As a small business owner, the easiest, yet often overlooked question you can ask yourself is: would I buy my own stuff. In other words, does my dog food still taste good? Asking this question should NOT put into question "why you are in business" but rather, "is your business headed in the right direction."
It's a question, if asked, will shed light on the value of your products and services...especially in a down-cycle. The key to having a successful brand of dog food is to stay steady in both good and bad times; and the only way to achieve this balance is to eat your own dog food often, oh and by the way...pretend you are paying for it. Evaluate this regularly and adjust accordingly.
Do you even eat your own dog food
Say you've developed an online accounting web application, but use Quickbooks to manage your business. Why? Because you always have, not enough time to convert, too complex, or "the classic", our product was not designed for businesses like ours? Really? If YOU don't use your own product, it's NOT GOOD ENOUGH for me...end of story.
Try becoming a "real" customer
Say you charge $49 per month for your service. Try becoming a customer. No really...become a paying customer. Go through the sign-up process and have your account debited every month for $49. How does it feel when you get your credit card statement? Does it hurt? Do you cringe, or is it a no-brainer? You'll know if you're charging too much or too little, but one thing is certain.
Eating your own dog food brings perspective and might just jumpstart your business out of a down-cycle. It will reveal your strengths and weaknesses in a heartbeat, and might just be the best elixir you've tasted in years.