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In the world of software development, there’s a term called “eating one’s own dog food” that should mean something to anyone that has ever had a product to sell. Basically, the meaning behind it is that one should always use their own product. There are not only many benefits to do so, but it also gives you multiple perspectives on where the product cycle should go and what kind of changes should be made.
In my own case, this definitely can be applied to Merchant’s Mirror. We not only use it for our own books, but I have paid accounts for other businesses where I do my accounting. This gives me something special that many of the other people that are actually selling their products do not have. It gives me the perspective of the customer. So I also understand the joys and frustrations coming from those of my clientele which allows me to connect on a totally different level.
The biggest achievement here is not the fact that you could perhaps fix bugs before the public finds them. If that’s your goal, then that’s not a very good one (although fixing bugs is actually a good thing). Your priority should be to figure out what your customer wants and in being both your consumer base and production team, you gain knowledge of why your customer operates in the certain way that they would and why they would want a feature that you could have deemed useless otherwise.
Finding this out is not only beneficial to all, but it builds a relationship that you can’t counter. Don’t forget the one major thing in the world of business. If you have the greatest product in the world, and no one to use it, then it might as well be a lousy product. That developer and customer relationship is crucial for any business to be successful.