Truthful self-evaluation can be difficult, but it’s an invaluable trait for a leader to have. How do you objectively examine your brand, messaging and public perception?

These answers are provided by Young Entrepreneur Council (YEC), an invite-only organization comprised of the world’s most promising young entrepreneurs. YEC has also launched BusinessCollective, a free virtual mentorship program that helps millions of entrepreneurs start and grow businesses.

1. Calculate a Customer Satisfaction Score 

“We keep track of our customer satisfaction score by sending our users a quick, simple survey asking them to rank their experience with our product. We ask them for their feedback after each support ticket and review the results with the company weekly to ensure we’re on track with our goals.”

Syed BalkhiWPBeginner

2. Monitor Mentions

“We are constantly tracking our mentions in the media as well as Twitter and Facebook to understand how the public is feeling about our brand. This is useful to figure out if you’re going in a direction that your customers love, hate or are indifferent about.”

Chris ChristoffMonsterInsights

3. Look at the Metrics

“Look at metrics in terms of followers, leads, changes in influencer ranking, etc. Numbers tell me if what I’m doing is working or not. They typically do not lie or hide the truth, so I have to take them seriously. If changes show a loss of followers or fewer leads, I know I’m not doing it right and need to change.”

Murray NewlandsChattyPeople

4. Surround Yourself with People Who Will Call You Out

“Authenticity becomes more difficult to maintain as you achieve more success and are increasingly surrounded by colleagues and friends who (perhaps subconsciously) view you as a resource to be exploited. Surround yourself with people who have known you long enough to call you out and ask them to do so. Check in monthly or quarterly with them to calibrate how truthful your self-evaluation is.”

Erik Severinghaus, SpringCM

5. Have Someone Help You

“Take all emotion and bias out of the equation and take a truly objective look at your brand, messaging and public perception. Another idea is to get a trusted associate or colleague to do this for you. Look at strengths and weaknesses. Give yourself a mental pat on the back for the good, then fix what’s needed as far as the weaknesses.”

Andrew SchrageMoney Crashers Personal Finance

6. Engage with Your Customers

“Your customers are the most honest audience you’ll ever have. You can be sure they’ll tell you if they don’t like something. However, you have to ask them. Otherwise, they’ll just voice any disapproval silently by staying away. Ask questions on your blog and social media pages. Create polls and surveys. Pay close attention to online reviews. This all provides objective feedback about your brand.”

Shawn Porat, Scorely

7. Watch the Money

“Companies either grow or shrink and money is the barometer for measuring your company’s success. If your brand, messaging and public perception are strong, then money should be flowing in. If there are problems with any of those traits, chances are solid that the money is dwindling too. If the brand, messaging and public perception are strong but you are losing cash, then you have internal issues.”

Thomas Minieri, Minieri & Company

8. Conduct Surveys

“Creating an opportunity to survey both employees and your consumers is an invaluable way to gauge your strengths and weaknesses. Third-party companies provide software to anonymously survey employees about their employment experience. Following up with customers personally after orders and asking leading questions over social media and surveys is a great gauge of your honest performance.”

Brandon Stapper, Nonstop Signs

9. Get Outside and Inside Perspectives 

“Being objective while self-evaluating is a hard task. It takes practice to be able to admit when you could have done something better. The best way to objectively self-evaluate is to get an outside and inside perspective. For the outside perspective, the best way is to read your company’s reviews from clients; for an inside perspective ask your employees their opinion on improvements.”

Solomon Thimothy, OneIMS

10. Leverage User Experience Testing

“Our company utilizes user experience or UX testing on a consistent basis to gauge how our company and brand messaging is performing. The platform serves as a type of targeted focus group to find out what is working and what needs to be made more clear. We ask 10 questions that the user answers while using our site.”

Brian Greenberg, Life Insurance Quotes

11. Hold Yourself to a Higher Standard

“Many of the most successful entrepreneurs are their own worst enemies by being their biggest critics. This trait almost forces the entrepreneur to outwork everyone, for the fear of failing is a great motivator. If you really are your biggest critic, honestly evaluating your decisions, the business strategy and the business results become pretty easy as nobody would be as harsh as you are. Accepting mediocrity just isn’t an option.”

Shawn Schulze,

12. Become the Customer

“I become my own customer by making note of everything I would want to see in a service provider in terms of value, service, communication, problem handling and more. Then, I look at each of these and determine if I would actually enjoy what I’m providing or not. I can be truthful because I have to use the same criteria that I would put on another company and I want to find things wrong so I know where I can make things better. We have to be self-critical in order to see where improvements must be made.”

Peter Daisyme, Hostt