There have been many times when I swear I had come up with the best idea/solution for something. It hit me randomly, like most ideas do: in the shower, right before falling asleep, or in the car. You start talking about it to your peers and, in no time at all, you're brought back from the moon and grounded, going back to the drawing board. The lesson? What you think is amazing may actually not be.
Recently, I experienced this with logo design. I had gone through various iterations of a logo with a few different designers. With each new set of variations, I'd pick my favorite of the bunch and would be immediately excited about the brand image it would represent. When I started asking around, however, I found that my opinion was in the minority. It's very difficult at first to accept that others may know better than you, but once you get over that, you find the power in asking other people their opinion.
Doing some market research, regardless of the size pool, will help you get insight that you otherwise wouldn't have had. When dealing with products or services, it allows your customers to tell you what they really want, rather than relying on what you think your customers want. Far too many times have I been in situations where customers were ignored (or simply not asked) because someone claimed to know what they wanted. That's crap. Unless such claims have been tested, don't trust anyone that claims to know, undoubtably, what others want.
So how do you start?
Easy....next time you have to pick between a few choices, don't do it yourself, let others decide for you. Testing out a series of tag lines, a new logo, or are not sure which features to implement next? Create a quick survey and send it out your colleagues, friends, or a number of customers. You'll quickly see what the popular opinion is.