egoI had the pleasure of hosting a conference call recently with marketing maven and the only African American woman to own a public utility company, Richelle Shaw.  During the call, Richelle touched on a point that I often have to visit with small business owners.  She said, “Remember, you are not your customer.”

Okay, sure, you know that.  Right?  Well, believe it or not, many small business owners design brand and marketing strategy around their own personal likes, rather that those common to their customers.  When you are starting a business, throw 90% of your personal likes or dislikes out of the window.   Learn to objectively gauge what your target audience will respond to.  Your favorite color, love of butterflies or dislike of technology should play little role in how you develop and marketing your company.

When in doubt, ask your target market!  The use of surveys, polls and direct questions are always your best bet.  Research to better understand your target market and then make your brand reflect them, not you.