We’d love to work with you when you get a little bit older

by jeffhilimire on June 21, 2011

That’s what they told us.

“We loved your ideas. We really like your energy and your team. But we’re choosing another agency. We’d like to work with you guys…when you get a little bit older.”  Just like that. And they were right, but at the time it felt like a kick in the pants. What can you do with that feedback? Get older? That takes too long!

I can write this today because in the end it all worked out. And because they’re a company I love. Everyone I know loves them. Pretty sure you do, too.

But I’m getting ahead of myself…

It was somewhere around 2002 and our agency, Spunlogic, was maybe 10 people. We were all around 23 years old and we used to make fun of DP for being the old guy. I think he was 25.

Up until that point we were doing mostly small website design projects. But we had our one big client. HoneyBaked Ham. God bless HoneyBaked Ham for taking a chance on us back then. If we ever had any doubt of continuing with the company when things got hard (even at its hardest that thought never crossed my mind), HoneyBaked gave us reassurance. If we could land them, we could land anyone. That’s what we thought. That kind of stamp of approval can mean the world to a struggling company. And they were the first clients that our friends and family recognized and that meant the world.

So with a full head of steam and vigor and our big HoneyBaked client in our portfolio, we pitched our brains out to win this new client. We gave it our all. Nervous? Sure. I remember walking into their big corporate campus and thinking, “Woah”. We didn’t sign HoneyBaked in their big office. We signed them on our ping pong table / conference table.

The pitch went really well. We played up the passion we had for the brand and how we wanted to unlock that passion on the web. It was probably our best pitch to date.  Then we went back to our office and waited for the call.

“We’d love to work with you when you’re a little bit older.”

It’s hard to know what to do with that. Being entrepreneurs, the thought of just waiting until we get older isn’t really an option. And if we had listened to people telling us to get more experience before starting our company, well, we wouldn’t have a company to begin with. And some people did try to talk us out of our dreams.

So we powered on. Won some more accounts. Grew. And seven years later we finally won their business.

Oh, who’s the client? It’s Chick-fil-A. Today we manage the Chick-fil-A Facebook page and their Twitter page. And we build their mobile applications including this sweet iPad app. And they’re one of our favorite clients and I like to think we’re one of their favorite partners.

And you know what? They were right. We were too young. But now we’re all grown up :)

BONUS MATERIAL: Check out this video of us back around that time. Man, were we babies.

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  • http://twitter.com/amygriz Amy

    I love this post, and the video at the end (can you believe that was only 6 years ago!?)!  You guys were young, but you were still awesome.  The Spun days were good ones.  I’ll never forget the multiple pitches to Chick-fil-A (and other bigger clients) over the years, and the excitement of getting small projects leading up to the big ones.  The fact that you’re managing as much as you are for CFA now shows the greatness that still exists in the company. :)

  • Donovan

    Ah yes, I remember this. We worked our butts off to make sure they saw that we shared similar values. We knew that was important to them. But despite being “too young” (I was mature 28 btw), the fact that we were finalists gave is the confidence that we could hang with the big agencies.

  • http://www.tonykinard.net @TonyKinard

    This is awesome.  The video brings back some great memories.  We’re all looking quite a bit skinnier back then too!

  • http://www.jeffhilimire.com Jeff Hilimire

    I know, we never let “being too young” hold us down did we?  And yep, confidence can mean wonders to a small company.

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