When an opportunity presents itself or a tricky decision has to be made, you need to balance the risks against the possible rewards. When assessing risk, there are five key questions you need to ask yourself.

1. UPSIDE/DOWNSIDE: compare these by preparing two simple lists and then share with someone entirely independent of the decision.

2. CONTEXT CHECK: does this decision fit with your business strategy – with longer term benefits – or is it opportunistic – just a one-off gain?

3. PAIN THRESHOLD: if it goes badly wrong, can you endure the cost, in terms of reputation, morale and cash?

4. NICE TO HAVE OR MUST HAVE: on a scale of 1-10 how does this opportunity score?

5. GUT INSTINCT: after reviewing all the facts, consulting the relevant people, how does it feel (confidence) in your heart and head? Is the opportunity being driven by ego or a solid commercial imperative?