Most small business owners relate to their market and already understand what appeals to that market better than anyone. Chances are, the small business owner is in her own target market. In that case, designers need to listen and find out what appeals to the business owner.
Artists and designers have strong opinions when it comes to design, but the designer’s opinion is not the critical thing. For a business, it’s the market’s opinion that matters. Consider, the ugly website may be ugly by design because that’s what works.
It’s hard to argue with an A-B test demonstrating the uglier of two designs performed better, sold more widgets or improved whatever metric. Visionary, structurally sound design has its place but doesn’t always perform the way we think it should.
If you ask me, taste in 2D design is a rare thing. I believe it’s because most schools don’t teach design fundamentals. Does your market even believe in good taste? Vote here.