One of the points we made in our last post was that in partnerships, and any aspect of business, you need to be good at spotting opportunities (of course), and when you see them you need to be able to act fast.


An excellent example of that from the last few months for Walden O’Neill came in early September last year when we had the opportunity to become the very first agency (globally I believe!) to take the plunge and sign up for the Acquia Cloud Enterprise Ramp solution.


Essentially this allows us to re-sell Acquia’s Cloud Enterprise hosting solution to our clients for a much reduced cost, allowing us to make it affordable for our SME level clients and crucially for our not-for-profit and charity clients.  It’s beneficial to all parties as we can offer high availability (guaranteed 99.95% uptime) hosting at an affordable price to our clients and Acquia are obviously able to connect with more SMEs than before through the partner network.  Find out more in the detailed case study.


But, it is still a risk, Walden O’Neill were barely 6 months old at the time and despite the favourable ramp nature of the payments we were still committing to a significant capital outlay.


So how did we balance that risk with the potential opportunity and what advice would we give to other startups facing similar decisions?  There’s no universal formula that you can apply, all businesses are different but if you consider a few key questions you should be able to make the right decision…


How much can you realistically expect to gain?

  • Can you put an actual revenue figure on the new opportunities you would have access to?
  • Is the benefit more reputational?
  • How soon would you realise the benefits?
  • Will this significantly enhance your value proposition?


How much more strain will this place on your business?

If you are still a very small organisation, or even for multinationals, if you take this step does it place significant additional effort on top of your existing activity?  Can your business manage that and give things the time they need to be able to realise the benefits?


If the worst happened how would your business cope?

  • How long do you have before the situation becomes critical?
  • Do you have a plan B?


What do your business partners, associates, friends or family think?

A new perspective is always useful.  I often find myself getting a little too carried away with some ideas and I always make sure I have asked someone else before I make a final decision.  It often brings me back to Earth, makes me see the risks and not just how awesome my idea could be if it worked.


What does your gut tell you?

I’m a big believer in listening to your gut feeling, whether that is in business or where to go for dinner.  If, after considering all the angles, the decision is still a tight one your gut should be a guide.  If it is a close decision the risks are often too high I believe, if you’re taking a risk there needs to be very clear and tangible benefits.


So far our risk has paid off.  If you’re interested we even have a case study to prove it!

Talk to Walden O’Neill here.