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#AH - MY FAVOURITE MISTAKE: “We Were in €250k Debt from One Client”
Everyone makes mistakes – but some can cost you much more than others.

For one anonymous agency leader, their agency was plunged into €250k worth of debt, which took 19 months to be paid back.

“We were approached by a large contract manufacturer to work with them on various projects. Everything was going fine at first, and we had a really good relationship with the team. And we’re used to, especially at first, clients paying us after, so it wasn’t a massive concern,” they explain.

However, despite the relaxed approach, the mood quickly changed. While the agency was on a six-figure retainer, the client also saw a succession of personnel changes which held up invoicing on the project.

Things turned sour. The client started to question whether the agency’s invoices were even valid, and due to so many staff changes, no-one wanted the responsibility for the €250k budget debt.

“It went on for 19 months before we actually got paid a penny by them,” they say. “But the larger problem was we had paid out €90k to vendors for planned ad campaigns.”

The agency leader had to go ‘cap in hand’ to these vendors and be honest: they hadn’t been paid and couldn’t bankroll the debt from their own pockets.

They also had to get tough with the client themselves.

“I had to get really, really forceful with the client and almost threatened to air my dirty laundry in public, to make it known to the industry that they were being really unfair,” they explain.

“It was a horrible experience. I had many sleepless nights where I wondered if it would mean the end of the agency.”

From mistakes come lessons learned, which in this instance were:

Being hotter on the legal stuff.
Not being so nice in business.
Standing your ground.

Scenarios like these are definitely not uncommon and this session will help other agencies going through the same thing.

Come along and hear more about this agency leader’s favourite mistake and what it has taught them about business - and themselves too.

Jan 26, 2022 11:00 AM in London

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