Two and a half years ago All Inclusive Marketing helped a client called ZipIt Zipper Bags with an integrated online marketing plan and digital integrations. They hired us to optimize their website, increase conversions, perform affiliate marketing and search marketing duties, and naturally, we put several of our best people on the job.
A few months into the contract and after having several delays in payment from the client with promises of "the money is coming next week" we got ourselves into a big hole. We paid our team on time and in full, not expecting that one day several months in, ZipIt Zipper Bags would just disappear and back out completely...
When you're a start up this is a really hard and expensive lesson to learn. We took great care of our team and their account, but didn't receive a cent in return and went $27,000 into a hole in the process of doing what we thought was right.
As it turns out, there were two different partners and a strange legal arrangement between the owners of ZipIt. One owner had rights over the online store under one legal name, and the other over the offline distribution and sales. The owner of the offline sales and distribution, Itamar Cohen, had no idea that our team was $27K in a hole because of the other owner's dishonesty and poor money management.
Through a legal battle of their own, they parted ways and Itamar Cohen got ownership of the whole company, including the online store, and promised to honor what was due and pay it back in full, no matter how long it took, even though we didn't have the contract with him. He gave us his word.
To many people in business, a person's word doesn't go very far, but week after week Itamar called to update us on his progress, on his finances, shared his online sales stats so we could see how they were progressing (naturally we weren't touching this account anymore at this point). Some weeks he couldn't pay anything. Some weeks he'd send $500 or $700.
It's been two and a half years since we lost $27,000 on a client we wanted to help. Two and a half years later, and just as he promised, Itamar Cohen has paid back every penny owned, even though it was not him we had the direct contract with. He proved that honor does still exist in business and a man's word can still be worth something at the highest level of corporate promises, contracts aside.
I have the utmost respect for this man, who did what was right, even though legally, he didn't have to. It's great to know ZipIt is now entirely under the care of a man who understands true business sense and takes great care of those around him. It's leaders like this who make the greatest companies.
Itamar Cohen, CEO of ZipIt, receives my medal of honor in business this year hands down.