Skimping on the services of a professional proofreader is a false economy. Recently a friend opened a takeaway business and came by to hand out menus, fresh from the printers.

There was an awkward silence. Finally, someone spoke. ‘Where’s Lona Street?’

Our friend looked blank. She followed the finger, to where it pointed at the menu.

‘It should say Iona Street.’

There was a typo in the address. The menu had been put through a spell check. Spell checkers don’t pick up on local place names or so it seems, know the difference between Peaking duck and Peking duck.

Still, it wasn’t a dealbreaker, she told herself, because they had signed up with Just Eat and would get referred customers. There would be time and money to re-reprint the menu later; the main thing was to generate income.

Besides, it would be an opportunity to fix the layout which didn’t follow the standard format – grouped by the style of curry rather than under ‘Beef’, ‘Lamb’, ‘Chicken’. Some of the descriptions could have been more evocative too, with words that sold the dishes better.

My friend still hasn’t got round to correcting the menu and re-printing it. She’s busy, and business is brisk with at least 25 orders a night. The average spend is £20 an order, making £500 a night.

But the thing is they are entirely dependent on referrals. None of their customers come direct, and Just Eat takes 16% of each order, equivalent to £80 each night.

For a one-off £80 fee, they could have hired a proofreader, and come away with menus to put through doors in the local area or distributed with the local free newspaper. Their relationship would be direct with the customers, rather than through a third-party who takes a percentage of each sale.

Whenever you hand over your marketing to a third party, like Just Eat, you lose control of the customer relationship.

You pay twice over – you reduce repeat business and increase costs.

The solution is to treat your business in a business-like way. Hire a professional proofreader who will take your business as seriously as you do – that’s me. If you need marketing material get it written by a professional copywriter – that’s me. The investment is worth it in the long term.