I don't mean literally eat anything but figuratively speaking 'eat your own cooking'

The expression obviously comes from a cook checking that the food tastes right before it is served, but I am suggesting that this principle should be applied to virtually all small businesses, so that the small business owner can fully understand the product or service from the customer's view point.

Let me give you a few examples-

1) If you run a bed-and-breakfast, make a point of actually sleeping in every bed randomly, throughout the year. This will give you a good idea of exactly what it is like for your customers and alert you to any problems which they may face. If the heating starts clicking in the early hours or the curtains let in too much light, you should be the first to know, not your customers.

2) Ring your own phone number to check that your answer-phone messages are clear and understandable.

3) If you recommend shares to buy and sell, actually trade the shares at exactly the time at which your customers trade it. If you give your recommendations out by email, trade the shares yourself 8 hours later (both in and out of the trade) so that you can experience exactly what your customers experience.

4) If you send things out by post, send yourself a few parcels to check that the packaging is suitable. If the parcels arrive back damaged, or it drives you mad unpacking your own product and picking up hundreds of small pieces of polystyrene packing chips, the chances are your customers won't be too pleased either.

5) Cafe owners could sit at their own tables and eat their own food. It may be a good idea to send in a friend or member of the family to get a free meal in return for an honest opinion of their whole experience.

6) Search for your own company regularly on the most popular search engines. If your site doesn't appear in the top results for you, it won't appear for your customers either.

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