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I’ve got a bad business idea for you!

To what extent should a web agency involve themselves in a prospective clients’ business idea?

This is something that I have been pondering for a little while now. Clearly, given a clear cut choice, an agency is most likely to want to be involved with a ‘better business idea’ for a couple of reasons: firstly of course because the project is likely to be better funded, and the relationship far longer and more lucrative. Secondly, though, because a good idea is much more likely to get the development and design teams fired up and enthusiastic – which is always going to lead to better and more exciting end results.

However, what should a web agency do when asked to quote on a technically very feasible yet fundamentally bad/flawed business idea?

So, should an agency…

1) Speak their mind?

A web agency is likely to be in the privileged position of having both significant web/marketing experience – and also no vested interest, which is a good place to be. As such, if an idea has obvious pitfalls, holes or simply a bad team behind it, one train of thought says that the web agency should speak their mind honestly

2) Politely decline?

Second approach: if presented with a bad business idea, the web agency should politely decline either without giving reason, or by making an excuse. Either way, when declining the web agency should make no reference to the quality of the business idea.

3) Shuddup and take the job?

For an agency work is work. It’s not the job of a web agency to question business ideas as they come in. They should attempt to engage the client financially, and then act upon their brief to the best of their ability, imparting advice and suggestions where possible.

To briefly give you my thoughts – I personally feel a sense of responsibility towards a project that comes in to Storm for quotation. I disagree strongly with point (3) above for one main reason. I believe that our team has to wholly believe in what they are building as both project and a potential business idea. If we’re picking holes in business logic from the start, then the chances are that that we wont be excited about the future potential.

It would be great to hear your thoughts on the three above, or indeed if you have a suggestion of how (and why) you would deal with being presented with a bad business idea.