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201 GREAT IDEAS for Your SMALL BUSINESS, Third Edition by Jane Applegate

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GREAT 174 IDEA: Hire a Mystery Shopper

Carol Cherry makes her living from shopping, but you won't catch her wandering around a store.

“I hate shopping,” she told me when we spoke a few years ago. “I can't remember the last time I've been to a mall.”

Cherry is the owner and president of Atlanta-based Shop'n Chek Inc., one of the nation's largest mystery shopping companies. Business owners and managers hire her shoppers to determine whether employees are providing good customer service.

Founded in 1974, the company has about 50,000 freelance shoppers working in the United States and abroad. They visit restaurants, department stores, gas stations, bowling alleys, and anywhere else people shop, eat, or play.

“This industry can really help a small ...

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