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A Mile in Their Shoes

The Inn at Little Washington, Virginia, which calls itself a "culinary shrine," has a unique method of getting ready to impress the opinion shapers who make or break an establishment of its class.

Employees each choose a restaurant reviewer, then after a month's study, write a review as he or she would. "They see what we do through someone else's eyes, and in the process can't help but find flaws with our service," says owner Patrick O'Connell in the October issue of Forbes Small Business.

To do likewise:

* Play the role of a customer searching for a vendor like you. Which options that come up on your first Google page attract your notice and prompt you to explore? What does that teach you?

* Place your book proposal sixth in a stack of seven and imagine you're a literary agent late at night or on a commuter train. In that setting, does your proposal shine or sink?

To profitably test your press release, business plan summary, trade show banner and so on, put yourself in the role of a reporter, investor or attendee.

Copyright 2008 Marcia Yudkin.  Permission needed for any reuse.

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